It's time to take that much needed time off to escape, relax and beat the heat. Tennessee offers some of the best waterfalls (and swimming holes) in the country. Some will take some strenuous hiking to get to, while others are a light hike away. While visiting, make sure you remain hydrated and stay on paths properly marked by Tennessee's official state parks and wildlife management teams.
The Cumberland Plateau has some of the most beautiful falls for you to explore. Take your camera to capture them and nearby wildlife for your vacation memories.
Ozone Falls - Rockwood
Ozone Falls takes a 100-foot plunge through eastern hemlocks, white pines, magnolias and rosebay rhododendrons at Ozone Falls State Natural Area on the eastern edge of the Crab Orchard Mountains on the Cumberland Plateau about four miles from the Crab Orchard Exit off I-40.
Northrup Falls - Jamestown
Grab your waterproof boots or sneakers for wading and a moderate hike to the base of the falls. Other hikers have deemed this trail to be relatively easy. Pack your camera and plenty of water for a great day in Tennessee's wilderness.
Fall Creek Falls - Spencer
Fall Creeks Falls State Park is the home of six waterfalls, including Tennessee's tallest waterfall, the magnificent 256-foot Fall Creek Falls. Food and lodging are offered at the park, and there are many more waterfalls within an hour's drive.
Stinging Fork Falls - Spring City
Stinging Fork Falls is a 30-foot waterfall within a 783-acre natural area. The trail leading into the gorge ends at the bottom of the falls about a mile from the parking area.
Piney Falls - Grandview
Piney Falls, a 440-acre Tennessee State Natural Area, contains old growth forest with trees reaching 40 inches in diameter and 100 feet in height. This is one of 13 National Natural Landmarks found in Tennessee. It's a 2.5-mile round trip hike to see Little Piney Creek plunge 80 feet at Upper Piney Falls into the pool below.
Virgin Falls - Sparta
The going gets tougher on the way to the centerpiece of the 1,157-acre Virgin Falls Pocket Wilderness Area. Virgin Falls drops over a 110-foot high cliff before disappearing into another cave at the bottom of the sink. The strenuous 8-mile round trip hike to the falls will take most of a day.
Foster Falls - Sequatchie
Foster Falls is the easiest of the waterfalls in South Cumberland State Park to visit. The hike will take you to the top of the falls. From there a trail will take you down into the gorge, over the creek on a suspension bridge, to the base of the falls for a beautiful view. Situated near Foster Falls, the Campground has 26 campsites, including a wheelchair-accessible site.