Whip-poor-will Woods

Why You Should Visit 

Whip-poor-will Woods' beauty is characterized by its rolling hills, deep ravines, narrow ridges and the charming song of its namesake. Ecologically, this large preserve is important because it provides a large, unbroken forests area that allows many species of birds, reptiles and mammals that require such a space to thrive.


Brown County


Interior Low Plateau


858 Acres

Owned & Managed By

Division of Nature Preserves


What to See: Plants and Animals

On the northern portion of Whip-poor-will Woods there is an abundance of sumac, sassafras, red maple and broomdsedge with some black oak and ash. At the north and east side, wildflowers showcased include showy orchids, whorled pogonia, trilliums, Mayapple, twinleaf and white and purple violets. It is interesting to note the the whorled pogonia is a rare and threatened orchid that only blooms every 10-20 years; its vegetative form may be found on this preserve. The southern portion of the woods is made of a mature climax forest that includes chestnut, hickories, beech, sugar maple, tulip, white ash and red, black and white oak.

Animal species that may be seen and heard at the woods are: coyotes, gray and red foxes, eastern box turtles, deer and Wild Turkey. Smaller mammals, snakes, skinks, and fence lizards have also been spotted. The large, un-broken forest area on the eastern boundary is critical habitat to Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Ovenbirds, various species of warblers.

The terrain moves from moderate to rugged and there are no established trails on the preserve at this time. Exercise caution and have fun!

For More Information

Division of Nature Preserves


From Nashville, go east on S.R. 46 for 2.2 miles and turn left (north) on Salt Creek Road (a gas/convenience store is on the corner). Travel approximately 6 miles to Gatesville and turn right at the "T" intersection. Continue 0.25 mile and turn left (north) on Sweetwater Trail. Continue for less that one mile and turn right on Persimmon Ridge Road (this is a dead end road). At the top of the hill the road curves. Look for the single-car pulloff on the right side of the road.

As parking is limited, please respect the neighbors and do not trespass on any property unassociated with Whip-poor-will Woods.


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Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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