Tennessee is one of the most naturally beautiful states in the US. This is a guide to the best waterfalls in Tennessee.
One thing I love about visiting places in Tennessee is that no matter where you go, you’re never too far removed from mind-blowing scenery. These Tennessee waterfalls are proof of that!
Did we miss any beautiful waterfalls in Tennessee? Let us know in the comments (as there are SO many in the state)! Thanks!
- Tennessee Waterfalls Map
- Best Waterfalls in Tennessee
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Tennessee Waterfalls Map
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Best Waterfalls in Tennessee
Head to Short Springs Natural Area to witness one of Tennessee’s hidden gems- the stunning Machine Falls located right in the heart of Tennessee’s wilderness.
Reached via the 1.6-mile long, moderately-rated scenic Machine Falls Loop Trail in Tullahoma, you can hike to the Tennessee waterfall and the trail will give you the chance to admire the breathtaking scenery of other small waterfalls, lush greenery, creek beds, and wildlife along the way.
At 60 feet tall, Machine Falls cascades down a rocky face to a gorgeous shallow pool full of rock formations that catch eyes with colorful lichen all over them.
Cummins Falls, located in Cummins Falls State Park, is Tennessee’s eighth largest waterfall in terms of its volume.
This 75 feet tall, gorgeous waterfall on Blackburn Fork River has two drops, one plunging down (50ft.) into a shallow pool, while the second one (25ft.) cascades down into a much deeper one.
The 3-mile Cummin Falls Trail near Bloomington Springs is a heavily trafficked, out-and-back trail that will take you to the waterfall.
Even though the Park provides a free overlook to the falls, getting access to the base of the falls is possible on fair-weather days and only for holders of Gorge Access Permits. This is also one of the best campground areas near Nashville and in Tennessee in general.
Visit Burgess Falls State Park in Sparta, Tennessee, to be awed by mesmerizing views of Burgess Falls, one of Tennessee’s true wonders.
The 136-foot-high scenic falls plunges down into a huge limestone canyon and is the largest of the park’s four waterfalls on Falling Water River.
Located near Baxter, take the 1.5-mile long, heavily trafficked River Trail on Service Road Loop to reach the falls, which is also used for various nature trips, birdwatching, and hiking.
The bottom of Burgess Falls is also accessible by water- simply kayak, ride a jet ski, or take a boat on Center Hill Lake to enjoy the stunning views.
Nestled in Cherokee National Forest in the Chilhowee Recreation Area, Benton Falls will leave you speechless with its stunning setting amidst lush greenery.
This gorgeous 65-foot-tall waterfall cascades down a steep rock face into a shallow rocky pool, where you can sit to relax and take in the gorgeous views.
Get the best views of the falls during the spring months when heavy rains bring back the flow of the waterfall.
To get to the falls, take an easy hike on the 1.5-mile-long Benton Falls Trail, which begins at McKamy Lake and is used for mountain biking, running, nature trips, and is suitable for all skill levels.
Named after President Andrew Jackson, Jackson Falls is one of the best-hidden treasures of Natchez Trace Parkway.
The 0.6-mile lightly trafficked, paved trail loop just above the Duck River will lead you to the base of this 40 foot tall, gorgeous waterfall, which has two drops and cascades down over bluffs and rock faces.
Visit during springtime to witness the waterfall’s full potential after snow run-off or during the fall to admire the surrounding colorful foliage.
The moderate hike is accessible throughout the year and is primarily used for personal hiking and nature trips. It is one of the best weekend trips from Nashville and other places in the state.
Bald River Falls
Bald River Falls is located near Tellico Plains in Cherokee National Forest and is one of the key reasons to go for a hike in the forest and have a chance to be in awe of one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Tennessee.
Around 90-100 feet tall, it cascades down over boulders into a large rocky pool, which in turn, flows into the Tellico River. The falls can be viewed either from a bridge on Tellico River Road or by hiking through Bald River Gorge to the top of the falls.
Embark on a hike on the 8-mile long, heavily trafficked moderate out-and-back Bald River Trail, accessible all year round, to get to the falls and witness how each season gives a unique character to it.
