Legacy Parks Treasure — Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge is the East Tennessee region’s largest wildlife sanctuary with 360 acres of forests and fields, eight miles of natural trails and greenway, access to the French Broad River and spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains and rolling farmlands. Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge is a Knox County wildlife sanctuary that is currently managed by the Legacy Parks Foundation and Knox County Parks and Recreation. We invite you to become a Friend of Legacy Parks where your donations help maintain and expand these incredible gifts of natural resources in our region!
Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge will become Tennessee’s 56th State Park and most notably the first state birding park. Knox County will transfer the property over to the state in 2014 and the Tennessee State Parks will start managing the Seven Islands State Birding Park in July.
This rich peninsula, bordered by the French Broad River, is home to the Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge, featuring 6.5 miles of mowed trails that weave through this diverse ecosystem. Along the route, the trails criss-cross the 1.5 mile paved greenway that bisects the park as it winds from the parking area to the water's edge. The landscape at the Refuge ranges from upland hardwoods to river-bottom fields sown in native warm-season grasses. A mowed path clears the underbrush to welcome hikers, trail runners, photographers and bird-watchers. In addition to inspiring vistas and colorful wildflower displays, there's always the chance encounter of a startled grouse take-off, or the flight of deer as they retreat to the woods. But most certainly, several of the 183 species of birds that reside here will twill you a song as you trek on by.
Upland Trail: This 2-mile trail runs through an early successional habitat, which is a mixed meadow of forbs, grasses, and some woody plants.
Homestead Trail: A short 0.2-mile trail that cuts through the woodlands of mid-to-mature deciduous hardwoods. The trees in this forest have been relatively undisturbed for decades because this area was not farmable.
Peninsula Trail: A beautiful 3-mile stretch that runs along the riparian zone, an area of transition between a river or stream and its adjacent upland terrestrial environment. Many native tree seedlings have been planted here to improve shoreline stability and ecological benefits such as nesting cavities for birds.
Grassland Trail: The 1.3-mile trail crosses through the native warm season grass (NWSG) fields. Five species of NWSG were planted to increase the biological diversity of the fields, as they provide excellent forage and shelter for a wide range of animals.