Explorer Guide: Tennessee Waterfalls
When I first started Nashville Explorers Club, many of my fellow photographers felt the need to move to the Pacific Northwest to live in their outdoor photography dream. Not knowing what natural beauty existed, I began a journey of finding and sharing the most beautiful areas around Tennessee. After being on this journey for almost two years, it's been obvious that one of the most attractive features Tennessee boasts is their waterfalls. I've created a collection of waterfalls from the area that make me proud to call Tennessee one of the most beautiful states, and call it my home.
Like my other Explorer Guide, this is a work in progress and I plan on adding more as I explore. I'd love to find more waterfalls and add them to the list, so if you have any recommendations, please leave a comment!
Last Updated September 2016.
It took me about 3 times going to Rock Island before I saw most of what Rock Island offers. The first time I went, the dam was open, and all we saw was a raging river. No waterfalls, just river. The next time I went, we missed the entire Great Falls. After the third time, I finally feel like I've explored most of the area of Rock Island and can say that this is easily one of my top must-see places in Tennessee. Just take your swim trunks, waterproof shoes, and lunch, and make a day of it.
Greeter Falls is the lesser known swimming hole, that is easily one of my favorite waterfalls. It's a short hike with a great swimming hole and cliff jump, and you can easily have a good time cooling off without the crowds.
Foster Falls is one of the shortest hikes to get to a waterfall. There's a beautiful bridge and area that surrounds the falls that stays relatively quiet. Foster Falls boasts one of the more beautiful rock formations that people love climbing and falling into the falls.
Virgin Falls is a chore. When we finished the 12 mile hike, we agreed it would be easier to break apart into a two day adventure, but I loved the challenge. Virgin Falls is one of the most unique falls in the area, as the water comes from a cave and just disappears into a 60 foot sinkhole. There are multiple swimming opportunities along the way, but once you get to the falls, you are mainly just avoiding falling into holes in the ground... However, I felt like this place was like a jungle and nothing like I've seen in Tennessee. I definitely respect this place and would recommend doing this hike in the fall or in cooler weather.
Fall Creek Falls
Fall Creek Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Eastern US and is part of the largest Tennessee State Park. I recommend spending some time around Cane Creek falls then take the Cable Trail to Fall Creek Falls. There are multiple falls in the area including Piney Falls, Cane Creek Falls and Cane Creek Cascades, so you could spend plenty of time in the area.
Burgess Falls has been a bit of a mystery as of late. The park is currently open, but the trail to get to the base of the falls has been closed for a couple of years, and the few times I've been, we haven't made it to the bottom. It's definitely one of the most beautiful falls in the area, and I've been told you can kayak up to the falls from Center Hill Lake if the water is high.
Cummins Falls is the party swimming hole in the summer. Many locals flock the falls on the weekend when the weather is warm, and the last time I was there, about 500 people were there as well. Part of the hike includes wading through the river, so wear your waterproof shoes and try catching a warm day to navigate your way to the falls.
Am I the only one that has been to Ozone Falls? Every time I've been, we have been the only people at the park. This is a beautiful, yet secluded area that includes a short, steep hike, and a small swimming hole. Definitely one of the more secret falls that I love stopping at.