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 number of birds present, and the area’s accessibility by birders are greatly dependent on the reservoir’s water level.
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).
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.
ADA Accessibility Notes
Not ADA compliant
Pet Friendly Notes
No restrictions are in place