Tennessee is blessed with abundant natural beauty, including stunning waterfalls that attract visitors from all over the world. These waterfalls not only offer breathtaking views but also provide opportunities for adventure and relaxation.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a serene escape, exploring Tennessee’s waterfalls is a must. In this article, we will take a closer look at the 10 best waterfalls that Tennessee has to offer.
The Natural Beauty of Tennessee
Tennessee is known for its diverse landscapes, ranging from rolling hills to majestic mountains. The state is home to several national parks, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is renowned for its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife.
With its vast forests, shimmering lakes, and cascading waterfalls, Tennessee offers a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Importance of Waterfalls in the Tourism Industry
Waterfalls play a vital role in the tourism industry, attracting visitors who are seeking awe-inspiring natural landscapes and unique experiences.
Tennessee’s waterfalls not only provide stunning visuals but also offer opportunities for hiking, photography, swimming, and even camping. The presence of these natural wonders helps boost local economies by drawing tourists and generating revenue for businesses in the surrounding areas.
1. Cane Creek Cascades
Cane Creek Cascades is a beautiful waterfall located in Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. It is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a picturesque view. The waterfall is accessible via the South Trail, making it easy to visit and explore.
Features and Accessibility
- Cane Creek Cascades consists of a 45-foot drop into a shallow pool below.
- Unlike other waterfalls, Cane Creek Cascades cascades rather than plunges, creating a unique and enchanting sight.
- Visitors can even go behind the falls for a one-of-a-kind perspective.
- The waterfall is located near a suspended bridge that leads to the trail leading to Cane Creek Falls.
- The trail to Cane Creek Cascades is easily accessible and suitable for all skill levels.
With its mesmerizing beauty and accessibility, Cane Creek Cascades is a must-visit waterfall in Tennessee. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the natural wonder of this enchanting cascade.
For more information about Cane Creek Cascades, visit the Fall Creek Falls State Park Wikipedia page.
2. Burgess Falls
Located near Cookeville in Putnam County, Tennessee, Burgess Falls is a stunning waterfall that attracts visitors from near and far. This waterfall is actually a series of waterfalls on the Falling Water River, with the most prominent one dropping over 130 feet into the gorge.
The area surrounding Burgess Falls is a state park, allowing visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of the waterfall along with other recreational activities in the park.
Hiking Trail and Spectacular Views
To reach Burgess Falls, visitors can follow a 1.5-mile loop trail that offers scenic views of the waterfalls along the way. The riverside trail takes hikers to the top of the last waterfall, providing a breathtaking panoramic view of Burgess Falls. Along the trail, hikers can also catch glimpses of the smaller waterfalls and enjoy the picturesque landscapes of the Falling Water River.
For those seeking a more adventurous experience, there is an alternate trail that cuts straight to the top of the last waterfall, bypassing the other waterfalls. This shortcut trail offers a quicker route for those who want to focus on the main Burgess Falls.
Whether you choose the riverside trail or the shortcut trail, Burgess Falls offers a rewarding hiking experience with its stunning views and picturesque surroundings. It is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and waterfall enthusiasts visiting Tennessee.
To learn more about Burgess Falls and the surrounding area, you can visit Burgess Falls State Park’s Wikipedia page.
3. Cummins Falls
Cummins Falls is a stunning 8th largest waterfall in Tennessee, located near Cookeville. It is a hidden gem nestled in the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River.
The waterfall cascades down 75 feet into a pristine pool surrounded by lush greenery, creating a picturesque and tranquil setting. Cummins Falls State Park offers visitors a captivating adventure and a perfect escape into nature.
Challenges and Thrills of Visiting Cummins Falls
Visiting Cummins Falls can be an exciting and challenging experience. Here are some key points to consider:
1. Hiking: The hike to reach Cummins Falls involves a moderate 1.5-mile round-trip trek along a designated trail. It takes visitors through rocky terrains, river crossings, and lush vegetation, providing a scenic journey to the waterfall.
