Spring is the best time of year to explore Tennessee waterfalls. The late winter thaw and early spring rains combine to substantially increase the water flow and heighten the beauty and grandeur of Tennessee’s waterfalls. It is the perfect opportunity for hikers, day trekkers, and shutterbugs to capture the most beautiful tumbling water moments. Tennessee has over 500 waterfalls, many of which are located along the Cumberland Plateau in central Tennessee. Several are within easy driving distance east of Nashville, a few of which I have highlighted here. Once a year, usually in March, Edgar Evins State Park volunteers sponsor a waterfall tour; this year (2018) it will be held on Saturday, March 17th.
Cummins Falls is one of Tennessee’s newest state parks. Locals enjoy the views year-round and during summer the 75-foot falls is renowned for being one of the best secret swimming holes in the United States. The park is still a work in progress, and therefore does not yet have picnic area amenities; but keep in mind that it is just a few miles outside of Cookeville, TN. There you will find many restaurants, micro-breweries, shops, and recreational activities to round out your day.
Burgess Falls, just 20-minutes south of Cookeville, TN is one of the largest and most impressive waterfalls in the whole state. It has a 60-foot drop with surrounding cascades and has an easily accessible overlook photo-snappers love. Adventurous hikers can also take the steep trail that leads to the brink of the falls, and the stairway that will take them to the base of the falls. Middle Falls, just a short distance upstream is also within Burgess Falls State Park.
Fall Creek Falls is the highest single plunge east of the Mississippi having a free fall of 256 feet. It is only a short walk from your car to an overlook that provides a wonderful view of the falls, as well as great views of the Cane Creek Gulf. Fall Creek Falls has a seasonal companion, Coon Creek Falls, which is visible to its right when the water flow swells. After a good rain it turns into a spectacular 250-foot plunge. Be mindful that the state park trail to the base of the falls has stairs and some steep sections. Right behind the park’s nature center the Cane Creek Cascades are accessible, with a suspension bridge that crosses Cane Creek just above the falls. This connects to the trails that lead to Fall Creek Falls and the overlook to Cane Creek Falls. You can also peek around the corner to see the upper edge of Cane Creek Falls.
Cane Creek Falls is also located in Fall Creek Falls State Park. The falls can be viewed from two overlooks; one is very close to the visitor center parking area, the other, much better view is just across the swinging bridge above Cane Creek Cascades before heading up the trail towards Fall Creek Falls. Rockhouse Falls, which is adjacent to Cane Creek Falls can also be viewed from there. For the best view of the falls, you need to take the cable trail down to the base of the falls. As the name suggests, the trail descends into the gorge at about a 45° angle with a cable strung alongside to assist you on your way down and up. There are a couple of very steep and rocky spots and this trail is not for everyone. But the views at the bottom are well worth the work.
The 2018 Edgar Evins Waterfall Tour will be held on March 17th from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and is currently taking reservations. It will include a short walk to at least three falls, some overlooks, and lunch in the Park Inn’s cafeteria. Transportation will be provided on a school bus from Edgar Evins to Fall Creek Falls. Cost is $15.00 (fifteen dollars) per person.
Edgar Evins State Park is located at 1630 Edgar Evins Park Road, Silver Point, TN. Just take exit 268 south off Interstate Hwy 40. For those who wish to stay overnight or for the week end, campgrounds and cabins, as well as tour reservations are available by calling the park office at (931) 858-2114. Reservations my also be made on line – www.foeesp.com/waterfalltour.