Warm weather calls for setting out in nature on a hiking adventure. If you want some solitude, to be awed by natural magnitude, hike through these Tennessee areas for stunning waterfalls.
Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park is not only filled with an extensive history and artifacts from the Native Americans 1,500-2,000 years ago, but it's also home to these waterfalls. The abundance of hiking trails wind through unparalleled scenery and even the original Old Stone Fort entrance where you can see the sunrise during the summer. The Enclosure Trail, rated easy to moderate, is accessed behind the stone museum building. There are 12 interpretive signs to help explain the enclosure site along the way. The loop trail provides views of Steps Falls, Blue Hole Falls and Big Falls as well as remnants of an old paper mill foundation. Be especially careful by the cliff area.
Piney Falls is an 818-acre natural area in Rhea County with beautiful views of the deep gorges, forests, creeks and waterfalls of the Cumberland Plateau. Piney Falls is also recognized as a National Natural Landmark, one of 14 National Natural Landmarks in Tennessee. Little Piney Creek plunges 80 feet over Upper Piney Falls into a pool below and then drops another 40 feet over Lower Piney Falls. At Upper Piney Falls, a concave ledge circles behind and around the falls where you can follow a trail for views of the gorge below.
The 43-acre natural area is home to bluffs, dense forests and the 110 ft. Ozone Falls which plunge deep into a rocky pool then reemerges several feet downstream. There's a rock house behind the falls that was created by erosion and was also filmed for scenes from "The Jungle Book."
Hike along the Downstream Trail or the Upstream Trail to get a look at Twin Falls at Rock Island State Park. The trail departs from the Twin Falls Overlook and continues along a very steep bluff bordering the river. You can see various steeps as well as Blue Hole, Twin Falls, Little Falls and many rock formations. If you want to swim at Rock Island State Park, be sure to check out Tennessee State Parks' swimming areas, including a natural sand beach located on the headwaters of beautiful Center Hill Lake.
The 30-foot waterfall in the Stinging Fork gorge cascades dramatically as a creek flows over the falls, slips and tumbles over the cascades below the falls. A view of the gorge is accessible for ample photo ops.