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Tennessee Waterfalls

There are a large number of beautiful waterfalls in the eastern half of Tennessee.  I finally made it out to the Cumberland Plateau area and got a bunch of waterfalls.  There are some truly spectacular waterfalls in the state and I've only begun to scratch the surface.

Bald River Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.32451,-84.17724 (Parking area along FSR 210)
Waterfall GPS: 35.32432,-84.17778

Bald River Falls is a spectacular waterfall on its namesake river in Monroe County.  The waterfall is located in the Cherokee National Forest, just outside Bald River Gorge Wilderness.  The waterfall is visible from the road - no hiking necessary.  A steep path leads down to the base where you can swim in the pool beneath the falls.

To visit the falls, head east out of Tellico Plains on TN-165/Cherohala Skyway.  In just under 5 miles, bear right onto River Road/Forest Service Road 210.  Follow this road for about 6 miles and the waterfall will be on the right.  There's no missing it!  There is a small parking area on the right after the falls to park.

Benton Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.15070,-84.60780 (Chilhowee Recreation Area Parking.
Waterfall GPS: 35.14117,-84.59604

Benton Falls is a beautiful waterfall on its Rock Creek in Polk County.  The waterfall is located in the Ocoee River Zone of Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to waterfall is about 3 miles round trip and easy and there is a $3 day-use fee.

To visit the falls, head east out of Cleveland on US-64 for about 16 miles.  You will drive along Parksville Lake as you enter Cherokee National Forest.  Turn left on Oswald Road/FSR 77 and drive 7.2 miles up the mountain.  Turn right into Chilhowee Recreation Area.  At the fork, bear left (don't go to the campground) and park at the day-use parking area.  There is a $3 per car fee payable at self-serve kiosks in the parking lot.

From the parking area, get on the blue-blazed Benton Falls Trail (#131) past the restrooms at Lake McCamy.  Follow this easy, well-marked trail for about 1.5 miles to Benton Falls.  The trail ends at the waterfall, though Clemmer Trail (#302) picks up past the waterfall.  I thought this was a really beautiful waterfall and well worth the easy hike.

Big Branch Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.85412,-85.28210 (Parking area on Scott's Gulf Road)
Waterfall GPS: 35.85057,-85.29948

Big Branch Falls is a 20-foot waterfall on Big Branch of Big Laurel Creek in White County.  The waterfall is located in Virgin Falls State Natural Area.  The hike to the falls is about 2.5 miles round trip and easy.  However, it's on the way to Virgin Falls, a longer and more difficult hike.

To visit the falls, head east from Sparta on US-70.  In just over 9 miles, turn right on Eastland Road and go 5.8 miles.  Turn right on Scott's Gulf Road and go 2.1 miles to the Virgin Falls State Natural Area parking on the right.

From the parking area, get on the Virgin Falls trail.  The first 1.5 miles are easy as the trail follows Big Branch downstream.  Right after rock-hopping across the creek, the waterfall will be on the left, right before the trail heads down to Big Laurel Creek.  This is the smallest and easiest waterfall to visit in the Virgin Falls area.

Big Laurel Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.85412,-85.28210 (Parking area on Scott's Gulf Road)
Waterfall GPS: 35.84378,-85.30911

Big Laurel Falls is a 40-foot waterfall on Big Laurel Creek in White County.  The waterfall is located in Virgin Falls State Natural Area.  The hike to the waterfall is about 5 miles round trip and moderate in difficulty.  However, it's on the way to Virgin Falls, a longer and more difficult hike.

To visit the falls, follow the directions to Big Branch Falls above.  Past that waterfall, continue on the trail to the cable crossing over Big Laurel Creek.  Soon the Overlook Trail splits and then the trail starts to get steep here as it follows the creek downstream.  In about 2.5 miles from the trailhead, you'll come to Big Laurel Falls.  This waterfall tumbles about 40 feet over a ledge and then flows backwards into a cave and disappears into the ground.

Blue Hole Falls (Little Fiery Gizzard Creek):

Trailhead GPS: 35.25226,-85.74750 (Grundy Forest Parking Area)
Waterfall GPS: 35.25060,-85.75026

Blue Hole Falls is a 10-foot waterfall on Little Fiery Gizzard Creek in Grundy County.  The waterfall is located in Grundy Forest State Natural Area, which is now part of South Cumberland State Park.  The hike to the falls is around a mile round trip and easy.  It is one of several waterfalls in the area; hiking to them all is about 3.5 miles total.

To visit the falls, head west from Chattanooga on I-24 for 20 miles or so.  Take exit 155 and go right on TN-28 N towards Jasper.  In about 3 miles, turn left on Mel Dixon and continue about 2 miles to US-41.  Turn right on US-41 north and drive 15 miles to Tracy City.  Turn left on Railroad Ave and go a half-mile, then turn left on 2nd and right on Fairground.  Bear left on Fiery Gizzard Road and enter Grundy Forest State Natural Area.

From the parking area, get on the Fiery Gizzard Trail east side of the parking lot.  The trail heads down to Little Fiery Gizzard Creek and follows the creek downstream.  Blue Hole Falls is about a half-mile down the trail.  It looks like a great swim hole at the base, but it was too cold when we visited.