Named after Margaret Doak, Margarette Falls is one of Tennessee’s most popular and unique waterfall trails.
This 60-foot-high, fan-shaped waterfall is located in the lush Cherokee National Forest. The scenic waterfall is reached through the well-known 8-mile-long moderate Margarette Falls Trail along West Fork Dry Creek, which runs across a cascading stream.
The trail starts at the Margaret Falls Parking Area, passes three wooden bridges, and continues to a new platform on which you can admire the picturesque views of the TN waterfall!
While hiking, get ready to enjoy the surrounding rich flora and fauna during the warmer months while witnessing a real winter wonderland during the colder months.
Spruce Flats Falls
Looking for one of the most underrated waterfall hikes in Tennessee? If so, then Spruce Flats Falls Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park should be your top pick!
This 2-mile-long easy out and back trail along Tremont Road, which can’t be found on the official park map, will get you to the stunning Spruce Flats Falls and is perfect for family hiking trips.
The 30-foot-tall, gorgeous waterfall has four tiers and stands and pours down the mountain into the Middle Prong of the Little River.
The trail begins at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute in Tremont and is not heavily trafficked, allowing you to spot wildlife along the way.
Located in the Great Smoky Mountains, the 80-foot high Laurel Falls is considered one of the most popular waterfall hiking destinations in the Smokies.
It received its name from mountain laurel, which blooms near the falls and along Laurel Falls Trail. The 2.6-mile-long trail’s difficulty is moderate, so the path leading you to admire Laurel Falls is manageable for most visitors.
The Falls has two sections, an upper and a lower, separated by a walkway that crosses the stream.
Admire the surreal views of Ruby Falls located within Lookout Mountain and experience the feeling of witnessing one of Tennessee’s most jaw-dropping natural wonders!
The Falls is considered to be the US’s highest and deepest underground waterfall accessible to the public and a top-rated tourist attraction in Tennessee.
Get inside Lookout Mountain and explore the underground waterfall and cave along with its formations through guided programs. At 145 feet tall, it was first discovered by Leo Lamber in 1928 and was named after Lamber’s wife, Ruby.
After exploring the cave, you can admire the scenic views of the Cumberland Plateau from Lookout Mountain Tower… or get your daily dose of adrenaline at nearby High Point Zip Adventure.
Fall Creek Falls
Located in Tennessee’s largest and most visited state park called Fall Creek Falls State Park, Fall Creek Falls claims to be the highest free-falling waterfall in the eastern US, with a height of 256 feet.
The Tennessee state park is brimming with trails that will allow you to explore the other stunning waterfalls, streams, gorges, and landscapes in the 26,000-acre park.
Fall Creek Falls Lake’s stable flow will guarantee Fall Creek Falls mesmerizing year-round views cascading directly into a rocky pool.
If you are going for an extended trip, you should definitely consider renting one of the cabins there or opt to stay in one of the 200 campsites offered in the park. This is one of the best places to go camping near Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga if you have a free weekend.
Rainbow Falls, located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is comparably the closest to downtown Chattanooga and is believed to be the park’s oldest waterfall.
The chance to admire the waterfall doesn’t come easy since, in order to get there, you need to hike 2.7 miles on the somewhat challenging Rainbow Falls Trail.
The Falls received its name from the rainbows appearing over it on sunny afternoons that are created due to the mist.
On cold days, Rainbow Falls will grab your attention with ice formations shaped around it. At 80 feet high, it dramatically descends and flows over rocky formations and claims to be the tallest single-drop waterfall in the Smokies.
The 80 foot tall, magnificent Twin Falls located in Rock Island Park received its name from its two mainstream waters, which plunge 40 feet below the rim of the gorge just above the Caney Fork River.
It is an impressive non-natural waterfall that was created as a result of the damming of the Caney Fork River, due to which it has a constant flow throughout the year.
A wild and short 1 mile long out and back trail that offers an easy hike along the river. It will take you through the park where you will witness few other waterfalls before arriving at Twin Falls. This is one of the best waterfalls in TN to visit during the summer months!
