Short Mountain-Jim Cummings Class I Scenic-Recreational State Natural Area

Short Mountain-Jim Cummings Designated State Natural Area is a 500-acre privately owned natural area at the top of Short Mountain in Cannon County. Short Mountain is located on the western margin of the Eastern Highland Rim but is a remnant or outlier of the Cumberland Plateau. It provides a commanding view to the west of the highly dissected edge of the Highland Rim and features of the Central Basin. Its highest point is 2,074 feet above sea level and is underlain on top with Pennsylvania sandstone, the same substrate that caps the Cumberland Plateau. It is a prominent geological feature, regional landmark, and stands about 800 feet above the plain. It is said that on an exceptionally clear day, you can see Nashville some 55 miles to the northwest.

The occurrence of the thick strata of Pennsylvanian rock is evidence that this age rock once extended across the Highland Rim and Central Basin. At lower elevations beneath the capped rock on Short Mountain are limestone formations that create limestone pits, caverns, and sinkholes. Ephemeral upland wetlands provide prime amphibian breeding habitat in the spring. The north and south slopes are richly diverse forests with buckeye, sugar maple, tulip poplar, walnut, beech, and black gum trees. These forests also support many species of hickories and oaks with redbud, southern blackhaw, and flowering dogwood trees in the understory. In less rich soils, chestnut oak is dominant with blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) in the shrub layer.

All of Short Mountain is privately owned except where a fire tower occurs on the mountaintop. There has been past timber cutting and small scale farming operations on the mountain. Presently there are illegal trespass issues related to dumping, horseback riding, and off-road-vehicle uses that pose a serious problem. The Short Mountain-Jim Cummings Designated State Natural Area occupies only a small section of the mountain.

Site Management

Short Mountain Bible Camp, 650 Bible Camp Road, Woodbury, TN. Division of Natural Areas, William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 2nd Floor, Nashville, TN 37243, phone (615) 532-0431.

Public Access

It is private ownership and there is no public access.   

Details & Map

  • Map to Short Mountain
  • Privately Owned
  • Short Mountain & Gassaway 7.5-minute quadrangles
  • Eastern Highland Rim Physiographic Province
  • Designated in 1977