Blue Hole Falls (Mill Creek):

Trailhead GPS: 36.43341,-82.07198 (Pull-off on Panhandle Road)
Waterfall GPS: 36.43273,-82.07213

Blue Hole Falls is a waterfall in multiple sections in Carter County.  The waterfall is located in the Holston Mountain Zone of Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to the falls is very short and easy.

To visit the falls, head north on TN-91 from Elizabethton.  In 10.1 miles from US-19E, turn left on Panhandle Road, which becomes Forest Road 202.  In 0.9 miles from the turn, there will be a large pull-off on the right to park.  From the parking lot, an obvious path leads right and down to creek level to the waterfall.  The path to the right leads out to cliffs above the falls where the picture below was taken.  We found a total of seven sections to this waterfall is you want to spend some time exploring.

Cane Creek Cascades:

Trailhead GPS: 35.66231,-85.34973 (Betty Dunn Nature Center Parking Lot)
Waterfall GPS: 35.66232,-85.35096

Cane Creek Cascades is a 45-foot waterfall on Cane Creek in Van Buren County, just upstream of Cane Creek Falls.  The waterfall is located in Fall Creek Falls State Park.  The hike to falls is very short and easy.

To visit the falls, head west on TN-30 from Pikeville for 12 miles.  Turn left on TN-284 west and go 3 miles to enter Fall Creek Falls State Park.  The Betty Dunn Nature Center and parking lot will be on the right.  Walk behind the nature center and follow a short trail down to the base of the falls.

Cane Creek Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.66231,-85.34973 (Betty Dunn Nature Center Parking Lot)
Waterfall GPS: 35.66309,-85.35013

Cane Creek Falls is an 85-foot free-falling waterfall on Cane Creek in Van Buren County.  The waterfall is located in Fall Creek Falls State Park.  The hike to the falls is variable depending whether you go to the overlook or the base. The Cable Trail to the base was closed when we visited.

To visit the falls, follow the directions to Cane Creek Cascades above.  The overlook where I got the picture below is right next to the Betty Dunn Nature.  We tried to go to the base, but the Cable Trail was closed.  We also went to the next overlook past the Cable Trail, but the view was rather poor.  At least we got to see a double rainbow from the first overlook.

Coon Creek Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.66727,-85.35752 (Fall Creek Falls Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 35.66607,-85.35611

Coon Creek Falls is a 250-foot waterfall on its namesake creek in Van Buren County.  The waterfall is located in Fall Creek Falls State Park.  To view the waterfall from the overlook is a very short and easy walk.  It's about a mile round trip to the base and difficult.

To visit the falls, head west on TN-30 from Pikeville for 12 miles.  Turn left on TN-284 west and go 3 miles to enter Fall Creek Falls State Park.  Once in the park, turn left on Village Camp Road and drive a mile, then turn right on Lakeside Road.  You'll pass the lake and in 1.7 miles, turn right on Scenic Loop Road.  Go a 1.6 miles to the parking lot for Fall Creek Falls.

From the parking lot, walk a couple hundred feet straight ahead to the overlook, where you can see Fall Creek Falls (left) and Coon Creek Falls (right) plunging down 250 feet.


To get to the base, go left from the overlook and follow the Base of Falls Trail.  It's steep but a couple switchbacks lessen the slope as you head down into the gorge.  Once in the gorge, the trail follows Fall Creek upstream past some huge cliffs to the base pool at the base of the waterfalls.

Coon Den Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 36.25900,-82.11508 (Pull-off on Dennis Cove Road)
Waterfall GPS: 36.25334,-82.11906

Coon Den Falls is a narrow 80-foot waterfall on Coon Den Branch in Carter County.  The waterfall is located in the Watauga Lake Zone of Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to the waterfall is about a mile round trip and moderate due to elevation gain.

To visit the falls, head to the Laurel Fork Trailhead along US-321 in Hampton.  From Elizabethton, head south on US-19 E/US-321 for about 5 miles to Hampton.  In Hampton, turn left on US-321 south and go 0.8 miles and turn right on Dennis Cove Road.  Follow this road for 4.5 miles to a small pull-off on the right.  It's 0.6 miles past the Appalachian Trail parking and 0.4 miles before Dennis Dove Campground.  The pull-off is small, just enough room for one car, and very easy to miss.  It's immediately past some houses.

From the trailhead, get on the blue-blazed Coon Den Falls Trail (#37).  The trail heads up, passing the houses on the left and picks up Coon Den Branch.  The trail is all uphill, gaining almost 500 feet in half a mile.  Fortunately, it's quite short.  You'll pass a nice cascade.along Coon Den Branch and come to an intersection.  Right goes to the Appalachian Trail.  Go left to the waterfall.  The waterfalls tumbles down a tall cliff flowing through a narrow crack.  This is a low-flow stream, so this waterfall is best viewed after a good rain.

Cummins Falls

Trailhead GPS: 36.25297,-85.56576 (Cummins Falls State Park Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 36.24889,-85.57017

Cummins Falls is a 75-foot waterfall on Blackburn Fork in Jackson County.  The waterfall is located in Cummins Falls State Park.  It's less than a mile round trip hike to the overlook and easy, but more difficult to get to the base.

To visit the falls, head west on TN-290 from TN-135 near Tennessee Tech University.  Go 6.6 miles and turn right on Cummins Mill Road.  Drive 2.9 miles and turn left on Blackburn Fork Road.  In about 0.2 miles, turn left into Cummins Falls State Park.

