When you think of Tennessee, you might think it’s all country music, cowboy boots and whiskey. However, another wonderful thing about Tennessee is the breathtaking nature views. That includes an extensive list of incredible waterfalls located in Middle Tennessee alone.
We reached out to our good friend, and Tennessee native, Lauren Beasley to ask for her help in putting together a list of waterfall recommendations. Together we came up with 6 fantastic waterfall hikes you’re definitely going to want to add to your outdoor adventure list.
As you can see from her photos, Lauren is a huge Grab The Gold fan. It’s her favorite snack on her outdoor adventures because…
Lauren told us, since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, she and her mother have made a tradition to set aside one day each month to get out in nature and explore. Over the past 16 months they’ve been able to hike and discover some of the most beautiful areas of Tennessee. Read on to hear about some of their top recommendations.
1. Foster Falls – Located in the South Cumberland State Park near Tracy City, this is one of their favorites, Lauren said. The climb down to the base of the 60-foot waterfall is quick. In the hot, summer months you can even go for a swim at the base of the falls. If swimming isn’t on your to-do list, you can also hop on the challenging Fiery Gizzard Trail from the Foster Falls area.
2. Burgess Falls – This is another beautiful and recently very popular waterfall. While you can no longer get to the base of the falls without kayaking, Burgess Falls State Park has a great trail which takes you along the Falling Water River. Although seeing Burgess Falls from the state park’s observation deck offers a great view, Lauren told us she highly recommends kayaking to the base of the falls to get a different perspective.
3. Machine Falls – Located in The Short Springs Natural Area near Tullahoma, TN, Machine Falls is great if you’re looking for a moderate hike. This is one I’ve personally done as well and it does not disappoint. The trail allows you to get up close and personal with the Falls, completely immersing you in it’s beauty.
4. Ozone Falls – This is a hike great for beginners Lauren said. Located in the Ozone Falls State Natural Area in Crab Orchard, Tennessee, it’s only .03 miles out and back. Thus giving you a perfect taste of adventure, if you’re new to hiking.
5. Stinging Fork Falls – A moderate hike, located in the Cumberland Trail Area near Spring City, Tennessee. This hike is 1.9 miles out and back, and gives you views of the 30-foot waterfall flowing into the Stinging Fork Gorge.
6. Virgin Falls – Last but certainly not least, these falls are located in Sparta, Tennessee and are breathtaking! Be prepared for a full day’s hike. At 8.7 miles out and back, this is a more challenging hike. It leads to falls formed by an underground stream that emerges from a cave, then drops over a 110-foot high cliff before disappearing into another cave at the bottom of the sink. Talk about mesmerizing!
Looking for more details? Check out Lauren’s full list of Tennessee waterfall ideas based on hiking level:
Great Hikes for Beginners:
- Rutledge Falls (Manchester, TN) – .03 miles out and back
- Ozone Falls (Crab Orchard, TN) – .03 miles out and back
- Lost Creek Falls (Spencer, TN) – .02 miles out and back
- Old Stone Fort Loop Trail (Manchester, TN) – 2.8 mile loop
- Stillhouse Hollow Falls (Columbia, TN) – 1.7 mile loop
- Greeter Falls (Alamont, TN) – 1.1 mile loop
Great Hikes for Moderate Hikers:
- Foster Falls Loop (Sequatchie, TN) – 2 mile loop
- Machine Falls & Busby Falls (Tullahoma, TN) – 2.4 mile loop
- Twin Falls (Rock Island State Park, Walling, TN) – 1.6 mile loop
- Burgess Falls (Sparta, TN) – 1.5 miles out and back
- Stinging Fork Falls (Spring City, TN) – 1.9 miles out and back
- Cummins Falls (Jackson County, TN) – 3.0 miles out and back *(Permit required)
- Fall Creek Falls (Spencer, TN) – 0.8 miles out and back
Great for Challenging Hikes:
- Virgin Falls (Sparta, TN) – 8.7 miles out and back
- Window Cliffs (Window Cliffs State Natural Area) – 5.3 miles out and back
- Walls of Jericho (Belvidere, TN) – 7.5 miles out and back
Not in the Middle Tennessee area and catching a little F.O.M.O?
The U.S doesn’t disappoint when it comes to natural beauty. Check out the United States top-ranked waterfalls and see which ones are closest to your backyard.