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Hawkins Cove is a place of rare beauty and history. The trail that leads visitors into the area is part of an old railroad bed. The railroad that followed this trail ran from Cowan, Sewanee, Monteagle, Tracy City, Gruetli-Laager, and Palmer as it hauled coal and timber form the mountain into Cowan.
In Cowan, the materials from the train would then be transferred to a train headed from Nashville to Chattanooga. The two trains crossed with the train coming from the mountain passing above the Nashville-Chattanooga line.
The Hawkins Cove Natural Area is one of the newest additions to the South Cumberland Recreation Area. Hawkins Cove consists of 262 acres. It was set aside in 1985 to protect the rare Cumberland Rosin Weed. Today many endangered species of plant and wildlife call Hawkins Cove home.