At the end of the parking lot, the Falls Overlook Trail leads 0.4 miles to an overlook with the view below.  We tried to go down into the gorge, but the water level was too high to cross.

Falls Branch Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.34679,-84.06099 (West Rattlesnake Rock Parking Area)
Waterfall GPS: 35.35537,-84.06467

Falls Branch Falls is a 70-foot waterfall on its namesake creek in Monroe County.  The waterfall is located in the Citico Creek Wilderness area in Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to the falls is about 3 miles round trip and moderately difficult.

To visit the falls, head east out of Tellico Plains on TN-165/Cherohala Skyway.  In just under 22 miles, turn left into the West Rattlesnake Rock Trailhead parking.

The trailhead is at the northwestern corner of the parking lot.  The trail goes a short ways into Citico Creek Wilderness and splits.  Turn left to get on Falls Branch Falls Trail (#87); Jeffrey Hell Trail (#196) goes right.  The trail is easy for about the first mile, running roughly parallel to the Skyway.  In about a mile, it gets steep as it heads down to Falls Branch.  Cross the creek and then follow the creek upstream on the opposite side to a viewing point for the waterfall.

The view from here is partially obscured by trees.  For a better view, you'll have to climb up the steep part on the left side to get to the base of the falls.


Fall Creek Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.66727,-85.35752 (Fall Creek Falls Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 35.66611,-85.35561

Fall Creek Falls is a 256-foot waterfall on its namesake creek in Van Buren County.  The waterfall is located in Fall Creek Falls State Park.  This is the highest free-falling waterfall in the eastern US.  To view the waterfall from the overlook is a very short and easy walk.  It's about a mile round trip to the base and difficult.

To visit the falls, head west on TN-30 from Pikeville for 12 miles.  Turn left on TN-284 west and go 3 miles to enter Fall Creek Falls State Park.  Once in the park, turn left on Village Camp Road and drive a mile, then turn right on Lakeside Road.  You'll pass the lake and in 1.7 miles, turn right on Scenic Loop Road.  Go a 1.6 miles to the parking lot for Fall Creek Falls.

From the parking lot, walk a couple hundred feet straight ahead to the overlook, where you can see Fall Creek Falls (left) and Coon Creek Falls (right) plunging down 250 feet.


To get to the base, go left from the overlook and follow the Base of Falls Trail.  It's steep but a couple switchbacks lessen the slope as you head down into the gorge.  Once in the gorge, the trail follows Fall Creek upstream past some huge cliffs to the base pool at the base of the waterfalls.

Falling Water Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.18783,-85.28210 (Falling Water Falls Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 35.18973,-85.28252

Falling Water Falls is a 110-foot waterfall on Little Falling Water Creek in Hamilton County.  The waterfall is located in Falling Water Falls State Natural Area.  The hike to the falls is only a half-mile, but you can't get a very good view.

To visit the falls, head north from Chattanooga on US-27 for about 2.5 miles.  Take the Signal Mountain Road exit and go right for about 2 miles.  At the traffic circle, go straight to get on W Street and go about 3.5 miles.  Make a sharp right onto E Brow Street and go 1.5 miles, then turn left on Lake Ave and right on Ivory Ave.  Go a total of about 2 miles; the road will bear left and become Falling Water Trail.  There is a parking area on the right where the road turns left again.

From the parking area, the trail makes a quarter-mile loop to the top of the waterfall.  You can't really see much from here.  I crossed the creek above the falls and climbed out onto a cliff to get the picture below.  The base of the falls can be accessed from Levi Road, but there's no parking.  I never figured out how to get to the base.

Foster Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.18223,-85.67348 (Foster Falls Parking Area)
Waterfall GPS: 35.18195,-85.67606

Foster Falls is a 60-foot waterfall on Little Gizzard Creek in Marion County.  The waterfall is located Foster Falls Small Wildlife Area, a TVA property that is now part of South Cumberland State Park.  The hike to the overlook is under a half-mile round-trip and easy; the hike to the base is only a little further, but it's very steep to get down.

To visit the falls, head west from Chattanooga on I-24 for 20 miles or so.  Take exit 155 and go right on TN-28 N towards Jasper.  In about 3 miles, turn left on Mel Dixon and continue about 2 miles to US-41.  Turn right on US-41 north and drive 7.5 miles.  Turn left on Foster Falls Road and continue to the parking area at the end.  A short trail lead to an overlook for the falls.  Turn right on Climbers Access Loop to head steeply down into the gorge at the base of the falls.

Great Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.80396,-85.62957 (Great Falls Parking area in Rock Island State Park)
Waterfall GPS: 35.80480,-85.63024

Great Falls is a 30-foot river-wide waterfall on Caney Fork in Warren & White Counties.  The waterfall is located in Rock Island State Park.  The waterfall is visible from an overlook, but a steep climb into the gorge is needed to see it from the base.  The trail was closed when we visited, so we could only see it from the overlook.  This waterfall was "created" when Caney Fork River was dammed.  Before the dam, the river level was higher and the waterfall was submerged.

