Tennessee's Backroads
A Southern Middle Tennessee Journey

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May Prairie State Natural Area
Manchester, TN 37388

May Prairie is a Class II natural scientific state natural area on 346 acres in Coffee County. It adjoins the Hickory Flat Wood Wildlife Management Area (WMA) which combined provides more than 1,000 acres of public land. The most impressive feature at May Prairie is the open grassland community that protrudes into the surrounding oak forest where the oak barrens begin.

May Prairie is one of the State’s most floristically diverse natural areas with 25 of its more than 300 plant species that occur here considered rare in Tennessee. May Prairie was discovered during a botany foray in 1947 by Dr. A. J. Sharp and colleagues from the University of Tennessee while stopping for lunch at the Prairie Café. They were told that a prairie could be found behind the restaurant.

There are hundreds of acres of restorable oak barrens associated with the natural area and the WMA. May Prairie is also recognized by the Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark.

Rutledge falls photo

Rutledge Falls
1400 Rutledge Falls Rd
Tullahoma, 37388

Located halfway between Tullahoma and Manchester. Follow signs for Rutledge Falls Baptist Church. Ice-cold spring-fed
waterfall. Rutledge Falls serves as a gorgeous site for weddings but advanced permission must be requested as the Falls are on private property.

Short Springs State Natural Area
Hwy 55, Country Club Rd
Tullahoma, 37388
931-455-4186, 615-532-0431

Located three miles west on Country Club Dr off Hwy 55. A 420-acre preserve that features waterfalls and walking trails. The natural area provides an excellent contrast between Highland Rim and Central Basin geology and vegetation. When descending along the Machine Falls trail, a visitor can observe exposed black Chattanooga shale at mid-slope, which is a formation that delineates the Central Basin from the Highland Rim. Thickets of mountain laurel grow on the upper slopes under a dry oak hickory forest canopy that is characteristic of Highland Rim vegetation. Short Springs is one of the very best Spring wildflower locations in the state showcasing Virginia bluebells, jack-in-the-pulpit, larkspur, and Dutchman’s breeches. Call for information on the annual Wildflower Walk.



The Bear Trace Golf Course at Tims Ford
Tims Ford State Park
891 Wiseman Bend Rd
Winchester, 37398
931-968-0995, 888-558-2327

This premier “Bear Trace” golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus features 18 holes and is one of the premium golf courses in Southern Middle Tennessee. Amenities include a driving range, practice green, on-site lodging, snack bar, and club rental. Lessons are available.
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Tims Ford State Park
570 Tims Ford Dr
Winchester, 37398

This 3,546-acre park sits in the shadows of the Cumberland Plateau in south central Tennessee. Although the park is oriented toward fishing and water recreation, the park offers 22 miles of bike and hiking trails – with seven of them paved – as well as cabins, camping, and a boat dock. The park also offers a Jack Nicklaus signature “Bear Trace” golf course.

old stone fort fall
Walls of Jericho Wilderness Area
Belvidere, 37306
615-781-6622, 615-532-0431

The Walls of Jericho is a 750-acre natural area that is within the 8,943-acre Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Tennessee, which is contiguous to the Skyline WMA in Alabama. It was designated in 2016 and is owned by State of Tennessee. The area features picturesque cascades. There are hiking trails and horse trails. Both lead into the gorge. A tent only camping area is available at the bottom. This area is managed by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
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