Open to the Public
Hiking, Birdwatching and Wildlife Viewing View All
Shady Valley is beautiful year-round, but birdwatchers will especially enjoy the number of migratory birds passing through in spring and fall. View All
Why You Should Visit
Orchard Bog and Quarry bog are globally rare remnants of a once vast system of peat wetlands. After the retreat of the last glacial ice sheets, Shady Valley retained rare wetland habitats known more commonly in northern environments.
Shady Valley, Tennessee, in Johnson County.
Open year-round, dawn to dusk.
There is a trail cleared for walking. Some spots may be wet or muddy. Visitors must stay on the mowed trail for their own safety and to protect the sensitive wetlands. Dogs are allowed on leash.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Over the past century, most of the expansive peatland system was drained and converted for agricultural purposes and grazing pastures, leaving only a handful of bogs in the vicinity. In addition to the loss of wetland habitat, the natural water flows of the valley were altered by agricultural practices and the damming and channelization of Beaverdam Creek. The Conservancy works to restore habitat for the valley's rare plants and animals while promoting conservation-friendly agricultural practices on its property.
What to See: Plants
Orchard Bog Preserve also contains several state-rare plants such as Wild Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), Tawny Cottongrass (Eriophorum virginicum), Hoary Sedge (Carex canescens) and Nuttall Pondweed (Potamogeton epihydrus). In 2016, Appalachian Hedge-Nettle (Stachys appalachiana) was found at Orchard Bog Preserve—the first sighting of this rare plant in Tennessee.
What to See: Animals
Shady Valley is beautiful in any season, but birdwatchers will be thrilled by the spring and fall migration shows (early April to mid-May, early September to mid-October). The uncommon Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum) has been documented on the site, as well as unusual shorebirds during migration.
There are mowed trails leading in and around the wetlands. Look for beaver lodges and dams.
Check the local weather forecast and dress accordingly. A hat and drinking water are recommended. During warm weather light-colored and light-weight clothing is suggested. Binoculars and field guides are also worth bringing, as the wetlands attract many unusual bird species. For bird migrations, visit in spring and fall (early April to mid-May, early September to mid-October).
From Nashville or Knoxville, TN
- Travel east on Interstate 40 to Interstate 81 east to Bristol, Tennessee.
From Bristol, TN
- Follow Highway 421 driving south through Bristol and 18 miles south to Shady Valley. The Conservancy office is located at 10537 Highway 421 North. Stop here first for trail maps.