To visit the falls, head west from Sparta on US-70S and in 2 miles, bear left to stay on US-70S W.  Drive 11 more miles to Rock Island.  Turn right on TN-136 N and in 1.2 miles, turn left on TN-287 S.  Drive 1.3 miles and bear right to the Great Falls parking area at Rock Island State Park.  The overlook is at the end of the parking lot as well as the trail going down into the gorge, but it was closed when we visited.

Hanes Hole Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.25226,-85.74750 (Grundy Forest Parking Area)
Waterfall GPS: 35.25170,-85.75551

Hanes Hole Falls is a 10-foot waterfall on Big Fiery Gizzard Creek in Grundy County.  The waterfall is located in Grundy Forest State Natural Area, which is now part of South Cumberland State Park.  The hike to the falls is around 2 mile total and moderate.  It is one of several waterfalls in the area; hiking to them all is about 3.5 miles total.

To visit the falls, head west from Chattanooga on I-24 for 20 miles or so.  Take exit 155 and go right on TN-28 N towards Jasper.  In about 3 miles, turn left on Mel Dixon and continue about 2 miles to US-41.  Turn right on US-41 north and drive 15 miles to Tracy City.  Turn left on Railroad Ave and go a half-mile, then turn left on 2nd and right on Fairground.  Bear left on Fiery Gizzard Road and enter Grundy Forest State Natural Area.

From the parking area, get on the Fiery Gizzard Trail east side of the parking lot.  The trail heads down to Little Fiery Gizzard Creek and follows the creek downstream.  You'll pass Blue Hole Falls and Fiery Gizzard Trail splits and crosses the creek.  Don't cross; stay on Grundy Forest Day Loop and you're now following Big Fiery Gizzard Creek upstream.  Hanes Hole Falls is less than a half mile from the bridge.

Hen Wallow Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.75732,-83.20914 (Cosby Day-Use Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 35.76003,-83.23808

Hen Wallow Falls is a 50-foot waterfall on Lower Falling Branch of Hen Wallow Creek in Cocke County.  The waterfall is located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The hike to the waterfall is about 4.5 miles round trip and moderate.

To visit the falls, head north on US-321 from Gatlinburg for about 18 miles.  Turn right on TN-32 and drive 1.2 miles to the Cosby entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Turn right on Cosby Entrance Road and go 2 miles to the day-use parking area on the left.

From the parking area, walk back down the entrance road a short ways to the trailhead for Gabes Mountain Trail.  Follow this trail on a gradual ascent for about 2 miles to a signed intersection.  Go right to head down to the base of Hen Wallow Falls.  The water level was low when I visited in the fall; it would be best to visit after a good rain.

Jones Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 36.19737,-81.97002 (end of Elk River Road)
Waterfall GPS: 36.20297,-81.98177

Jones Falls is a 100-foot waterfall on Jones Branch, a tributary of Elk River, in Carter County.  The waterfall is located in the Watauga Lake Zone of Cherokee National Forest.  There are several ways to get here, but the shortest is to come in from North Carolina for a roughly 3 mile round trip hike.

You can hike to this waterfall from the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee, but the shortest way is to come from Elk Falls in North Carolina.  To visit the falls, take US-19E south from Elizabethton into Elk Park, NC right after crossing the state line.  Turn left on Little Elk Road, make an immediate left onto Old Mill Road and then an immediate right on Elk River Road.  Follow Elk River Road about 4 miles to the end at a parking area for the waterfall.  The road changes to gravel when it enters the National Forest.

From the parking area, Big Falls Trail, leading to Elk Falls leads straight ahead.  Instead, hike the old gated road.  In under a half-mile the trail drops down to Elk River at a ford.  Don't cross the river, but take the path that leads through an open field and to a campsite.  Immediately past the campsite, cross the creek (which is Jones Branch) and climb up to the Appalachian Trail.  Turn left to go southbound.  In three-quarters of a mile, reach a split and turn left to head towards Jones Falls.  The trail comes out at the base; when we visited, the sun was shining right on the waterfall, so couldn't get a good picture.  We found a faint path that climbs steeply up to the main drop for a profile view- I thought the view from here was better than the base.

Laurel Fork Falls

Trailhead GPS: 36.28566,-82.15216 (Parking Area on US-321)
Waterfall GPS: 36.27261,-82.13474

Laurel Fork Falls, also called just Laurel Falls, is a beautiful 60-foot waterfall on its namesake creek in Carter County.  The waterfall is located in the Pond Mountain Wilderness in Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to the waterfall is about 5 miles round trip and moderate in difficulty.

To visit the falls, head to the Laurel Fork Trailhead along US-321 in Hampton.  From Elizabethton, head south on US-19 E/US-321 for about 5 miles to Hampton.  In Hampton, turn left on US-321 south and go 1.3 miles to the Laurel Fork Trailhead on the right.

The hike to the falls begins past the parking lot on the blue-blazed Blueline Trail (#501).  The trail heads up a ridge over Laurel Fork and enters Pond Mountain Wilderness.  The trail runs though a scenic gorge area and ends in about a mile at the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (#1).  Go straight/right and continue to follow the creek upstream.  There's some moderate up and down and but nothing too tough.  And the hike is very scenic.  In about 1.5 miles, you'll reach the beautiful Laurel Fork Falls.

Meigs Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.66939,-83.67606 (Pull-off on Little River Road)
Waterfall GPS: 35.66900,-83.67516

Meigs Falls is a waterfall on its namesake creek in Blount County.  The waterfall is located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The waterfall is roadside so no hiking required to view this one.

