Natural Areas - West Region

Auntney Hollow

Auntney Hollow is a 26-acre natural area in Lewis County. This natural area supports one of only seven populations of the federally and state endangered Tennessee yellow-eyed grass found in Tennessee.

Big Cypress Tree

The 270-acre natural area is part of the 330-acre Big Cypress Tree State Park located in Weakley County. The natural area protects approximately 216 acres of bottomland hardwood forest, smaller areas of riparian forest and shrub, and herbaceous plant-dominated wetlands.

Carroll Cabin Barrens

Carroll Cabin Barrens is a 250-acre natural area located near the Tennessee River in Decatur County. Carroll Cabin Barrens is a series of dramatic Silurian-aged limestone glades and barrens. The glades and barrens are well developed and occur in longitudinal bands on the hillsides above the Tennessee River.

Devil’s Backbone

Devil's Backbone is a 950-acre natural area in Lewis County. It offers visitors the opportunity for a quiet hike adjacent the Natchez Trace Parkway. The trail follows the ridges of Tennessee's Highland Rim and drops down along a creek into a hollow and back again along the ridge.

Dry Branch

Dry Branch is 2,169-acre natural area in Lewis County on the Western Highland Rim. Dry Branch supports the largest population of Tennessee yellow-eyed grass (Xyris tennesseensis) known in Tennessee, which is both a federally endangered species and one of the rarest plants in the state.

Ghost River

The Ghost River is a 2,220-acre section of the Wolf River in Fayette County located within the Coastal Plain Physiographic Province of Tennessee. The Ghost River section of the Wolf meanders through bottomland hardwood forests, cypress-tupelo swamps, and open marshes.

John Noel at Bon Aqua

John Noel Natural Area at Bon Aqua is a 35-acre area located in Hickman County. It supports a small remnant forest that has old growth forest characteristics. The forest has a diversity of species including towering white oak trees with extraordinarily large diameter trunks.

Langford Branch

Langford Branch is a 23-acre natural area in Lewis County. It is significant because of the occurrence of a population of the federally endangered Tennessee yellowed-grass (Xyris tennesseensis), which is found in a small seep on the property.

Lucius E. Burch Jr. Forest

Lucius E. Burch is a 728-acre natural area located in Memphis, Shelby County. It is a remnant of historic river meanders, bald cypress-water tupelo swamps, bottomland hardwood forests, and open river channel habitat.

Old Forest

The 125-acre Old Forest State Natural Area (locally known as “The Old Forest”) is part of the 342-acre Overton Park in Memphis, Shelby County. The natural area protects an important remnant of an old growth ecosystem that has largely vanished from west Tennessee.

Meeman-Shelby Forest

Meeman-Shelby is an 11,000-acre natural area in Shelby County and is located within Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park. The natural area is one of the largest contiguous tracts of mature bottomland hardwood forest and upland forest associated with the Chickasaw Bluff left in Tennessee.

Reelfoot Lake

Reelfoot Lake is an 18,000-acre natural area located in Lake and Obion Counties in northwest Tennessee. The lake was created by a series of violent New Madrid fault zone earthquakes in the winter of 1811-1812.


Riverwoods is a 21-acre natural area located along the Wolf River in Germantown just outside of Memphis in Shelby County. Riverwoods is situated in a densely urban setting but provides refuge for plants and wildlife.

Sunk Lake

Sunk Lake is a 1,870-acre natural area located in Lauderdale County about 18.5 miles northwest of Covington. Sunk Lake supports excellent examples of bald cypress swamp, bottomland hardwood forest, and emergent marsh aquatic habitat.

Walker Branch

Walker Branch is a 225-acre natural area in Hardin County. The preserve “straddles” the immediate floodplain of the Tennessee River with its steep hills rising abruptly 225 feet and forming the adjacent uplands.

William B. Clark

William B. Clark Conservation Area is a 460-acre natural area in Fayette County. The natural area protects an un-channelized section of the Wolf River including meanders, sloughs, cypress-water tupelo swamp and bottomland hardwood forest.