If you’re searching for the best waterfalls to visit in Tennessee, you have come to the right place! There is no shortage of incredible waterfalls to explore in this beautiful state. In fact, there are over 300!
With so many different waterfalls to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which ones to visit first! This guide details all of the best waterfalls in Tennessee to help you plan your next adventure. Whether you are planning a short weekend getaway and or an epic road trip across the state, visiting one of the many waterfalls is a must!
Cool off in a pool beneath a waterfall during the summer or enjoy the amazing waterfall views surrounded by beautiful fall foliage. No matter what time of year, there is an incredible waterfall waiting to be discovered! Whether you are an avid hiker or not, there are waterfalls in Tennessee to explore for every adventure level!
Ready to start exploring some of the beautiful waterfalls this incredible southern state has to offer? Keep reading to discover the prettiest waterfalls in Tennessee!
14 Prettiest Waterfalls in Tennessee
Cummins Falls is an impressive 75-foot waterfall consisting of two different levels and a large pool at the bottom. It has been a popular swimming hole for locals for over 100 years and is one of the prettiest waterfalls in Tennessee!
It is possible to enjoy the view of the falls from the overlook, but many visitors choose to hike to the base of the falls for a swim. The hike to the base of the falls is a strenuous trail that requires navigating slippery rocks and water crossings. The challenging hike is well worth the reward of swimming at the base of this beautiful waterfall!
Cummins Falls State Park is a perfect day trip from Nashville as it is just a 1.5-hour drive away. Camping is also possible at the nearby Old Mill camp which features an old-fashioned general store and is within walking distance to the falls. It is also easy to combine a trip to Cummins Falls with the nearby Burgess Falls.
Burgess Falls is one of the best waterfalls near Nashville, located just a little over an hour’s drive away from downtown! This spectacular waterfall is made up of four different cascades that plunge 130 feet into a natural gorge and is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Tennessee!
Burgess Falls amazes visitors with its massive size and stunning beauty. There is a large pool at the bottom of the falls for cooling off on a hot summer day and plenty of rocks to lounge on and soak up the incredible views. There is also an overlook on the way down to the bottom where you can stop and admire the incredible natural beauty.
The views from the bottom are well worth the 3/4 mile hike required to get there, which passes 3 smaller waterfalls along the way. Like most waterfalls, the best time to visit Burgess Falls is after heavy rainfall when the water flow is the most powerful. This is also one of the best places for Fall Foliage in Tennessee!
Fall Creek Falls
Coming in at over 256 feet, Falls Creek Falls is the tallest and one of the most visited waterfalls in Tennessee. It is also one of the largest waterfalls in the eastern part of the United States!
This impressive waterfall is located inside Falls Creek Falls State Park, which is one of the best Tennessee state parks with waterfalls! This state park features beautiful gorges, cascades, rivers, streams, and lush forests. Other waterfalls within the park include Cane Creek Falls and Piney Falls.
The overlook for Falls Creek Falls is a short and easy hike from the parking area. The hike to the base of the falls is a bit more strenuous and consists of slippery rocks and uneven terrain. It is well worth the hike to the bottom to get up close to one of the most impressive waterfalls in Tennessee!
Cane Creek Falls
Also located within Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of the prettiest Tennesee waterfalls, Cane Creek Falls! Although this waterfall is not as famous as the park’s namesake waterfall and takes a little more effort to get to, it is definitely worth a visit!
Cane Creek Falls can be viewed from the overlook near the state park visitor center, but many visitors choose to take a short hike for a better view. This beautiful hike winds its way through the forest and over a suspension bridge passing Cane Creek Cascades and Rockhouse Falls before ending at a viewpoint from the top of the Cane Creek Falls.
To truly get an idea of how magnificent this waterfall is, the best way to experience it from the base. The only way to reach the base of the falls is to navigate a steep, rocky trail with the help of a cable that is in place to hold onto. Hikers who attempt this should be prepared with sturdy shoes and save energy for the steep climb back up to the top.
Located deep inside the caverns underneath Lookout Mountain is one of the most fascinating waterfalls in Tennessee! Ruby Falls plunges an impressive 145 feet into the Earth and is the largest underground waterfall in America.