To visit the falls from Gatlinburg, take US-441 south and just past the Sugarlands Visitor Center, turn right on Fighting Creek Gap Road, which becomes Little River Gorge Road past Elkmont.  In a total of 12.7 miles (7.8 miles past Elkmont), look for a pull-off on left side of the road.  If coming from Townsend, take US-321 north for about 3.5 miles and bear left onto Little River Gorge Road.  The pull-off will be on the right in 4.7 miles.  Meigs Creek flows into Little River right at this pull-off; the waterfall is visible a short ways upstream.

Ozone Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.88147,-84.81023 (Parking area off US-70)
Waterfall GPS: 35.88041,-84.80997

Ozone Falls is a beautiful 110-foot waterfall on Fall Creek in Cumberland County.  The waterfall is located in Ozone Falls State Natural Area near Crab Orchard.  The hike to the falls is less than a mile round trip and easy.

To visit the falls, head towards Crab Orchard on I-40.  Crab Orchard is about 40 miles east of Crossville or 30 miles west of Knoxville.  In Crab Orchard, take exit 329 and turn right onto US-70 east.  Follow US-70 east for 4.5 miles to the Ozone Falls parking area on the right.

From the parking area, the short trail leads to the top of the waterfall then heads back towards the road.  The path then heads down into the gorge, passing the cliffs and Gamblers' Den, a cave where that once housed illicit gambling.  Past here, you can see the waterfall or scramble down to creek level to view it from the base.

Pine Ridge Falls

Trailhead GPS: 36.12525,-82.53780 (Parking along Clark Creek Road/NFSR-25)
Waterfall GPS: 36.12002,-82.53727

Pine Ridge Falls is a 20-foot waterfall on Devil Fork in Unicoi County.  The waterfall is located in the Bald Mountain Zone of Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to the falls is about a mile round trip and easy.

To visit the falls, head north on US-321 from Greeneville for about 5 miles, then turn right on TN-107 east.  Drive 12.8 miles and turn right on Clarks Creek Road, which becomes Forest Service Road 25.  Follow this road for about 3.5 miles to a small parking area on the right.

From the parking area, pick up the Longarm Branch Trail across the road.  Follow this trail for about a quarter-mile to the confluence of Devil Fork and Longarm Branch.  After crossing the creek, follow the unmarked trail to the left to continue following Devil Fork upstream.  Longarm Branch Trail bears right and follows its namesake upstream.  Shortly after the split, the unofficial trail ends at Pine Ridge Falls.

Piney Creek Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.67228,-85.38225 (Piney Creek Falls Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 35.67304,-85.38400

Piney Creek Falls is a 75-foot waterfall on its namesake creek in Van Buren County.  The waterfall is located in Fall Creek Falls State Park.  The hike to the overlook to view this waterfall is less than a quarter-mile and easy.

To visit the falls, head west on TN-30 from Pikeville for 12 miles.  Turn left on TN-284 west and go 3 miles to enter Fall Creek Falls State Park.  Once in the park, turn left on Village Camp Road and drive a mile, then turn right on Lakeside Road.  You'll pass the lake and in 1.7 miles, turn right on Scenic Loop Road.  Go a 0.6 miles and bear left  going another 0.6 miles to the parking lot for Piney Creek Falls.  From the parking lot, it's only a short hike to the overlook, though the view of the waterfall isn't very good.

Piney Lower Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.72752,-84.85582 (Parking on Fire Tower Road)
Waterfall GPS: 35.72877,-84.86543

Lower Piney Falls is a 40-foot waterfall on Little Piney Creek in Rhea County.  The waterfall is located in Piney Falls State Natural Area.  The hike to the waterfall is about 2 miles round trip, including Upper Piney Falls, and moderate in difficulty.  Unfortunately, there's no way to get to the base for a good view of this one.

To visit the falls, head north on TN-68 from Spring City.  Go north for about 4 miles, climbing up the Cumberland escarpment.  In the small community of Grandview, turn left on Fire Tower Road.  Drive 1.5 miles to a parking area on the right.

From the parking area, follow the trail into the natural area.  In about 0.6 miles, there will be a split.  Turn left to head down towards the creek.  At another split, go left to take a short spur trail to the top of the falls.  I was unable to find a way to get to the base.

Piney Upper Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.72752,-84.85582 (Parking on Fire Tower Road)
Waterfall GPS: 35.73116,-84.86360

Upper Piney Falls is a gorgeous 80-foot waterfall on Little Piney Creek in Rhea County.  The waterfall is loctaed in Piney Falls State Natural Area.  The hike to the waterfall is about 2 miles round trip, including Lower Piney Falls, and moderate in difficulty.

To visit the falls, follow the directions to Lower Piney Falls above.  At the first intersection, going right will lead to the top of Upper Piney Falls.  Normally, you can rock-hop the creek above the falls and then drop down to creek level on the other side.  The water was too high so we went the other way.  At the first intersection, go left and at the second intersection, go right.  This trail follows Little Piney Creek upstream from the lower falls, passing some rock cliffs before reaching the base of Upper Piney Falls.

