Kayak to Burgess Falls

The first time I went to Burgess Falls, we quickly made a pit stop on the drive home and decided to only go to the lookout. Little did I know that it was going to be the winter that a major ice storm came and destroyed the trail down to the falls. Two years have passed, the trail to the base remains closed, and I heard there was another way. Kayaking.


Luckily I had a few friends on Instagram share some details with me, but they really didn't tell me much about it other than sections of low water and where to take off. So with a few nights rain through the last two weeks, and the first 70+ degree weather of the year, we packed up the kayaks and headed to the drop in.

We left Nashville around noon, arriving at the drop in around 1:30. The water ended up being not too cold considering the recent weather, and we found our way up the river, heading to Burgess. If you are wanting to do this, just follow the map from the drop in to Burgess Falls. 

I'm not really sure how long it even took for us to kayak there. There was a point where we hit some shallow rapids and rocks, and couldn't make it upstream without getting stuck, so we had to get out and wade through the river. We really weren't very well prepared, as we were wearing jeans and boots, so needless to say, we got soaked. There was one section where I'm pretty sure I rowed as hard as I could and wasn't moving, so we hopped out again and made our way around on the rocks. Still this wasn't terrible but at this point, rowing against the current had really taken its toll on our arms.

I'd like to say we arrived at 3pm. We took about an hour rest and took some photos around the base of the falls, giving our arms some time to rest. About 4pm we headed back and were able to kayak through the rocks and the rapids, but being on an Oru Kayak, it was quite an uneasy ride through. Luckily, we didn't tip, and were able to make it back to the car by sunset, around 5:30pm, and after changing clothes and grabbing some fast food, we were back in town by 7pm.

Check out our photos below and follow @theexplorerdad and @mika.matin for more photos.