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.
Distance: 1 mile RT
Elevation gain: 266 ft
Time: 1-2 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, ON leash
Kid friendly? Yes
None, Tennessee does not charge to visit their state parks
Entrance sign to the park.
Using the park map, drive to the Fall Creek Falls Overlook. Walk about 100 yards to the overlook.
During Thanksgiving, the water level was pretty low but viewing this waterfall was still epic.
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!
To get to the base of the waterfall, find the large dirt steps to the West.
You’ll hike down a staircase, then the trail will follow this wooden railing to the base. You will turn down one switchback.
The trail down is rocky, but most people do fine on the trail. If you have bad knees you may find it more difficult.
The trail then goes underneath this open “cave”.
Eventually you’ll reach the end of the trail. From here, it’s fun to explore by hiking all around the rocks.
Can you spot my mom in blue? This shows how big the gorge walls are.
It’s a great view from the base!
My momma! No resemblance at all, right? 😉
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.
Penny Adams Photography got this amazing shot of what the actual Buzzard’s Roost looks like from afar.
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.