Rainbow Falls (Rock Creek):

Trailhead GPS: 35.11427,-84.57877 (Clemmer Trailhead Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 35.13020,-84.59266

Rainbow Falls is a 30-foot waterfall in two sections on Rock Creek in Polk County.  The waterfall is located in the Rock Creek Gorge Scenic Area in Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to waterfall is about 3.2 miles round trip and moderate.

To visit the falls, head east out of Cleveland on US-64 for about 18 miles.  You will drive along Parksville Lake as you enter Cherokee National Forest.  Turn left on TN-30 and then an immediate left into the gravel parking area for Rock Creek Gorge Scenic Area.  This is the trailhead for Clemmer Trail (#302) and Scenic Spur Trail (#78).

From the parking area, hike along the Scenic Spur Trail (#78) for about 1.6 miles to the waterfall.  It's a mostly easy trail, but there are a couple creek crossings towards the end.  I was able to rock-hop one and had to wade the other.  I found out later that there is also another larger waterfall just upstream of this one.

Rock Creek Lower Falls

Trailhead GPS: 36.13705,-82.35166 (Rock Creek Recreation Area Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 36.12802,-82.32561

Lower Rock Creek Falls is waterfall on its namesake creek in Unicoi County.  The waterfall is located in the Unaka Mountains Wilderness in Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to the falls is about 3 miles round trip and moderate in difficulty.

To visit the falls, head east on TN-395 for about 3 miles from Erwin.  Turn left into Rock Creek Recreation Area and proceed to the parking for day hiking.  Note that there is a day-use fee at this area, payable at self-serve kiosks.  Hike through the campground to the Rock Creek Falls Trail.  This trail follows Rock Creek upstream into Unaka Mountains Wilderness.  The lower waterfall is about a little over a mile from the start of the trail.

Rock Creek Falls

Trailhead GPS: 36.13705,-82.35166 (Rock Creek Recreation Area Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 36.12692,-82.32282

Rock Creek Falls is a scenic two-tiered waterfall on its namesake creek in Unicoi County.  The waterfall is located in the Unaka Mountains Wilderness in Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to the falls is about 3 miles round trip and moderate in difficulty.

To visit the falls, follow the directions to the lower waterfall above.  Rock Creek Falls is about another quarter-mile past the lower waterfall.

Rockhouse Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.66231,-85.34973 (Betty Dunn Nature Center Parking Lot)
Waterfall GPS: 35.66300,-85.34952

Rockhouse Falls is a 125-foot free-falling waterfall on Rockhouse Creek in Van Buren County.  The waterfall is located in Fall Creek Falls State Park.  The hike to the falls is variable depending whether you go to the overlook or the base. The Cable Trail to the base was closed when we visited.

To visit the falls, head west on TN-30 from Pikeville for 12 miles.  Turn left on TN-284 west and go 3 miles to enter Fall Creek Falls State Park.  The Betty Dunn Nature Center and parking lot will be on the right.  The overlook where I got the picture below is right next to the Betty Dunn Nature.  We tried to go to the base, but the Cable Trail was closed.

Ruby Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.01879,-85.33881 (Ruby Falls Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 35.01885,-85.33929

Ruby Falls is a 145-foot underground waterfall in Hamilton County.  The waterfall is located inside Lookout Mountain in Ruby Falls Cave, a privately-owned attraction.  There is a fee to see this waterfall.

To visit the falls, take exit 175 on I-24 in Chattanooga.  Turn left on Browns Ferry Road and go 0.6 miles to US-11.  Turn left on US-11 north and drive 1.8 miles.  Turn right on TN-148 south and go 0.7 miles to Ruby Falls on the right.  Enter and pay admission.  The elevator takes visitors down to the cave and tour guides take you through the cave to the waterfall.

School Branch Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.25226,-85.74750 (Grundy Forest Parking Area)
Waterfall GPS: 35.25184,-85.74884

School Branch Falls is a 20-foot waterfall on School Branch, a tributary of Little Fiery Gizzard Creek, in Grundy County.  The waterfall is located in Grundy Forest State Natural Area, which is now part of South Cumberland State Park.  The hike to the falls is around a very short and easy.  It is one of several waterfalls in the area; hiking to them all is about 3.5 miles total.

To visit the falls, head west from Chattanooga on I-24 for 20 miles or so.  Take exit 155 and go right on TN-28 N towards Jasper.  In about 3 miles, turn left on Mel Dixon and continue about 2 miles to US-41.  Turn right on US-41 north and drive 15 miles to Tracy City.  Turn left on Railroad Ave and go a half-mile, then turn left on 2nd and right on Fairground.  Bear left on Fiery Gizzard Road and enter Grundy Forest State Natural Area.

From the parking area, get on the Grundy Forest Day Loop Trail at the west end of the parking lot.  In about a tenth of a mile, the trail crosses above School Branch Falls on a small bridge.  You can't see much from here and it's a difficult scramble down to see it from the base.

Sheep Cave Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.85412,-85.28210 (Parking area on Scott's Gulf Road)
Waterfall GPS: 35.84194,-85.32510

Sheep Cave Falls is a 90-foot waterfall on a tributary of Little Laurel Creek in White County.  The waterfall is located in Virgin Falls State Natural Area.  The hike to the waterfall is about 9 miles round trip and difficult and includes several other waterfalls.

To visit the falls, head east from Sparta on US-70.  In just over 9 miles, turn right on Eastland Road and go 5.8 miles.  Turn right on Scott's Gulf Road and go 2.1 miles to the Virgin Falls State Natural Area parking on the right.