2. Swimming: Cummins Falls offers visitors the opportunity to swim in its refreshing pool. However, it’s important to note that swimming is not permitted outside the designated area due to safety concerns. Visitors should be cautious and follow park guidelines to ensure their safety.
3. Water Levels: The water levels at Cummins Falls can vary depending on weather conditions and rainfall. It’s advisable to check the park’s website or contact the park authorities before visiting to ensure the waterfall and swimming areas are accessible and safe.
4. Permits: To enter the gorge leading to the base of Cummins Falls, visitors are required to obtain a permit. These permits can be purchased in advance or at the visitors’ center. It’s important to plan accordingly and be aware of the park’s rules and regulations.
5. Limited Parking: Cummins Falls State Park has limited parking, so it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a spot. Visitors should also consider carpooling or utilizing alternative transportation options if available.
Overall, a visit to Cummins Falls offers a rewarding and memorable experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of Tennessee’s natural landscapes and enjoy the thrill of exploring a hidden waterfall.
4. Fall Creek Falls
Fall Creek Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Tennessee and is located in Fall Creek Falls State Park. The park is known for its stunning natural beauty and is home to several other waterfalls and hiking trails. Fall Creek Falls is easily accessible and offers breathtaking views of cascading water against a backdrop of lush greenery.
The Tallest Waterfall in the Eastern United States
Fall Creek Falls is not only a beautiful waterfall but also holds the title of being the tallest waterfall in the eastern United States, with a height of 256 feet.
The powerful rush of water creates a mesmerizing spectacle and is a must-see for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The waterfall is easily accessible from the park’s parking lot, making it a popular attraction for visitors of all ages.
5. Laurel Falls
Laurel Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in Tennessee, located in the North-Eastern part of the state near Watauga Lake. This stunning waterfall is 40 feet tall and 50 feet wide, with a constant flow that makes it a must-see for waterfall enthusiasts.
The trail to Laurel Falls offers a scenic hike through the forest, following the Laurel Fork stream for most of the way. Along the trail, hikers will encounter well-built bridges and beautiful views of the forest and stream.
Famous Film Location and Scenic Hike
Laurel Falls has gained additional fame as a filming location for movies and TV shows. Its picturesque beauty and easy accessibility make it a popular destination for both locals and tourists. The hike to Laurel Falls is not particularly challenging, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels.
The trail meets up with several other trails, so it’s advisable to bring a map to navigate the area. At the end of the hike, hikers are rewarded with a stunning view of the waterfall, with smooth stones and clear mountain water perfect for relaxation or a refreshing dip.
For more information and detailed directions to Laurel Falls, visit the source.
6. Machine Falls
Machine Falls is one of the best-hidden treasures in Tennessee, located in the Short Springs Natural Area in Tullahoma. The waterfall can be reached via the scenic Machine Falls Loop Trail, which is 1.6 miles long and offers breathtaking views of other small waterfalls, lush greenery, creek beds, and wildlife along the way.
Machine Falls stands 60 feet tall and cascades down a rocky face into a beautiful shallow pool surrounded by colorful rock formations covered in lichen.
Unique Geological Features and Hiking Opportunities
Machine Falls is known for its unique geological features and offers hiking opportunities for nature enthusiasts. Here are some key features and opportunities:
- Rock formations: The waterfall’s rock formations are covered in vibrant lichen, creating a colorful and picturesque view.
- Shallow pool: The pool at the base of Machine Falls is shallow and perfect for wading or simply enjoying the view.
- Wildlife spotting: The trail leading to Machine Falls provides opportunities to spot wildlife, including birds, squirrels, and deer.
- Easy to moderate hike: The Machine Falls Loop Trail is rated as a moderate hike, suitable for hikers of various skill levels.
- Educational experience: Along the trail, there are informative signs about the geology and plant life of the area, offering an educational experience.
