Walled in by the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains to the east and the Cumberland Plateau to the west, East Tennessee is a sheer spectacle of waterfalls.
Uncountable mountain streams, sometimes mere rivulets rolling over moss-backed stones thousands of feet up, begin to search for a path down the mountainsides; soon combining with one another to form branches and streams, surging to a torrent that is always seeking out the easiest course to the rivers in the valleys below.
(Abrams Falls, Blount County, Tennessee)
And then it happens.
A sheer rock outcropping or a long, smooth slide and all that water has nowhere else to go but over the edge, cascading magnificently into the pool below.
A waterfall's allure is a natural fact.
People have gravitated toward them as long as anyone can remember. Perhaps it's the air-conditioning-like coolness they provide on a hot, humid summer day. Or maybe it's the way in the cold grip of winter a waterfall, literally frozen in time and place, becomes a stalactite chandelier clinging to the rocky face.
(Upper Piney Falls, credit: Chuck Sutherland)
Most of the region's waterfalls require an overland hike to reach them, such as the 1.6 mile loop trail to Upper Piney Falls located near Grandview, or the 2.3 mile roundtrip to Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
(Laurel Falls, credit: Chuck Sutherland)
Some, however, require no hike at all.
(Bald River Falls, credit: Chuck Sutherland)
You can drive right up to Bald River Falls located near Tellico Plains in the Cherokee National Forest.
(Baby Falls, credit: Chuck Sutherland)
While you're there, be sure and pay a visit to nearby Baby Falls also located on the Bald River.
Unlike the High Falls at Rock City, Ruby Falls can't be found in the daylight, because it's underground. High up on the summit of Lookout Mountain, these falls have long been some of Chattanooga's most popular attractions.
(Ruby Falls, Chattanooga)
Whether you head down the highway, up the hollow, through the woods or over the mountain, the waterfalls of East Tennessee are flowing.
How will you get there?