Tennessee is known for its stunning natural beauty, and one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the state is its waterfalls. From the towering Cummins Falls to the picturesque Bald River Falls, plenty of waterfalls in Tennessee are worth visiting. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply looking for a peaceful spot to relax, Tennessee’s waterfalls offer something for everyone.
With so many waterfalls to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which ones to visit first. Some of the most popular waterfalls in Tennessee include Cummins Falls, Burgess Falls, and Fall Creek Falls. These waterfalls are so magnificent that they lend their name to state parks, and they are located within a two-hour drive from Nashville, making them easily accessible to visitors.
However, there are also plenty of lesser-known waterfalls in Tennessee that are just as beautiful and worth exploring. Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or an easy stroll, Tennessee’s waterfalls are sure to impress. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best waterfalls in Tennessee and what makes them so special.
Top Waterfalls in Tennessee
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Nestled in southeastern Tennessee, Fall Creek Falls State Park is a breathtaking natural wonderland with enchanting waterfalls, hiking trails and awe-inspiring overlooks. Those seeking solace or adventure won’t be disappointed by the beauty of this glorious state park.
The incomparable Fall Creek Falls, plunging a breathtaking 250 feet, is one of the most magnificent attractions in this renowned park. But that’s not all – Cane Creek Falls and Piney Falls also beckon visitors with their marvels! These hidden gems are among the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River.
From swimming and boating to hiking and camping, Fall Creek Falls State Park has something for everyone! With over 56 miles of picturesque trails – from easy paths with stunning views of waterfalls, gorges, and forests to more strenuous treks – this park provides an abundance of recreational opportunities. Come explore the wonders that await you here at Fall Creek Falls State Park!
The park offers a range of accommodation options, including cabins, campsites and RV sites. Furthermore, parents can take their children to the multiple picnic areas or playgrounds for some family fun.
Burgess Falls State Park
Burgess Falls State Park is a beautiful natural area located in central Tennessee, near the town of Cookeville. The park is known for its stunning waterfalls, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks.
Burgess Falls, a breathtaking 136-foot waterfall that flows over rapids and cascades into a stunning gorge, is the highlight of this park. Visitors can witness its beauty from various overlooks or hike down to the base for an even closer look!
In addition to the captivating Burgess Falls, this park offers an abundance of other waterfalls, including Middle and Upper Falls. With 4+ miles of winding trails that traverse the forested area and follow along the riverbank past each waterfall, visitors have a plethora of chances to bask in nature’s grandeur.
Burgess Falls State Park is the ideal destination for those seeking a place to relax. With picnic areas, playgrounds and even fishing piers available for use – what more could one ask for? Moreover, there is also an informative visitor center that provides information about the park’s cultural and natural history.
Cummins Falls State Park
Cummins Falls State Park is a beautiful natural area located in Jackson County, Tennessee, about 90 miles east of Nashville. The park is known for its stunning waterfalls, hiking trails, and swimming holes.
The park’s centerpiece is Cummins Falls, a 75-foot waterfall that drops into a deep swimming hole. Visitors can hike to the waterfall’s base via a 1.5-mile trail that winds through the forest and along the river. The hike can be strenuous at times, but the views of the waterfall and surrounding scenery make it well worth the effort.
In addition to the waterfall, the park offers several other hiking trails, including a trail that follows the river upstream to another swimming hole known as “Blue Hole.” The park also has picnic areas, a playground, and a fishing area for visitors to enjoy.
Swimming is a popular activity at Cummins Falls State Park, but visitors should be aware that the water can be dangerous at times, especially during periods of high water. Visitors should also wear appropriate footwear, as the rocks and riverbed can be slippery.
Ozone Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in Cumberland County, Tennessee, about 50 miles west of Knoxville. The waterfall is part of the 43-acre Ozone Falls State Natural Area, which is managed by the Tennessee State Parks system.
Ozone Falls drops over 110 feet into a deep gorge, surrounded by lush forests and rock formations. The waterfall is accessible via a short hike on the Ozone Falls Trail, which leads visitors to an overlook platform offering stunning views of the waterfall and surrounding area.
The area around Ozone Falls is popular for hiking and outdoor recreation, and the state natural area offers several other hiking trails, including a trail that leads down to the base of the waterfall. The park also has picnic areas and a campground for visitors who wish to explore the area more.
In addition to its natural beauty, Ozone Falls is also known for its history as a site for logging and iron mining in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Visitors can explore the remnants of these industries, including the ruins of an iron bridge and the remains of a furnace used for smelting iron.
