IMPORTANT SAFETY INFO: Please note swimming or wading is not permitted downstream of the Powerhouse at any time, regardless of water releases. Check TVA’s website for water release information and dam safety data at: www.tva.gov/Environment/Lake-Levels/Great-Falls.
Please read the text below about the Caney Fork River Gorge and Safety Information prior to visiting the park.
The park has nine hiking trails with the Caney Fork Gorge area located below the dam being a very popular area for rock hopping, swimming and fishing. This beautiful limestone gorge runs between the Great Falls Dam and the Twin Falls. The area is populated with Great Blue Herons, wildflowers and waterfalls. The Caney Fork Gorge may be accessed via the Old Mill Trail or the Upstream Trail.
Collins River Nature Trail — 3.0 Miles — Natural — Moderate
A 3 mile loop along the outer edge of the Collin’s River peninsula. The trail winds beside the riverbank and gives the hiker a chance to view white-tailed deer, pileated woodpeckers, Christmas ferns and a wide variety of wildflowers. New Connector Trail shortens the trail to 2 miles and takes hikers alongside two cemeteries of the first settlers.
Eagle Trail — 1.4 Miles — Natural — Moderate
This 1.5 mile trail runs from the Blue Hole picnic area to the Badger Flatt picnic area down by the park’s natural sand beach on Center Hill Lake. This trail is naturally stocked with an abundant array of wildflowers and songbirds. Flowers include mountain laurel, pink and white trillium, little brown jug, bloodroot and yellow violet. Some birds which can be seen include warblers, belted kingfishers and osprey.
Moonshine Trail — 1.0 Miles — Natural — Moderate
This short half mile trail runs past the base of an old moonshine still and is teaming with wildlife. Hikers on this trail might get to see Firepink, Jack-in-the Pulpit, deer and barred owls. This trail begins at the tennis court parking lot and ends next to campsite 39.
Bluff Trail — 1.7 Miles — Natural — Moderate
Hikers and bikers are permitted on this wooded, 1.7 mile, lollipop trail that begins at the tennis court parking area. A short side spur blazed in blue brings hikers to a bench overlooking Center Hill Lake below. Hikers may catch a glimpse of a wild turkey, eagle, or coyote on this trail. These are our five main hiking areas in the park but there are a number of other places in the park worth exploring. Feel free to contact the park naturalist, for more information concerning trails.
Downstream Trail — 1.7 Miles — Natural — Moderate
The Downstream Trail is a 1.6 mile lollipop. It departs from Twin Falls Overlook and continues along the very steep bluff line bordering the river. It features views of the Blue Hole below, Twin Falls, Little Falls and various seeps, as well as many spring wildflowers & rock formations. Swimming along this portion of the river is very dangerous and not permitted.
Upstream Trail — 1.0 Miles — Natural — Moderate
The Upstream Trail is 0.5 mile one way. It departs from Twin Falls Overlook parking area going east (across cable) and it provides access to the upper gorge area including swimming spots such as the “Ice Hole” and “Warm Hole”. Swimming is at your own risk in this area.
Blue Hole Trail — 0.5 Miles — Rocky — Strenuous
This extremely steep, wet and rugged 0.5 mile one way trail runs down a windy slope that extends along a beautiful waterfall seep. It is very strenuous & has many steep steps. It has been a popular fishing spot since the settlement of the area. Numerous wildflowers, mosses and ferns can be seen. Some sections have moving and standing water. (Wetlands are fragile - please tread lightly.) This section of the river is dangerous and swimming is not permitted.
Collins River Connector Trail
A two mile total loop branching off of and starting from the Collins River trailhead. A modest hike through hardwood groves taking the hiker to the sites of the very first frontier settlements and 3 cemeteries. A multi-use trail for hiking, jogging and mountain bikes. Hikers have the right of way.
Old Mill Trail — 1.0 Miles — Rocky — Strenuous
The Old Mill Trail is 0.5 mile one way. It departs from the Old Mill picnic area and it provides access to the gorge on the Warren County side. It consists of steep stairs opening into the gorge below. From the bottom, hikers can rock hop or swim at their own risk. The trail and parking lot close at sundown. Parking is limited.
*Use extreme caution in the gorge*
*Water may rise rapidly. Monitor your surroundings. Leave the gorge immediately if water begins to rise or you hear warning sirens. Watch for slick rocks & swift currents. Do NOT jump into water of unknown depths.
*Swimming or wading is not allowed in all areas from TVA’s powerhouse downstream all the way down to the main beach boat ramp including by the “powerhouse”, “Twin Falls” and “Blue Hole” due to hidden and deadly currents.