5 Tennessee waterfalls you can see in one day
There is something amazing about the rush of water as it cascades over a series of rocks or drops off a high ledge. Waterfalls can be one of the most amazing things in nature and Tennessee is home to hundreds of them. From the Great Smoky Mountains over to Tennessee’s Highland Rim, there are hundreds of waterfalls. Here are five that you can visit in just one day trip from Knoxville (or Nashville).
Just a couple of miles off I-40 between Harriman and Crossville, Ozone Falls sits along U.S. 70, nicknamed “The Broadway of America.” That’s probably a great description, because Ozone Falls puts on quite a show. In fact, it was one of several waterfalls chosen as backdrops in Disney’s 1994 live action “Jungle Book” film.
From the parking lot, you have a couple of choices when it comes to trails to view the falls. The first path leads you to Fall Creek just before it plunges 110 feet. (This isn’t a path recommended for smaller children as there are no rails at the top of the falls). The other trail is moderately strenuous mainly because of the sharp incline and having to maneuver around lots of rocks. On the way down be sure and stop to get a closer look at the rock house called the “Gambler’s Den.”
Ozone Falls is best viewed when there has been some rainfall in the area or in times when there’s been a deep freeze. Of course, if you’re in the area and have time, you should make a stop no matter what time of the year it is.
From Ozone Falls chart your course to Fall Creek Falls State Park where you will find three waterfalls that are only a short walk away from your car. It’s about an hour’s drive along the Cumberland Plateau.
Cane Creek Cascades/Cane Creek Falls
As you wind along the main road into Fall Creek Falls look for the parking lot at the Nature Center. From there you can begin a short hike along Cane Creek with its high rock walls that curve along with the creek. In just a few hundred yards you’ll reach the top of the Cascades which are about 45 feet high. A swinging bridge allows you to walk across the top of them. A flight of stairs descends to the base of the cascades which eventually wind down a short narrow canyon to the much higher Cane Creek Falls. There is a separate trail from the Nature Center leading to the base of the falls, which were also used in the filming of “The Jungle Book.”
Fall Creek Falls
What could be considered the crowning jewel of the Tennessee State Park system is Fall Creek Falls This majestic water wonder is created when water rushing down Fall Creek takes a plunge 250 feet over a giant rock wall. The waterfall is one of the tallest in the Eastern U.S.
Most people view the waterfall from the overlook at the park, but you can hike a about a mile round trip to the base of the falls where there is usually a large pool of water. At times there is enough water flowing down the creek that you’ll actually see “two” falls over the massive rock ledge.
Piney Creek Falls
Driving through Fall Creek Falls State Park, there is an expanse of wilderness you pass on the way to Piney Creek Falls called a “gulf.” There are several overlooks along the loop road where you can gaze out into the seemingly endless stretch of land carved out of the Cumberland Plateau.
Eventually you’ll make your way to the trailhead for Piney Creek Falls. It’s a short walk to the overlook, which is the only place you can view it because of the treacherous terrain around it. Another nearby trail takes you across the creek on another of the park's swinging bridges.
These waterfalls are great anytime of the year. For more on what they are like during a deep freeze check out my earlier blog post by clicking here.