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Rye Cove Intermediate School Nature Center


Elevation: 1515 ft., Perhaps the most endearing aspect of this site is its proximity, use and management by the local school. This site serves as a Nature Center Classroom for students and offers a well-maintained trail system. These trails meander from open fields to shrub patches and into small stands of hardwood forests.

Rye Cove is an unusual feature in this area. It comprises 25 square miles of markedly smooth relief. It was here that the worst tragedy of modern times occurred in Scott County when a tornado on May 2, 1929 destroyed the Rye Cove School building, killing 12 children and one teacher, with many other injured. A log cabin on this site was the Red Cross center during this time.

Though the site is not as large as some of the others, there are still numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing. Eastern box turtles scurry along the forest floors, occasionally basking in green pastures. Butterflies such as common buckeye, eastern-tailed blue, great spangled and meadow fritillaries flit about the nature center. Avian residents include an array of songbirds and woodpeckers. In the summer, red-eyed vireo, eastern towhee, and cedar waxwing are very abundant throughout the site. Pay particular attention to the open fields and you may glimpse an American kestrel, wild turkey or white-tailed deer.


From U.S. 23 in Clinchport turn onto SR 65 toward Clinchport. Follow SR 65 North and follow it for 4.3 miles. Turn left, heading west on Rt. 649/Rye Cove Road for another 2.6 miles to Rye Cove Intermediate School. Go right into the school driveway, and continue to the rear of the building towards the parking lot. The trailhead is located behind the school, east of the parking lot. Motorcoach parking is available in the front of the school at the bus loading circle.

Location & Directions

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Site Information

  • Site Contact: (276) 940-2322, Rye Cove Intermediate School,
  • Website
  • Access: Daily, sunrise-sunset;admission free


  • Environmental Study Area
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Parking