Summer is here and the time is right to visit some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in Tennessee.
Tennessee has over 500 waterfalls, most of which are located in the eastern portion of the state, along the Cumberland Plateau or in the Appalachian Mountains. You could spend weeks or months exploring all these waterfalls. So, we have selected 5 to get you started. Gas up the car / RV and let’s go!
This fun video will show you a few others…
Less than 130 kilometres east of Nashville in Tennessee’s Highland Rim sits a tiny state park with a big attraction. Burgess Falls State Park draws visitors with its leafy hiking trails, its peaceful fishing pier and four beautiful waterfalls. The Falling Water River has carved a deep gorge through the area and created the park’s crown jewel, the 40-meter-high Burgess Falls. To get to the falls, follow the 2.4-kilometre round-trip River Trail hiking route (which takes you past the park’s other falls) and you’ll find yourself standing on the ledge overlooking the river as it plummets over the cliff. A stairway leads down into the ravine, where you can cool off in the water before continuing on your hike. Bring a bathing suit!
Fall Creek Falls
Sprawling across more than 10,500 hectares of eastern Tennessee (a little over 100 kilometres north of Chattanooga), Fall Creek Falls State Park amazes with its landscape of deep gorges and tumbling waterfalls. Here, you will find one of the tallest free-fall waterfalls in the eastern USA, Falls Creek Falls. This incredible fall drops 78 meters from the edge of a rounded gorge into a tranquil azure pool. To see the falls from above, follow the 2-kilometre Gorge Overlook Trail; if you’d prefer to dip your toes in the water, take the shorter, more challenging Base of Fall Creek Falls Trail. Whichever you choose, your hike will be rewarded with spectacular views.
The 33.5-meter Ozone Falls is the star of a 17.5-hectare recreational area roughly 120 kilometres northeast of Chattanooga. This stunning waterfall also played a starring role in the 1994 live-action Disney movie The Jungle Book. A 2.4-kilometre round-trip hike will lead you to the rim of the gorgeand then down to the base of the falls framed by amphitheatre-like rock walls. Tip: visit in autumn to see this waterfall framed by the vibrant red and yellow foliage displayed on the surrounding birch and maple trees.
FUN FACT! Ozone Falls was featured in the 1994 movie “The Jungle Book.”
Often overlooked for the state’s larger falls, this 18-meter waterfall in the southeast corner of Tennessee (56 kilometres northwest of Chattanooga) offers respite for those who prefer to avoid the crowds. An easy hike will lead you to the top of the falls. From there, cross the scenic suspension bridge to continue down to the deep plunge pool below. But the waterfall is not the only reason why a trip to the Foster Falls Small Wild Area is worthwhile. This section of South Cumberland State Park, on the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau, is also a rock climber’s dream. Even if you did not come equipped with ropes and carabiners, you can still feel the thrill of a climb along the 3-kilometre round-trip Climbers Loop hiking trail, which features some steep portions.
This tiered waterfall formed by the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River – which runs along the eastern portion of the Highland Rim through Cummins Falls State Park (about 135 kilometres east of Nashville) – has earned a reputation as one of the most scenic swimming holes in the USA. During the steamy summer months, you can cool off on one of the 23-meter-high waterfall’s multiple ledges and dive into the calm waters of the pool below. Cummins Falls is a popular family getaway during the summer months, so get there early to avoid the crowds, then spend the afternoon picnicking and exploring one of four short hiking trails.
A Governor-General Award recipient, Helen Hatzis was also voted as one of Canada's Nicest People! A xenophile at heart, she lives to travel and loves to share her experience on Trip Jaunt (formerly Weekend Jaunt), an online travel community and hub she founded in 2010. She hopes that you will feel inspired to discover the world as well! Helen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Academy of Canadian Film and Television.