Rankin Bottoms

Rankin Bottoms is a broad, fertile floodplain at the junction of the French Broad and Nolichucky Rivers,  40 miles east of Knoxville. Located at the upper reach of Douglas Lake,  the area is usually flooded from April until September.    Rankin Bottoms attracts an exceptional number and variety of birds, and is recognized as an Important Birding Area by the Audubon Society for   waterbird activity during the warm seasons.  Most of the area is within the pool of Douglas Reservoir, and habitat conditions, the numberof birds present, and the area’s accessibility by birders are greatly dependent on the reservoir’s water level.

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Latitude: 36.0224467 Longitude: -83.2543945 Elevation: 999 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Linda Lewanski

Recreational Opportunities

Rankin Bottoms is popular for fishing, boating,  paddling, & casual visits.  TWRA manages the Rankin Wildlife Area, which occupies a portion of the bottoms, for waterfowl and fall hunting. Canoeing, kayaking, guided tours by appointment (Call 423-487-3161).                                                           


Seasons Accessible

Accessibility varies with the seasons.  Motor vehicle access is most extensive from October to March, and is very imited from May to August, when the area is best visited by boat.


No fees

ADA Accessibility Notes

Not ADA compliant

Pet Friendly Notes

No restrictions are in place


The Rankin area is outstanding for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing at any time of year. There are TWRA boat ramps at Rankin Bridge, Leadvale, and Walters Bridge. During the warm season, you can loop on the lake from any of these sites: in the cool season, you can head down river from one to another, as long as you've arranged a shuttle. A side journey into the mouth of the Nolichucky, with its Wildlife Management Area, is well worth the effort.

Michael Sledjeski, 8/11/2011

where is there a wildlife management area in the mouth of the nolichucky?

hunting guy, 9/16/2014

Re: Q by hunting guy: the islands in the mouth of the Nolichucky are part of the rankin WMA.

michael sledjeski, 8/5/2016

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