Located on the private property of Evins Mill Resort in Smithville, 90-foot tall Carmac Falls is Tennessee’s 10th-highest waterfall that will take your breath away with its beauty.
You can enjoy the scenic views of the falls in one of the following ways: book a room at the resort or take a “day-tripper” package for $25.
A mile-long trail loop in the North End is a challenging one, but the final overlook of the falls is well worth the hike.
The South Trail is 1.5 miles and comparably easier, leading you to the base of the falls.
Greeter Falls is located in Savage Gulf State Natural Area and is one of the main reasons to go for a hike in the park so that you can explore its waterfalls.
Take a short hike through the Greeter Falls Loop Trail where you will discover the 15-foot Upper Falls, 50-foot Lower Falls, and be able to take a dip in the nearby swimming hole.
The Upper Falls cascades into a shallow pool and swimming there is not recommended since its stream leads to the top of the lower waterfall. Meanwhile, the lower Greeter Falls allows you to take a swim in a stunning pool that lies beneath!
This one easily one of the best waterfall hikes in Tennessee!
Lover’s Leap, located within Rock City at an amusement park, is undoubtedly one of the rarest waterfalls on this list. Perhaps the most famous waterfall near Chattanooga at the top of Lookout Mountains, the 140-foot high TN waterfall has a unique story behind it.
It’s named after a Cherokee legend about two star-crossed lovers from warring tribes whose love life had a tragic end.
Take a hike on the 4,100 foot long, easy Enchanting Trail, which will take you through various rock formations, a hanging bridge, unique Fairyland Caverns, and rich flora before arriving at your final destination: the mesmerizing Lover’s Leap Falls.
After reaching the lookout point, get ready to take in the breathtaking scenery of seven states. This is one of the most popular Chattanooga hikes (and one of the most popular in Eastern Tennessee)!
Cane Creek Cascades
Head to Fall Creek Falls State Park behind the Nature Center to admire the park’s true gem, Cane Creek Cascades, tumbling 45 feet down into a shallow rocky pool.
The Cascades are easy to find; you can even get underneath them since it does not have a plunge like its bigger sister Cane Creek Falls found on the same creek.
An easy 0.2 mile out and back trail will lead you to the cascades along which you can also cross the Cane Creek Suspension Bridge, which spans Cane Creek and connects the trail to Cane Creek Falls.
Take your time to enjoy the scenic views of the wide cascades from a side or take a swim in the natural pool beneath the cascades.
Foster Falls Recreation Area, located in South Cumberland State Park, offers adventurers to explore one of the most scenic destinations in South Tennessee.
There, you can witness Foster Falls, one of the gorgeous waterfalls on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau. Gritty sandstone overlooks the stunning 60-foot falls cascading into the deep pool beneath it.
The top of the falls can be accessed through a short hike, while the trail will allow you to experience the most picturesque sites below the falls. The waterfall’s scenic views are completed by the surrounding greenery, where you’ll find colorful flowers and plants such as azaleas, mountain laurel, and hemlocks.
Nearby, you can find campgrounds with all amenities, including a bathhouse, picnic area, and free parking.
Despite being one of Tennessee’s lesser-known waterfalls, the 110-foot high Ozone Falls is located in Ozone Falls State Natural Area and makes jaws drop!
You can get access to both the top and bottom cascades of the Falls while passing through the Cumberland Trail and witness the fascinating views of the fall rushing from an edged cliff down into a deep blue pool with a view.
The trail is near Crab Orchard and features various hiking spots for nature lovers. This trail is one of the best hikes near Chattanooga and the waterfall offers such a treat at the end!
Dive into the natural pool under the waterfall that is surrounded by gritty rocks, or simply enjoy the sound of the falls along with surrounding greenery from the adjacent natural amphitheater, which was formed over time by Mother Nature.
What are the best waterfalls in Tennessee, in your opinion? Please let us know which Tennessee waterfalls we missed! Thanks!
Pin this Waterfall Hikes in Tennessee Guide