Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hiking at Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee

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Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
Fall Creek Falls State Park is located in between Nashville, TN and Knoxville, TN. For Thanksgiving I was visiting my parents, who now live in Tennessee, about 1 hour away from Fall Creek Falls. Since this park was so close, we couldn't pass up a visit to check out the famous Fall Creek Falls waterfall.

Fall Creek Falls State Park is Tennessee's largest and most visited state park, which encompasses 26,000 acres across the rugged Cumberland Plateau. There are several activities to participate in at this park: hiking, birding, visiting the Nature Center, camping, backpacking, visit the Golf Course, ride horses, and for the little ones, visit the playground. There is also a new zipline for the adventurous folks.

The highlight of Fall Creek Falls State Park is the waterfall. At 256 ft, it's the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi. The water is controlled by the dam, so it's almost guaranteed that the falls will be flowing. In Spring when the dam can't control the volume of water melted by snow, the creek is gushing with water, and can sometimes create a double waterfall, split by trees above. The best time to take photos here is in the afternoon light, since the waterfall is south facing. This is an easy waterfall to view, as you can walk about 100 yards from the parking lot to the overlook. To really get a unique view, you can hike down to the base of the falls. Keep reading to view the route to the base.

If you are traveling from Knoxville, TN use this map, and if you are traveling from Nashville, TN, use this map.

Distance: 1 mile RT
Elevation gain: 266 ft
Time: 1-2 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, ON leash
Kid friendly? Yes
Fees/Permits? 
None, Tennessee does not charge to visit their state parks
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
 Entrance sign to the park.
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
 Using the park map, drive to the Fall Creek Falls Overlook. Walk about 100 yards to the overlook.
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
 During Thanksgiving, the water level was pretty low but viewing this waterfall was still epic.
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
This photo is from Waterfall Picture Guide, and shows how high the water level can be, and where the second (smaller) waterfall will sometimes appear. So beautiful!
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
 To get to the base of the waterfall, find the large dirt steps to the West.
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
You'll hike down a staircase, then the trail will follow this wooden railing to the base. You will turn down one switchback.
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
 The trail down is rocky, but most people do fine on the trail. If you have bad knees you may find it more difficult.
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
 The trail then goes underneath this open "cave".
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
 Eventually you'll reach the end of the trail. From here, it's fun to explore by hiking all around the rocks.
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
 Can you spot my mom in blue? This shows how big the gorge walls are.
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
It's a great view from the base!
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
My momma! No resemblance at all, right? ;)
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
After hiking to the falls, we drove over to the Buzzard's Roost overlook. You can also hike down about 50 feet to the actual perch. I felt like this provided for a better view of the gorge.
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
Penny Adams Photography got this amazing shot of what the actual Buzzard's Roost looks like from afar.
Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
Our last stop in the park was the Cane Creek Suspension Bridge, which is 150 ft long and 20 ft above Cane Creek. The bridge connects to the trail to Fall Creek Falls. To get here, all you need to do is follow the signed path from the Cane Creek Cascade Overlook parking area. It should take you less than 10 minutes to reach this bridge.


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Hiking at Falls Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee , Best Waterfalls on the East Coast
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3 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous hike:) Two beautiful women:) Where was Charlie for the holiday?

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    1. Thank you! Charlie was home with Ian (my bf) the whole week. Charlie was able to get two hikes in with some of his friends as well. He had a great holiday without me! However, Ian did let me know that Charlie would just sit and look at the front door waiting for me to come home from work LOL. Such a sweet boy :) -Alicia

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    2. I thought that's where Charlie was staying:) Poor boy really missed you.

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