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Wonderful Winter Waterfalls

February 19, 2016  |  Permalink

Waterfalls in Tennessee State Parks are usually beautiful in the winter, sometimes they are spectacular. In the leafless season, when plants are not soaking up and storing the rainwater as much, there is more to run off in the streams. So, streams run more consistently, making a waterfall a good scenic destination in the cool season. Winter, also, has a greater chance of big rain events. Flooding can be a problem and quite dangerous, so beware of too much runoff. But normally after a rain event is a good time to go to see a waterfall.

Below left to right: Northrup Falls in Colditz Cove State Natural Area. Stillhouse Hollow Falls in Stillhouse Hollow Falls State Natural Area and Colditz Cove State Natural Area.

Recently, I visited the Stillhouse Hollow Falls State Natural Area after a good three day rain event. I waited a bit too long and the water had diminished greatly. It was only a day and a half after the rain but because the falls is near the head of the watershed the flow was not as big as I thought it might be. The flow was good though and I was able to get a good photo.

Below: Stillhouse Hollow Falls puts on a spectacular display of ice formations.

A few years ago I was able to visit Stillhouse Hollow Falls after several days of below freezing temperatures and the falls had become a solid ice formation. These cold spells are when the waterfalls get to be spectacular. My visit to Colditz Cove State Natural Area a few years later gave me a chance to see Northrup Falls in its frozen splendor. The icicles were spectacular on the bluffs too. By the time we were leaving the warming temperatures were permitting the icicles to melt and fall. This can be a very dangerous time to be there.

Visiting waterfalls in the winter time are one of my favorite nature outings. Be careful, plan accordingly, and enjoy the show.

About the author

Tennessee State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath is a native of west Tennessee, where his family’s farm was just 15 miles from the Tennessee River. After graduating from UT Martin and working seasonally for several years for the National Park Service and Tennessee State Parks, he has spent the last 33 years with state parks. Randy worked as a ranger/naturalist at South Cumberland State Park on the Cumberland Plateau and at Radnor Lake Natural Area in Nashville until 2007 when he was given the opportunity to be the statewide naturalist for the state park system.