From the parking area, get on the Virgin Falls trail.  You'll pass Big Branch Falls, the cable crossing over Big Laurel Creek, and Big Laurel Falls.  In another mile past Big Laurel Falls, come to the intersection with Loop Trail.  Go right here and in less than a half-mile, come to Sheep Cave Falls.  The waterfall falls about 90 feet into a sinkhole but trees prevent good views of the entire waterfall.  The upper section coming out of Sheep Cave is more easily visible.

Sill Branch Falls

Trailhead GPS: 36.12822,-82.53430 (Parking along Clark Creek Road/NFSR-25)
Waterfall GPS: 36.12424,-82.52698

Sill Branch Falls is a 25-foot waterfall on North Fork Sill Branch in Unicoi County.  The waterfall is located in the Bald Mountain Zone of Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to the falls is about a mile round trip and easy.

To visit the falls, head north on US-321 from Greeneville for about 5 miles, then turn right on TN-107 east.  Drive 12.8 miles and turn right on Clarks Creek Road, which becomes Forest Service Road 25.  Follow this road for about 3.2 miles to a small parking area on the right.

From the parking area, pick up the Sill Branch North Trail (#115) on the other side of the road.  This trail follows Sill Branch upstream for less than a half-mile to the confluence of the North and South Forks.  Sill Branch South Trail (#116) splits to the right from here.  Continue straight, now following North Fork Sill Branch upstream for a short distance to the waterfall.

Stinging Fork Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.71269,-84.92851 (Parking on Shut In Gap Road)
Waterfall GPS: 35.72122,-84.92705

Stinging Fork Falls is a beautiful 30-foot waterfall on Stinging Fork in Rhea County.  The waterfall is located in Stinging Fork Falls State Natural Area.  The hike to the falls is around 2 miles round trip and moderate in difficulty.

To visit the falls, head north on TN-68 from Spring City.  In just over a mile, turn left on Shut In Gap Road, before crossing the bridge over Piney River.  Follow Shut In Gap Road for 5.1 miles, heading up the Cumberland Escarpment, to the parking area on the right.

From the parking area, hike down the trail.  In under a half-mile, a spur trail to the left leads to Indian Head Point.  Go right to stay on the main trail.  Shortly past here, the trail will get steep as it heads down into the gorge.  You'll pass some cascades and then the main falls.  Continue on the trail until you reach Stinging Fork and turn left to follow the creek upstream to the base of the waterfall.  This is a really pretty waterfall with a great swim hole.

Strip Mine Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.23569,-85.23297 (Montlake Road Parking Area)
Waterfall GPS: 35.25295,-85.24069

Strip Mine Falls is a 20-foot waterfall on a tributary of North Chickamauga Creek in Hamilton County.  The waterfall is located off the Cumberland Trail in North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area.  The hike to the waterfall is about 2.5 miles round trip and moderate in difficulty.

To visit the falls, head north from Chattanooga on US-27 for about 11 miles and take the exit for TN-153 S/Dayton Pike.  Turn left on Dayton Pike and drive about 3 miles to Montlake Road.  Turn left and go 1.1 miles to the North Chickamauga State Natural Area parking on the left.  The trail begins at the end of the furthest parking area.

From the parking area, get on the Cumberland Trail following North Chickamauga Creek upstream.  In 0.1 miles, come to a fork.  You can go either way as it's a loop, but right is easier.  Left follows close to the creek and then steeply climbs up after crossing Hogskin Branch.  Right climbs more gradually along an old mining road and meets up with the other end of the loop after crossing Hogskin Branch. It's another half-mile to the waterfall on an unnamed tributary on the right.

Sycamore Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.25226,-85.74750 (Grundy Forest Parking Area)
Waterfall GPS: 35.24680,-85.75461

Sycamore Falls is a 14-foot waterfall on Big Fiery Gizzard Creek in Grundy County.  The waterfall is located in Grundy Forest State Natural Area, which is now part of South Cumberland State Park.  The hike to the falls is around 3.5 miles total and includes several other waterfalls.

To visit the falls, head west from Chattanooga on I-24 for 20 miles or so.  Take exit 155 and go right on TN-28 N towards Jasper.  In about 3 miles, turn left on Mel Dixon and continue about 2 miles to US-41.  Turn right on US-41 north and drive 15 miles to Tracy City.  Turn left on Railroad Ave and go a half-mile, then turn left on 2nd and right on Fairground.  Bear left on Fiery Gizzard Road and enter Grundy Forest State Natural Area.

From the parking area, get on the Fiery Gizzard Trail on the east side of the parking lot.  The trail heads down to Little Fiery Gizzard Creek and follows the creek downstream.  You'll pass Blue Hole Falls and Fiery Gizzard Trail splits and crosses the creek.  Cross the creek and stay on Fiery Gizzard Trail.  You'll pass Black Canyon and Chimney Rocks.  In about a half-mile, look for Sycamore Falls.  It's hard to find a good spot for a picture of this one.  On the way back, turn left after crossing the bridge to get two more waterfalls and finish up the loop.

Twin Falls (Gee Creek)

Trailhead GPS: 35.24704,-84.54036 (Parking on Gee Creek Road/FR-2013)
Waterfall GPS: 35.24655,-84.52759

Twin Falls is a small waterfall on Gee Creek in Polk County.  The waterfall is located in the Gee Creek Wilderness in Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to the falls is about 2 miles round trip and moderate.

