Legacy Parks Treasure — Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge is the East Tennessee region’s largest wildlife sanctuary with more than 410 acres of forests and fields, six plus miles of natural trails, access to the French Broad River and spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains and rolling farmlands. It is managed through collaboration among Knox County Parks and Recreation, Seven Islands Wildlife Foundation and Legacy Parks Foundation. 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!
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 1.2 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 6-foot 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 150 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.