If you're looking to turn waterfall chasing into a vacation, we suggest booking a campsite or cabin at one state park and making day trips to nearby waterfalls at other state parks. Fall Creek Falls State Park, Edgar Evins State Park, and Cumberland Mountain State Park offer cabins and campsites which make ideal home bases and are each located near at least two additional parks with waterfalls.
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Tennessee’s Highland Rim and Cumberland Plateau are nationally known for the cascades, gorges, rock houses and waterfalls nestled among their lush forest lands. Nature has combined this unique natural topography with an extensive system of rivers and streams to create particularly exceptional waterfall destinations. Many of these waterfall sites - Fall Creek Falls, Caney Creek Falls, Piney Falls, Burgess Falls, Great Falls, and Twin Falls - are located in or near Tennessee State Parks. Whether you want a tall plunge or a deep pool, an easy jaunt or a bit more strenuous hike, our state parks make for great base camps to launch your Tennessee waterfall exploration.
The best time to view Tennessee’s waterfalls is during the spring when snowmelt and spring rain showers produce picturesque cascades. Every spring, Tennessee State Parks and Natural Areas offer guided tours of many of our waterfalls. Self-guided tours are also a popular option. Please speak with a Park Ranger to learn more about Tennessee State Parks and Natural Areas waterfall adventures and remember, trails and rocks near waterfalls are often slippery, so wear sturdy shoes and safety first. Keep in mind the weather when planning your waterfall adventure. Sudden heavy rainfall can result in flash floods, and streams can become very dangerous. While some waterfalls are off trail and not easily accessible, many spectacular waterfalls have easy access points and or overlooks.
Burgess Falls State Park
This park has some closures. Please visit our Burgess Falls page for details.
The 1.5-mile round-trip River Trail/Service Road Loop is a moderately strenuous hike taking visitors past four waterfalls on the Falling Water River. The waterfalls are 20' cascades, 30' upper falls, 80' middle falls, and 136' lower falls in height. Most people prefer to hike back to the parking lot along the service road. The 1-mile Ridge Top Trail is very scenic with views down the main canyon of the Falling Water River. Please note that the trail from the main overlook to the main falls is very strenuous. All trails are foot trails.
Burgess Falls 136’
Middle Falls 80’
Falling Water Cascades 10’
Edgar Evins State Park - 30 minutes east of Burgess Falls State Park - cabins and campsites overlooking Center Hill Lake.
Cummins Falls State Park
This idyllic 211-acre site in Jackson County is located nine miles north of Cookeville on the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River. In the rolling hills of Jackson County where Putnam and Jackson counties meet, the stream gives way to a 75-foot drop. Cummins Falls is formed on the Eastern Highland Rim and is Tennessee's eighth largest waterfall in volume.
Gorge Access Permits Required - The park now offers gorge access permits that are required for any visitor wishing to enter the gorge or visit the base of the waterfall. Details about the permit are available here. You can purchase permits online or at the park visitor center. Due to the limited daily quantity of permits, we recommend purchasing your permit online in advance. Please note: No refunds, exchanges, date transfers, or rain checks will be issued for permits.
SAFETY INFORMATION: While very beautiful, this is a rugged area and there are inherent hazards. To make your visit to our park as safe and enjoyable as possible, know the risks. Use good judgment and common sense when deciding whether you should hike down to the waterfall or view it from above, at the overlook. If you decide to hike to the bottom of the waterfall please use caution and note that a Gorge Access Permit is required. Everyone should wear appropriate shoes that can get wet, bring a friend, and wear a PFD when swimming at the falls. More guidelines are available on the park page using the link below.
Cummins Falls 75'
Edgar Evins State Park - 35 minutes from Cummins Falls State Park - cabins and campsites overlooking Center Hill Lake.
Standing Stone State Park - 40 minutes from Cummins Falls State Park - cabins and campsites in a family-friendly wooded setting centered around Kelly Lake.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls is home to a beautiful gorge with awe-inspiring scenic overlooks and magnificent waterfalls. The most popular of these waterfalls is Fall Creek Falls – for which the park is named. This waterfall, which cascades down 256 feet, is one of the tallest single vertical drop fall east of the Rocky Mountains. The park also offers Cane Creek Falls, Cane Creek Cascades, Piney Falls, and several other impressive falls.
