Short Springs is a 420-acre natural area located in Coffee County approximately three and a half miles northeast of Tullahoma. The natural area provides an excellent contrast between Highland Rim and Central Basin geology and vegetation. When descending along the Machine Falls trail, a visitor can observe exposed black Chattanooga shale at mid-slope, which is a formation that delineates the Central Basin from the Highland Rim. Thickets of mountain laurel grow on the upper slopes under a dry oak-hickory forest canopy that is characteristic of Highland Rim vegetation. The lower slopes and riparian areas along Bobo Creek support towering sycamore, buckeye, magnolia, beech, and tulip poplar trees with a rich shrub layer and herbaceous cover. Short Springs is one of the very best spring wildflower locations in the state. In the spring, moist slopes are covered in trout lilies, Virginia bluebells, jack-in-the-pulpit, larkspur, and Dutchman's breeches. Large flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflora), southern red trillium (Trillium sulcatum), and barren strawberry (Waldsteinia fragarioides) are uncommon plants for Middle Tennessee that occur here. The natural area also supports two state-listed endangered plant species, Nestronia (Nestronia umbellula) and broad-leaved bunchflower (Melanthium latifolium).
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Proceeding north on Jackson St. (US 41A), from the business district, turn right on Hogan St. (at Jiffy Lube, 4 blocks), turn left on Country Club Dr. (at the small grocery store, 5 blocks). Country Club becomes Short Springs Rd; follow for several miles to the Short Springs water tower on the right. Short Springs Natural Area is on the left.
Closes at sunset
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