Twin Falls at Rock Island State Park is a beautiful waterfall in the Rock Island State Park, situated on the Caney Fork River in Warren County, Tennessee. The waterfall is formed by the confluence of the Great Falls Dam and the Caney Fork River and drops over 80 feet into a deep swimming hole.
To reach the waterfall, visitors can park at the main parking area in the park and follow a short, paved trail that leads to an overlook platform offering views of the falls. For those who wish to get a closer look, a staircase leads down to the waterfall’s base.
Twin Falls is a popular spot for swimming, fishing, and hiking, and the surrounding area offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The park has several hiking trails, including a trail that leads to the Great Falls overlook, which offers stunning views of the Great Falls Dam and the Caney Fork River gorge.
Foster Falls is a stunning waterfall located in the South Cumberland State Park in Marion County, Tennessee, about 40 miles west of Chattanooga. The waterfall is a popular destination for hiking, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities.
Foster Falls drops over 60 feet into a deep pool, surrounded by cliffs and rock formations. The waterfall is accessible via a 1-mile hike on the Foster Falls Trail, which winds through the forest and along the cliff tops, offering stunning views of the waterfall and surrounding scenery.
In addition to the waterfall, the South Cumberland State Park offers a variety of hiking trails, including the Fiery Gizzard Trail, which is widely considered one of the most scenic trails in the Southeast. The park also has picnic areas, a campground, and a visitor center with exhibits and information about the park’s natural and cultural history.
Rock climbing is a popular activity at Foster Falls, and the area is considered one of the best climbing destinations in the Southeast. The cliffs surrounding the waterfall offer a variety of climbing routes for climbers of all skill levels.
Laurel Falls is a picturesque waterfall located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the Tennessee side of the park, near Gatlinburg. The waterfall is a popular destination for hikers and visitors to the park.
Laurel Falls drops 80 feet in two distinct sections, with a walkway that leads hikers to an overlook at the base of the falls. The hike to the waterfall is a moderate 2.6-mile round trip along a paved trail, and it is suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Along the way, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Smoky Mountains and the surrounding forest.
The waterfall is named after the mountain laurel that blooms in the area in the late spring and early summer. The laurel flowers add to the beauty of the waterfall and surrounding scenery, making it an even more enchanting destination for visitors.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a variety of other hiking trails and outdoor activities, as well as scenic drives and historic sites. Visitors can also enjoy camping, picnicking, and wildlife viewing in the park.
Ruby Falls is a spectacular underground waterfall located in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, just a few miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The waterfall is situated 1,120 feet beneath the surface of Lookout Mountain and is the tallest underground waterfall in the United States.
Visitors to Ruby Falls can take an elevator down into the cave and then embark on a guided tour that takes them through a series of stunning rock formations and underground chambers before culminating in the awe-inspiring sight of the 145-foot-tall waterfall. The waterfall is illuminated with colored lights, adding to the dramatic effect of the experience.
In addition to the waterfall, the Lookout Mountain area offers a variety of other attractions and activities, including Rock City Gardens, which features stunning rock formations, gardens, and panoramic views of the surrounding area. Visitors can also explore the historic Incline Railway, which takes them up the steep side of Lookout Mountain for stunning views of Chattanooga and the Tennessee River.
Piney Creek Falls
Piney Creek Falls is a beautiful waterfall located in the Piney Creek Falls State Natural Area in Rhea County, Tennessee, about 40 miles northwest of Chattanooga. The waterfall is part of the Piney Creek that flows through the state natural area and drops over 80 feet into a pool below.
The Piney Creek Falls State Natural Area offers visitors several hiking trails, including a trail that leads to the base of Piney Creek Falls. The trail is approximately 1.6 miles round trip and is considered moderately difficult due to steep sections and rocky terrain. Along the way, visitors will encounter other smaller waterfalls and scenic views of the surrounding forest.
The state natural area also offers a picnic area and a small campground for visitors who wish to spend more time in the park. Visitors can also fish in the creek for trout and other species.
Tennessee is home to some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the United States. From the towering Cummins Falls to the stunning Burgess Falls, there is no shortage of natural beauty to explore in this state. Whether you are an avid hiker or just looking for a relaxing day trip, a Tennessee waterfall is perfect.
When planning your trip to Tennessee’s waterfalls, there are a few things to keep in mind. Many of the waterfalls are located in state parks, which may require an entrance fee. Some waterfalls, like Cummins Falls, also require a permit to access. It is always a good idea to check the park’s website or call ahead to ensure you have all the necessary information before you go.
With so many stunning waterfalls to choose from, it can be hard to decide which ones to visit first. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or just looking for a day trip, Tennessee’s waterfalls offer something for everyone.