Fall Creek Falls 256’
Coon Creek Falls 250’
Rockhouse Falls 125’
Cane Creek Falls 85’
Cane Creek Cascades 45'
Piney Creek Falls 40’ (down onto a 45' cascade)
Fall Creek Falls State Park - On-site cabins, campsites, and opening in late 2021 the new Lodge at Fall Creek Falls.
Cumberland Mountain State Park - 50 minutes from Fall Creek Falls - Cabins and campsites centered around Byrd Lake.
Frozen Head State Park
Emory Gap Falls, an 18-foot (7.6 m) plunge waterfall amidst the headwaters of Flat Fork on the southeast slope of Bird Mountain. DeBord Falls, a 12-foot (3.7 m) plunge waterfall, is located along Flat Fork approximately .6 miles from the Panther Branch trailhead.
Emory Gap Falls 19’ freefall (23' to splash pool)
Debord Falls 12’
Frozen Head State Park - On-site primitive campsites.
Norris Dam State Park - 1 hour from Frozen Head State Park - Cabins and campsites on Norris Lake.
Old Stone Fort State Park
Old Stone Fort is home to nearly 10 waterfalls. Step Falls, along the Little Duck River, has a series of tiered waterfalls cascading along the perimeter of the prehistoric site. Along the Duck River, there are two larger waterfalls. Bluehole Falls, which is a short hike from the park museum, plunges into a magnificent blue pool and stands at nearly 30 feet in height. Big Falls, the largest of the falls at Old Stone Fort, is the most iconic falls on the property standing at over 30 feet in height.
Big Falls 30’
Bluehole Falls 30’
Old Stone Fort State Park - On-site campsites.
Tims Ford State Park - 40 minutes from Old Stone Fort State Park - Cabins and campsites on Tims Ford Lake.
Rock Island State Park
The park contains numerous waterfalls. Many flow year-round, while some are more dependent on water flow from TVA. Some waterfalls are located on trails and some are easily viewed from overlooks. Two of the park’s largest waterfalls (Twin Falls 80’ and Great Falls 30’) can be easily seen from adjoining parking area overlooks.
SAFETY INFORMATION: Always use caution in the gorge. Water may rise rapidly. Monitor your surroundings. Leave the gorge immediately if water begins to rise or you hear TVA warning sirens. Watch for slick rocks and 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. This includes areas by the “powerhouse”, “Twin Falls” and “Blue Hole” due to hidden and deadly currents.
Twin Falls 80’
Badger Falls 30’
Badger Flat Falls 20’
Great Falls 20’
Lower Great Falls 10’
Rock Island State Park - On-site cabins and campsites.
Edgar Evins State Park - 1 hour from Rock Island State Park - cabins and campsites overlooking Center Hill Lake.
South Cumberland State Park
South Cumberland State Park is home to a multitude of incredible waterfalls that you can hike to. The waterfalls in the list below that include the (SW) denote areas where there is enough water in the plunge pool to swim or wade in under normal (not dry) conditions.
SAFETY INFORMATION: Please note that jumping from waterfalls or cliffs is prohibited in any park area. For those interested, rock climbing is allowed with a permit in designated areas at South Cumberland State Park. Visit the park's rock climbing page to learn more and obtain a permit.
Horsehair Falls 80’
Foster Falls 60’ (SW)
Yellow Pine Falls 15’
Sycamore Falls 12’ (SW)
Hanes Hole Falls 10’ (SW)
Blue Hole Falls 9’ (SW)
South Cumberland State Park - On-site primitive and backcountry campsites.
Savage Gulf State Park
Savage Gulf offers seven breathtaking waterfalls that you can hike to. Greeter Falls drops over a 15-foot upper ledge and then plummets over a 50-foot lower ledge into a cold, clear plunge pool. Savage Creek enters its gorge over cascades and drops 30 feet at Savage Falls. Collins River and Ranger Creek have waterfalls that drop over limestone ledges and flow into sinks where they disappear. The waterfalls in the list below that include the (SW) denote areas where there is enough water in the plunge pool to swim or wade in under normal (not dry) conditions.
SAFETY INFORMATION: Please note that jumping from waterfalls or cliffs is prohibited in any park area.
Greeter Falls 50’(SW)
Suter Falls 50’
Boardtree Falls 30’
Ranger Creek Falls 30’
Savage Falls 30’ (SW)
Horsepound Falls 25’ (SW)
Laurel Falls 25’
Savage Gulf State Park - On-site backcountry campsites.