Visiting Machine Falls is a great way to appreciate Tennessee’s natural beauty and immerse oneself in the tranquility of the outdoors.
External URL: Short Springs Natural Area
7. Northrup Falls
Northrup Falls is a mesmerizing waterfall located in the Colditz Cove Natural Area in Fentress County, Tennessee. This hidden gem is a must-visit for waterfall enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Surrounded by lush greenery, Northrup Falls cascades over a rock ledge, plunging more than 60 feet into a narrow gorge along Big Branch Creek. The picturesque setting and the sound of rushing water create a tranquil atmosphere that is perfect for relaxation and exploration.
Hidden Gem in Colditz Cove Natural Area
Colditz Cove Natural Area is a 165-acre preserved land that offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. The area is known for its stunning waterfalls, with Northrup Falls being the highlight.
To reach Northrup Falls, visitors can follow a roughly 1.5-mile loop trail that takes them through the enchanting forest and leads them to the majestic waterfall. Along the way, they can admire the diverse flora and fauna and enjoy the peacefulness of the surroundings.
The waterfall itself is a sight to behold. The water gracefully plunges down the rock ledge, creating a mesmerizing display of nature’s power. The narrow gorge surrounding the waterfall adds to its charm, making it a photographer’s paradise.
Visiting Northrup Falls allows you to connect with nature and experience the serenity that can only be found in the great outdoors. It is a hidden gem that showcases the beauty of Tennessee’s natural landscapes.
External URL: Colditz Cove State Natural Area
8. Ozone Falls
Ozone Falls is a picturesque waterfall located in Cumberland County, Tennessee. This waterfall is part of the Ozone Falls State Natural Area, which spans 43 acres of beautiful natural scenery.
Ozone Falls is easily accessible, making it a popular destination for both local residents and visitors to the area.
The Beauty and Accessibility of Ozone Falls
Ozone Falls is known for its stunning beauty and ease of access for visitors. Here are some key features of Ozone Falls:
- Plunging 110 feet over a sandstone cap rock, Ozone Falls offers a breathtaking sight for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
- The waterfall was featured in scenes from the movie “Jungle Book,” further adding to its allure and popularity.
- The surrounding area of Ozone Falls is filled with lush greenery, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere.
- Visitors can easily reach the waterfall with a short walk from Hwy 40, making it suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels.
- Hikers can enjoy a scenic trail that provides views of exposed black Chattanooga shale—a geological formation that adds to the charm of the area.
- Springtime at Ozone Falls brings blooming mountain laurels, adding a vibrant touch to the already stunning scenery.
To visit Ozone Falls, simply follow Hwy 40 and look for the signs indicating the entrance to the falls. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and pack bug spray for a pleasant hiking experience. Don’t forget your camera to capture the natural beauty of Ozone Falls.
For more information about Ozone Falls and the Ozone Falls State Natural Area, you can visit the official website of the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation.
9. Piney Falls
Located in the Grundy Forest Natural Area of South Cumberland State Park near Tracy City, Piney Falls is a picturesque waterfall that offers a tranquil and serene setting for visitors to enjoy.
The waterfall has a 15-foot drop and can be reached with an easy hike through the beautiful forest.
Serene Hike and Old-Growth Forest
The hike to Piney Falls is a serene experience that takes you through an old-growth forest, with towering trees and lush vegetation surrounding you. As you make your way to the waterfall, you’ll be treated to the soothing sounds of nature and the peacefulness of the forest.
Once you reach Piney Falls, you’ll be greeted by the sight of cascading water and the refreshing mist in the air. It’s a great spot to relax, take photos, or have a picnic while enjoying the beauty of the waterfall.
The Piney Falls area is also home to other scenic trails and natural attractions, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Piney Falls offers a wonderful experience in the heart of Tennessee’s natural beauty.
To learn more about Piney Falls, you can visit the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation website.