Big Cypress Tree Class I Scenic-Recreational State Natural Area
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. The bottomland hardwoods consist of two community types: forest occurring along semi-permanently flooded sloughs and pools and forest occurring on seasonally flooded higher ground. The dominant trees within these semi-permanently flooded areas include overcup, pin, cherrybark, willow and swamp chestnut oaks; bald cypress, and American hornbeam. Standing water in the pools and sloughs provide important habitat for wood ducks, cottonmouths, amphibians, fingernail clams and other aquatic or semiaquatic invertebrates and also provide a source of water for wildlife outside of the typical flooding seasons. Dominant trees within seasonally flooded forest include willow, cherrybark, and swamp chestnut oaks; sweetgum, sycamore, American elm, American hornbeam, persimmon, red maple, and green ash.
The natural area is where the largest bald cypress tree in the United States and largest known tree species east of the Mississippi River once stood. The stately cypress, historically referred to as the “Tennessee Titan”, stood at 175 feet tall, 40 feet in circumference, 13 feet in diameter, and was estimated to be 1350 years old. Unfortunately, the tree was struck and killed by lightning in July 1976 and is no longer present.
The bottomland and the sloughs surrounding the Middle Fork of the Obion River provide habitat for wildlife and opportunities for bird watching. Swainson’s warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii), a bird deemed in need of management in Tennessee, is known from the natural area and surrounding bottomland.
Visitors to the natural area have the opportunity to walk the boardwalk into the depths of the bottomland forest.
Big Cypress Tree State Park, 295 Big Cypress Rd., Greenfield TN 38230, phone (731) 235-2700. Division of Natural Areas, William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 2nd Floor, Nashville, TN 37243, phone (615) 532-0431. Division of Natural Areas, Jackson Environmental Field Office, 1625 Hollywood Drive, Jackson TN 38305, phone (731) 512-1369. Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, 200 Lowell Thomas Drive, Jackson TN 38307, phone (731) 423-5725.
Open to the Public - Full Access
Parking: Yes, Trail: Yes, Dogs on Leash: Yes, Hunting: Yes, Camping: No, though camping is allowed in the state park with permission
A 1,142-foot long ADA accessible boardwalk leads visitors into seasonally-flooded hardwood bottomland forest.
From Jackson, take U.S. Hwy 45E north through Greenfield: then just north of Greenfield, turn left on Kimery Store Rd., and follow the road for approximately 8 miles to the state park entrance on the right.