Tennessee has over 325 waterfalls, making it tough to choose just 15, but those on the list are definitely the most magnificent.
When you combine the number of waterfalls that drop over 200 feet with pools below, they become even more amazing.
Several of the waterfalls are near Nashville or within a few hours drive.
Hikers can find short routes or more arduous paths, depending on their skills and desires.
1. Cane Creek Cascades
Cane Creek Cascades is close to Spencer, in Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee.
The name is impressive, but one might assume the cascades are smaller falls and not worth the trip.
The cascades are wide, with less than a 20 feet drop into a shallow pool with plenty of boulders.
In fact, Fall Creek Falls is more impressive in sheer height, but there is something about the picturesque beauty and tranquility of these falls – plus the hike is easier than reaching the Fall Creek waterfall.
2. Burgess Falls
Burgess Falls in Sparta, Tennessee is an amazing trek.
It will take a bit of a hike for you to reach the stunning falls; take the River Trail on the Service Loop Road to get to the top of the falls.
It is important to note that the hike down is treacherous and steep.
Burgess Falls is part of Burgess Falls State Park and the most magnificent of four waterfalls.
The four waterfalls take a 250-foot trip from the top of the mountain to the lowest point in the river.
The most spectacular is the 130-foot waterfall – Burgess – that plunges into an amazing gorge.
3. Altamont Falls
Altamont Falls – close to Altamont, Tennessee – is one of the prettiest and most moderate of hikes.
Visitors can pick up on Greeter Falls Loop and Trail, walking the 3.2 miles to reach the falls.
The park allows dogs, as long as they are on the leash.
There is an elevation gain of 485 feet.
The lower Greeter Falls is about 30 minutes from the parking area in South Cumberland State Park.
A side trail from the lower falls will bring hikers to a Blue Hole swimming spot or one can continue up to Altamont Falls.
4. Foster Falls
Foster Falls is also part of Cumberland State Park; however, to reach this waterfall, hikers need to start at Foster Falls Visitor Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee.
The waterfall is 60 feet high and just two miles from the parking lot.
The hike is of medium difficulty and loops from the parking lot back around.
The best time of year to go is during spring, summer, or fall.
It is possible to rock climb, swim, and camp in the park.
The path has a drop down into a gorge, which brings you to the bottom of the falls.
With the refreshing water, many swim near the cascades and feel the power of how much water is actually plunging over the cliff into the gorge.
5. Twin Falls
Twin Falls waterfall is in Rock Island State Park.
It straddles White and Warren Counties, with Collins and Caney river forks coming together.
The park boasts several waterfalls but Twin Falls is the largest, with an 80-foot drop.
The hike to the falls is one mile.
It is not a loop, but an out and back type of trail.
The elevation gain is minimal and the terrain is pleasant, offering an easy hike to the magnificent waterfall.
It is possible to reach the falls throughout the year since the climate is mild.
6. Coon Creek Falls
Fall Creek Falls State Park – as mentioned previously – has more than one waterfall, including the impressive Coon Creek Falls.
This has a 250-foot drop, which is almost as great as Fall Creek Falls’ total drop of 256 feet.
Hikers can visit an overlook to see both falls or take a gentle walk along a hedged path.
The fun part is that both Fall Creek and Coon Creek Falls hit the same pool beneath; however, there is no way to walk to the bottom and it is never a good idea to cliff dive into the plunge pool – there are too many rocks and it is not possible to tell how deep the pool is at any given time.
7. The Falls of Old Stone Fort State Park
It is difficult to talk about just one waterfall when bringing up Old Stone Fort State Park; the park has ten waterfalls, the most impressive is Step Falls, which is part of Little Duck River.
Bluehole Falls are also a short and beautiful hike.
Bluehole Falls are 30 feet high and end in a pool.
Big Falls is the grandest of the falls, with more than a 30 feet drop.
Step Falls is named for its step features that make each drop short rather than a continuous height.
8. Emory Gap Falls
Emory Gap Falls in Wartburg, Tennessee can be accessed from Panther Branch Trailhead.
The falls are a total of 3.2 miles out and back from the beginning of the trail.
The elevation gain is 465 feet but it is a slow incline with an easy walking path versus rugged terrain.
The first waterfall along the path is Debord Falls, which is easy to see from the path but not as impressive as Emory Gap.
Debord Falls has a two-tier cascade that is exceedingly small.
Another 0.7 miles from Debord is Emory Gap.
9. Ozone Falls
Ozone Falls is part of Ozone Falls Park.
The park is 43 acres of natural area.
Its proximity to Interstate 40 means plenty of visitors come to picnic and enjoy the day; however, not many are aware of the waterfall that plunges 110 feet nearby.
Fall Creek feeds the waterfall, pouring down the rocks into a pool before disappearing underground to emerge a short distance later.
10. Carmac Falls
Carmac Falls in Evins Mill near Smithville, Tennessee, is a 90-foot waterfall.
There is a short hike to the plunging falls, which can be accessed from Evins Mill Resort.
For those who wish to take the hike, it is important to call the resort and ask if the trail is available.
The property is considered private but it is rare that visitors will be turned away.
The hike is a total of one mile, with an easy walk to the falls.
It is also possible to swim at one’s own risk.
11. Conasauga Falls
Conasauga Falls are located at the Tellico Plains.
The waterfall crests several rocks, spreading out over the landscape and eventually falling down two tiers to the river below.
There is no pool or swimming at this location.
The hike is 1.2 miles to the falls.
It is a downhill trek going in, making it more difficult on the slippery rocks when going home.
The trail is open from April to October.
12. Machine Falls
Machine Falls in Short Springs State Natural Area is just outside Tullahoma, Tennessee.
The waterfall is one of the tallest in the state, cascading down the rock face.
Lichen grows on the rocks creating a beautiful image.
There is a small pool with a steep rock formation at the bottom of the falls.
The trail is 1.6 miles.
As a loop, hikers can make it back to their car in a short distance or decide to take a longer hike by crossing the bridge to the other side of the falls.
The path is not difficult in terms of elevation gain; however, there are slippery rocks at times, so one should proceed with caution.
Dogs are welcome on the trail.
13. Sink Creek Falls
Sink Creek Falls are in Dekalb County.
Not as impressive in height as Machine Falls, Sink Creek Falls are shorter, but just as magnificent and worth the hike.
The falls gush over one location in the river and come out of the mountain in another, creating a near 180-degree waterfall with underground and above river cascades.
The water does not plunge over the rocks, but cascades over rock formations, stepping down into a small whirlpool beneath before continuing down the river.
The water moves quickly in this area, so it is not a good idea to try to cross near the falls.
14. Falls of Jericho
The Falls of Jericho sit on the Tennessee-Alabama state line.
Legend stated Davie Crocket used this area for hunting.
The natural preserve is 8,900 acres of hiking and horse trails.
The trail to the falls is 3.5 miles one way and takes hikers downhill.
The plunging fall hits a shelf with a cavern beneath, before plunging into a very shallow pool.
15. Cummins Falls
Cummins Falls are part of the Cummins Falls State Park near Cookeville, in Jackson County.
The park has more than 200 acres of land, with the magnificent 75-foot Cummins Falls.
A pool waits below for those who wish to cool off and enjoy a bit of a swim; especially after the one-mile hike it takes to reach the falls.
The round trip is two miles of rugged terrain.
As one of the most accessible waterfalls, it can be rather busy throughout the summer months, right up to the Labor Day holiday.