The channel for Turkey Creek begins where rain water collects in eastern edges of the watershed behind the damns at Cosby Lake, Shadow Lake and Lake in the Woods in Clay. Once the water moves past the damns the stream channel gently winds west through the valleys below Keeler Mountain, Blackoak Mountain and Brushy Mountain. Raccoon Creek, the largest tributary to Turkey Creek, flows through Sweeney Hollow in Pinson, Alabama. By the time the water gets to the Preserve’s canyon, called the Narrows, it has drained 25 square miles of land.
The stream channel at The Narrows becomes twisted with sharp turns after passing through the tight gap between West Red Mountain and Sand Mountain. Downstream the creek water meets the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River and eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico.
The groundwater feeding the creek in the limestone valleys adds complexity to the water quality in Turkey Creek. The cool water spilling over The Falls at Turkey Creek begins seeping out of the ground southeast of The Narrows. The springs emerge between Dug Hollow Road in an area of ‘karst’ and behind Pinson High School at Tapawingo Springs (also known as Penney Springs). Below the ground porous limestone allows groundwater to breach the surface as springs or seeps adding water to the creek beds. These springs provide the conditions for unique ecosystems that harbor some of the Southeast’s rarest aquatic animals.