About the Park
Burgess Falls State Park and Natural Area
Located on the Falling Water River, this day-use park is noted for its natural beauty and four waterfalls that cascade down from over 250 feet in elevation. The last of these falls is the most spectacular, plunging more than 130 feet into the gorge. The area was originally populated by Native Americans of the Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw tribes. These tribes used the land as a hunting ground until the late 19th century when a gristmill and sawmill began operating on the river. The Falling Water River was used to generate hydroelectric power for the city of Cookeville from 1928-1944. In 1973, the territory became a designated Tennessee State Natural Area, protecting the diverse forest and aquatic habitats.
Window Cliffs State Natural Area
Window Cliffs is a 275-acre state natural area that opened for public access in April 2017 that is managed by Burgess Falls State Park.
While it is managed by Burgess Falls State Park, the entrance to Window Cliffs is located eight miles away from the entrance to Burgess Falls. It is important for visitors to note that these are two separate locations that are not connected by any trails. You can find directions for Burgess Falls and Window Cliffs at the bottom of this page.
This day-use area is located in southern Putnam County approximately 18 miles south of Cookeville. Window Cliffs is a prominent geological clifftop feature that consists of a very narrow, elongated ridge that lies in the neck of an incised meander of Cane Creek.
Window Cliffs - Know Before You Go:
- The area opens at 8:00 AM and closes one hour before sunset, year-round. Window Cliffs is a day-use area.
- The trail is subject to closure due to flooding. Please check for active alerts at the top of this page before visiting Window Cliffs State Natural Area.
- There is a 2.7 miles trail open for hiking. Please allow at least two and a half hours to three hours to complete the 5.4-mile roundtrip. Start your return hike one and a half hours before sunset. This trail is considered difficult to strenuous.
- A round trip hike requires 18 creek crossings which can be challenging or impassable during high water as there are no bridges, only cables, and rock crossings. Water can, at times, begin to rise in the creek unexpectedly due to rain in the watershed. There will be times that the area is closed due to high water. Always check the weather reports before heading out.
- The less you take on the hike the better. It is best to limit belongings to items that will fit in a small backpack. Keep your hands free.
- Wear sturdy shoes that can get wet. Flipflops are not recommended.
- Pets are not allowed within Window Cliffs State Natural Area for safety reasons.
- No camping is allowed, however, cabins and camping are offered at Standing Stone State Park, Rock Island State Park, and Edgar Evins State Parks. Nearby Cookeville offers a variety of lodging options.
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