Skip to Main Content

2019-20 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide Now Available

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area-Leatherwood Ford

Site Directions: Located off TN 297, between Jamestown and Oneida. Turn north into the parking lot at the bottom of the gorge, near the east end of the bridge across the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. 

Lat-Long: 36.4761, -84.67167

Hours: daylight hours, however some areas are open 24 hrs a day

Seasonality: year round

Fees: no fee for birding and hiking, however fees may apply for other activities

Site Description: This gorge formed a social chasm between Fentress and Scott Counties through the 1800's. The footbridge here was part of the old highway. Several trails originate here, including the popular Angel Falls Trail, which leads to Angel Falls. This trail, which parallels the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River on the parking lot side, is an easy level walk on an old roadbed offering continuous views of the river, high cliffs, and in spring, wildflowers.

Wildlife to Watch: The site is a large, mature forest that contains a high density of Neotropical species and individuals. Some common breeding birds are Red-eyed VireoOvenbirdHooded WarblerIndigo BuntingBlack-throated Green WarblerScarlet TanagerWorm-eating Warbler, and Pine Warbler.

Sharp-shinned HawkSwainson's Warbler, and Blue-headed Vireo are exceptional nesting birds in the area.

Swainson's Warblers can be found along steep gorges with thick vegetation, but they are uncommon and not always detected.

Mink may be seen in some areas. White-tailed deer and Wild Turkey are commonly seen around the park. Some overlooks can be good for migrating raptors in September and October.

Northern Saw-whet Owls can be found in winter with some regularity, but much effort is needed to locate these birds.

NOTE:  Be sure to check out our Safety Tips page for important information regarding viewing wildlife in these areas. 

TWRA WMA Rules and Regulations

Tennessee Hunting Guide

Tennessee Fishing Guide

Tennessee Ornithological Society

Leatherwood Ford hiking trail information


Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area-Leatherwood Ford
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area-Leatherwood Ford
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area-Leatherwood Ford
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area-Leatherwood Ford