Hidden Gems: Tennessee's Waterfalls

Day drives and escapes show off Tennessee's unmathced beauty

Tennessee may be a landlocked state, but that doesn’t mean it’s been neglected by Mother Nature. The natural rolling hills, plateaus and mountainous areas, combined with an abundance of above and below ground waterways, is the the perfect recipe for some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the county. There are several waterfalls in Tennessee, many around Gallatin within a few hours drive. A vast majority of waterfalls are small or private property, but more than 80 are in Tennessee State Parks! During summer months, you may even find waterfalls atop swimming holes and soaking pools. During the colder months, you may find some amazing waterfall ice sculptures. Here’s a list of a few of our amazing and mesmerizing cascades of water sure to evoke a sense of wonder at any season and for anyone wishing to explore some unique Tennessee beauty up close and personal!

Falls Creek Falls

Starting at the literal top of our list is Fall Creek Falls. Fall Creek Falls is the tallest waterfall in Tennessee and is said to be one of the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River at 256 feet. Near Spencer, Tennessee, Falls Creek Falls State Park contains other noteworthy waterfalls including Coon Creek Falls, Rockhouse Falls and Cane Creek Falls. Drive time from Gallatin: 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Located: Falls Creek Falls State Park

Machine Falls

While admiring the breathtaking scenery of other small waterfalls, lush greenery, creek beds and wildlife along the way, you’ll reach Machine Falls along your 1.6-mile long hike. At 60 feet tall, Machine Falls cascades down a rocky face to a gorgeous shallow pool full of rock formations that catch eyes with colorful lichen all over them. The falls are located in the Short Springs area of Coffee County and is also one of the very best spring wildflower locations in Tennessee. Drive time from Gallatin: 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Located: Tullahoma, TN

Cummins Falls

If you're looking to get up close and personal with a waterfall then Cummins Falls is where you want to be! Cummins Falls, outside of Cookeville, features a picturesque swimming hole below its 75-foot drop. Despite a rugged 2-mile hike to reach the fall, it’s a popular destination and can attract hundreds of visitors in a single hot summer day as plenty of visitors are able to cool off after a hike. Cummins Falls is Tennessee’s eighth largest waterfall. Drive time from Gallatin: 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Located: Cummins Falls State Park

Burgess Falls

Head just over an hour east of Gallatin and after a bit more difficult hike, you’ll be rewarded with views of some of the most dramatic cascades in Tennessee. Located on Falling Water River at Burgess Falls State Park, a series of four waterfalls cascade down from over 250 feet in elevation plunging more than 130 feet into the gorge. Breathtaking is an understatement especially on the perfect sunny day where the cascading water offers a great chance to see that always elusive rainbow when the conditions are perfect. Drive time from Gallatin: 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Located: Burgess Falls State Park

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