To visit the falls, head north on I-75 from Chattanooga for around 35 miles.  Take exit 36 and turn right on TN-163 east.  Drive a little over 15 miles and turn right on US-411 south.  Immediately, turn left on Gee Creek Road.  Follow this road, which becomes Forest Road 2013, for 2.2 miles to the trailhead.

From the trailhead, follow Gee Creek Trail (#191) as it follows Gee Creek upstream and enters the wilderness area.  It's just under a mile to Twin Falls.  Along the way you'll pass some nice cascades along the creek and the remnants of an old mining operation.

Twin Falls (Rock Island)

Trailhead GPS: 35.80875,-85.63312 (Twin Falls Parking Area in Rock Island State Park)
Waterfall GPS: 35.80890,-85.63508

Twin Falls is a large cascading waterfall on a tributary of Caney Fork in Warren County.  The waterfall is located in Rock Island State Park.  It's only a short half-mile hike to view this waterfall.  The waterfall was "created" when Caney Fork River was dammed.  The dam caused the water level of Collins River to rise, flooding an underground cavern and ultimately draining through Twin Falls.

To visit the falls, head west from Sparta on US-70S and in 2 miles, bear left to stay on US-70S W.  Drive 4.7 miles and turn right on Armstrong Road.  In a quarter mile, turn left on McMinnvile Hwy and go 4.7 miles to Power House Road.  Turn right and go 2 miles to the end of the road at the Twin Falls Observation Area in Rock Island State Park.  You can see the waterfall from the parking area.  For the best views follow the Downstream Trail and climb out on the rocks.

Twisting Falls

Trailhead GPS: 36.23418,-81.97047 (Parking area off Dark Ridge Road)
Waterfall GPS: 36.23169,-81.97546

Twisting Falls, also called Compression Falls, is a beautiful waterfall on Elk River in Carter County.  The waterfall is located in the Watauga Lake Zone of Cherokee National Forest.  The hike to the waterfall is only about a mile round trip, but it's exceedingly steep.

To visit the falls, take US-321 south from Hampton for about 17 miles (heading towards North Carolina).  Turn right on Poga Road and then turn left right before the bridge to stay on Poga Road.  Go 3.5 miles and then turn right on Clawson Road.  In another half-mile, turn right on Dark Ridge Road.  Go just under a half-mile to a parking area on the right before the road changes to gravel.

From the parking area, hike down the path at the back of the parking area to an opening at some power lines.  Go down to the power lines and turn left and follow the very steep path down to Elk River.  It's short, but very steep.  Once down at river level, follow the river upstream a short ways to the base of the waterfall.  This is a popular swim hole in the summer.

Virgin Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.85412,-85.28210 (Parking area on Scott's Gulf Road)
Waterfall GPS: 35.83859,-85.33052

Virgin Falls is a spectacular 100-foot waterfall on a tributary of Piney River in White County.  The waterfall is located in Virgin Falls State Natural Area.  The hike to the waterfall is about 9 miles round trip and difficult and includes several other waterfalls.

To visit the falls, head east from Sparta on US-70.  In just over 9 miles, turn right on Eastland Road and go 5.8 miles.  Turn right on Scott's Gulf Road and go 2.1 miles to the Virgin Falls State Natural Area parking on the right.

From the parking area, get on the Virgin Falls trail.  You'll pass Big Branch Falls, the cable crossing over Big Laurel Creek, and Big Laurel Falls.  In another mile past Big Laurel Falls, come to the intersection with Loop Trail.  It's a loop so you can go either way.  Right passes Sheep Cave Falls and left goes straight to Virgin Falls.  Virgin Falls is one of the coolest waterfalls I've been to.  The water comes out of a cave, drops over 100 feet, and falls into a sinkhole to disappear underground.  A short trail leads up to the top to see the Virgin Falls Cave.

White Pine Cascade:

Trailhead GPS: 35.69004,-84.94998 (Parking on Walden Mountain Road)
Waterfall GPS: 35.68684,-84.93381

White Pine Cascades is a 20-foot waterfall on Duskin Creek in Rhea County.  The waterfall is located along the Cumberland Trail State Park.  The hike to the waterfall is about 3 miles round trip and moderate in difficulty.

To visit the falls, head north on TN-68 from Spring City.  In just over a mile, turn left on Shut In Gap Road, before crossing the bridge over Piney River.  Follow Shut In Gap Road for 6.3 miles, heading up the Cumberland Escarpment and passing Stinging Fork Falls State Natural Area.  Turn left on the gravel Forest Camp Road and go 0.4 miles to Walden Mountain Road.  Turn left and go 1.1 miles to the parking area on the right, immediately after crossing Duskin Creek on a sketchy bridge.

From the parking area, pick up the Cumberland Trail and follow Duskin Creek downstream.  There is a bridge over the creek in under a half-mile.  Continue to follow the trail on the north side of the creek for about 1.5 miles to White Pine Cascades.  There's a sign on a tree indicating the waterfall, but the trail's so close to the creek here, there's no doubt when you reach it.  The sun was shining right on it so I couldn't get a good picture, but it looked like a nice waterfall.