One of the best things about visiting Chattanooga is that you will get a chance to witness the city’s surrounding nature.
These are the most beautiful waterfalls near Chattanooga.
Surrounded by an astounding amount of greenery, Chattanooga is situated in one of the most beautiful spots in Tennessee.
These waterfall hikes near Chattanooga will blow your mind and are the perfect weekend activity!
Do you know of any Chattanooga waterfalls worth exploring? Let us know in the comments!
Waterfall Hikes near Chattanooga Map
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Best Waterfalls near Chattanooga
1. Lula Falls
Make Lula Lake Land Trust your next trip destination and you will be amazed by all of the scenic sites it has to offer visitors! First of all, hike along the 6-mile trail that is perfect for nature trips, biking, or running as it will lead you to the gorgeous 110 ft tall Lula Falls.
It has two sections- the Upper and Lower Falls. When directed towards the Upper Falls, you will also see Lula Lake, which received its name from the falls flowing down directly into it.
Underneath the Upper Falls, you won’t be able to find a deep pool to wade in. Instead, you will see a lot of boulders around and it is great for views from above.
If you continue on the trail, however, you will make it down to the Lower Falls and see the Chattanooga waterfall up close! Be careful… it can be slippery!
2. Greeter 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 near Chattanooga!
3. DeSoto Falls
DeSoto Falls, named after the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto, is considered one of Alabama’s most-visited waterfalls. Pay a visit to DeSoto State Park and witness five stunning waterfalls located along the DeSoto Falls Trail.
Three of the DeSoto falls identified as lower, middle, and upper are accessible for hikers. The middle one has the most picturesque views and drops 80 feet; the lower or main waterfall drops 20 feet and the upper one 200 feet.
Aside from the waterfalls, visitors will also have access to the neighboring lake, a picnic area with charcoal grills and other conveniences, kayaking, fishing, and biking in DeSoto State Park.
4. Falling Water Falls
Pay a visit to Falling Water Falls State Natural Area and witness the 110-foot high Falling Water Falls flowing down from Cumberland Plateau’s edge.
It has pretty rugged surroundings and cascades dramatically into a rocky gorge. You can only access the top of the falls by crossing through a short trail, whereas getting to the lower part is very tough since there is no accessible path.
The overall area surrounding the falls is unpredictable during seasonal fluctuations, so you should be careful when planning your next trip there.
5. Laurel Falls
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.
6. 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.
7. Ozone Falls
Despite being one of Chattanooga’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.
8. Foster Falls
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.
9. Hemlock Falls/Cherokee Falls
Cloudland Canyon State Park is located on the western side of Lookout Mountain on Cumberland Plateau. Aside from offering you the best camping environment, it will also grant you access to the park’s two gems, Cherokee and Hemlock Falls.
You can get to the falls through the park’s famous Cloudland Canyon Waterfalls Trail. The first destination along the trail is the 60-foot high Cherokee Falls, which is hidden behind the tall trees.
Head back to the trail and not even a half a mile later, and you will witness the second beloved sight- the 90-foot tall Hemlock Falls that cascades from an arced rock wall.
This one can be openly viewed from the observation deck, which is a great spot to enjoy your meal and a rest while being surrounded by mesmerizing views.
10. Rainbow Falls
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.
11. Ruby Falls
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.
12. Glenn Falls
Even though it is not really comparable in size to the waterfalls near Chattanooga listed above, Glenn Falls, located at Lookout Mountain, still is a great place to visit for its easy and exciting hike.
You can get to the waterfall’s upper pool through a half-mile hike on the Glenn Falls Trail while admiring cliffs and boulders along your way.
A day full of rainfall will ensure a magnificent flow of the falls (or you can just visit in spring)! Nearby on Sanders Road, you will find a picnic area, along with a bathhouse.
What are your favorite waterfalls near Chattanooga? Let us know your favorite Chattanooga waterfalls in the comments (including the ones we missed)! Thanks!
More Tennessee Travel Resources
- Best day hikes near Chattanooga
- Places to visit in Tennessee
- Weekend trips from Nashville
- Campgrounds near Nashville
- Things to do in Bristol TN
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Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she has lived all around the world (including Germany, Finland, Norway, etc) but her heart always finds its way back to Virginia. This blog is to help encourage travelers to explore the great state of VA… and its wonderful neighbors! Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s Travel, the New York Times, and more. She has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries… and wholeheartedly believes that Brunswick Stew is probably the greatest food to ever exist.