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.
1400 Rutledge Falls Rd
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
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
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.