10 waterfalls within an hour of Cookeville

August 26, 2016  |  Permalink

It’s hard not to stand in awe and amazement at the base of a 256-foot waterfall.  With spectacular cliffs surrounding you, and gallons of water pouring over the rock face, the magnitude of the situation is hard to deny.  Fall Creek Falls is just one of a dozen waterfalls within an hour of Cookeville, Tennessee. Let’s take a look at ten of our favorites:

 

 
Fall Creek Falls – Fall Creek Falls State Park – 256’

As we just mentioned, Fall Creek Falls State Park is home to one of the tallest waterfalls in the Eastern United States. While the volume of water varies based on the time of year and the amount of rainfall, this 256’ waterfall is one of the most spectacular sites in Tennessee. It is visible from an overlook adjacent to a parking lot. There is also a difficult trail descending approximately ½- mile to the base of the falls. Fall Creek Falls State Park is the most visited and well-known park in the state and this waterfall is one of the main reasons. (Note: The water volume varies based on the time of year. The picture above is from the winter months. )

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Cane Creek Cascades – Fall Creek Falls State Park – 45’

Cane Creek Cascade is a 45’ cascading waterfall located at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Spencer, TN.  As the name suggests, water from the falls tumbles over several ledges of rock. It is a popular swimming and photography destination at the park.

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Rock house Falls (left, 110 feet) and Cane Creek Falls (right, 85 feet) from below.

Posted by Fall Creek Falls State Park on Tuesday, May 26, 2015
 
Cane Creek Falls – Fall Creek Falls State Park – 85’

Just downstream from the cascades is the 85’ Cane Creek Falls. Cane Creek is the largest falls by volume at Fall Creek Falls State Park. The waterfall is visible from an overlook near the nature center, and from another overlook on the trail that leads to Fall Creek Falls. However, the best view is at the base of the falls, which is accessible via a strenuous cable trail. Visitors use a cable to support themselves as they descend 100-ft.  at a steep angle down to the base of the falls. (Photo Credit: Ranger Cara Alexander)

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A photo posted by tnstateparks.com #tnstateparks (@tennesseestateparks) on

 

Virgin Falls – Virgin Falls State Natural Area – 110’

This natural area, located in White County, is the home of 110’ Virgin Falls. An underground stream emerges from a cave and then plummets 110’ over the side of a cliff before disappearing again into another cave at the bottom of the sink. Doesn’t that sound like something you need to see for yourself? Before you visit, please read up on the rules and the hike. One of the main rules is that the caves are closed. This is to protect the resident bats from white nose syndrome. The hike into the falls is around nine miles roundtrip and is a strenuous route. Make sure to start this trek early enough to give yourself time to get out and back before dark. (Photo Credit: @truss84)

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Burgess Falls – Burgess Falls State Park – 136’

Burgess Falls is one of the most famous falls in Tennessee. It is the main fall at the park, and is visible from the 1.5-mile loop trail. The trail also leads visitors past two other falls at the park.   Storm waters several years ago damaged the staircase down to the base of the falls, but it is still a site to behold from the observation platform. It is one of the strongest flowing falls in all of Tennessee.

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Middle Falls – Burgess Falls State Park – 80’

The middle of several falls at Burgess Falls State Park, this waterfall is impressive for its height and width combination. It is one of the widest waterfalls in the state, and moves a considerable amount of water. While the base of the waterfall is not accessible, the view is great from the overlook on the main park trail.

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Ozone Falls – Ozone Falls State Natural Area – 110’

Located on a small natural area in Cumberland County, the 110-ft. Ozone Falls is a very popular attraction. It’s located just off the interstate near Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville, Tennessee.  The falls plunge over a sandstone cap rock into a deep blue, rock-strewn pool. Below the falls is a small remnant of an old growth forest and huge boulders, some the size of houses. A ¾-mile one-way trail descends into the gorge. (Photo Credit: @roslandv)

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Twin Falls – Rock Island State Park – 80’

Twin Falls is one of several falls at Rock Island State Park. The park is located on the headwaters of Center Hill Lake. There is no trail access to Twin Falls, but it is visible from the overlook at the end of Powerhouse Road. The important thing to know about Rock Island State Park is that the water rises quickly in the gorge when water releases from the dam or the TVA Powerhouse. Visitors must be careful to ensure safety on their visit. Because of the swift currents and regular water releases, the park does not allow swimming or wading in or around Twin Falls.

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Upper Piney Falls – Piney Falls State Natural Area – 80’

Upper Piney Falls is located in a 440-acre natural area in Rhea County, Tennessee. In addition to the 80-ft. Upper Piney Falls, the area is home to an old growth forest. Visitors can view Upper Piney Falls from trails leading to the rim of the falls and down to the base.

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Cummins Falls – Cummins Falls State Park – 75’

Cummins Falls is Tennessee’s eighth largest waterfall in terms of volume. Before becoming a state park, it was a popular destination for college students to visit in Cookeville. The waterfall is visible from an overlook platform, but most people take one of the trails into the gorge to visit the base of the falls. These trails are quite strenuous and involve water crossings, boulders and other obstacles. Heavy rains often make the gorge trails dangerous and unapproachable, so check the website before visiting. To stay safe on your visit, bring a friend, wear water appropriate shoes and use a personal flotation device on children and weak swimmers. 

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About the author

Josh Gibson