Getting to Ruby Falls is an exciting adventure in itself. Visitors need to descend 26 stories in a glass elevator before taking a guided tour through the incredible caverns, learning about the ancient geological formations along the way.
Ruby Falls is a perfect place for a day trip from Chattanooga. After visiting Ruby Falls, ride the historic incline railway up the side of the mountain, stroll through the stunning rock city gardens, and take in the famous 7 states view from the top of Lookout Mountain.
Located inside Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Laurel Falls is one of the prettiest waterfalls in Tennessee! This beautiful 80-foot waterfall is named after the evergreen shrub that blooms along the trail and around the surrounding mountain.
The trail to the waterfall is just over 2 miles roundtrip and is considered moderate. There are slippery rocks along the way and steep drop-offs in some areas. Smoky Mountains National Park is considered bear country and black bears are commonly seen close to this trail, so be sure to keep an eye out!
The trail to Laurel Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the park. In order to get good pictures of the waterfall and enjoy the amazing scenery without the crowds, be sure to arrive early in the morning. If you have extra time, you can explore other nearby waterfalls such as Cataract Falls and Mannis Branch Falls.
Jackson falls is one of the best waterfalls near Nashville and is just an hour’s drive outside of the city. This small cascade is best seen after heavy rainfall, but it is a great place to visit any time of year for the scenic surroundings.
The hike to Jackson Falls is less than 1,00 feet from the parking area, making it one of the most easily accessible waterfalls in Tennessee. The trail is a flat, concrete walkway that is suitable for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages as well as children and pets.
After the short walk down to the falls, you can carefully walk in the water below and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of moss-covered rocks and lush forest. Before you leave the area, you can hike the short trail or drive a little further down the road to take in the beautiful views from the nearby Baker’s Bluff viewpoint.
This incredibly beautiful waterfall can be found within South Cumberland State Park. Foster Falls is one of the best waterfalls in Tennessee and is a perfect day trip from Chattanooga or an overnight camping trip.
This waterfall plunges 60 feet down a steep rock face into a natural gorge, forming a large pool that’s perfect for a summer swim! Take in the impressive view of this powerful waterfall from below and admire the wild azalea and mountain laurel growing all around.
The hike to Foster Falls is beautiful and scenic, requiring a suspension bridge crossing through the trees. The trail leads to an overlook offering a stunning view of the falls below before continuing down a steep, rocky path to the base of the falls. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and save energy for the steep climb back up.
This impressive waterfall is one of the most incredible waterfalls in Tennessee. Ozone Falls is so beautiful, that it was even selected as a filming location for The Jungle Book movie!
Ozone Falls is part of Fall Creek which drops 110 feet into a bright blue pool of water before it disappears underground and re-appears further downstream. Behind the falls, there is a beautiful naturally-formed cave that has been carved into the rock from erosion over time.
To reach Ozone Falls, follow the short trail from the parking area to a viewpoint at the top of the falls. To get a closer look, you can follow a rocky trail that goes down to a lower vantage point. The trail is short but steep and there are no guard rails so it is advised to use caution and wear sturdy shoes.
Virgin Falls is one of the most unique waterfalls in Tennessee with its fascinating geological features and serene natural setting. It is also 2 hours from both Chattanooga and Nashville and makes a perfect day trip from either city.
This waterfall is one of the most challenging waterfalls to get to in the state and requires an almost 9-mile roundtrip journey on a rocky trail. The trail is well worth the hike and is one of the best Tennessee hiking trails with waterfalls. The trail passes Big Laurel Falls, Sheep Cave Falls, and Big Branch Falls before arriving at Virgin Falls.
Virgin falls is a fascinating geological wonder that is much different from other Tennessee waterfalls. This waterfall is formed from an underground stream that flows out of a cave before plunging 110 feet over a rock cliff before disappearing into a sinkhole in the ground below. There are also many natural caves to explore along the trail and around the area.
Located less than 10 minutes from Gatlinburg in Smoky Mountain National Park is the stunning Cataract Falls. This waterfall is easy to reach and is a must-see during a trip to the Smoky Mountains!
The trail begins right next to the Sugarlands Visitor Center and is only 3/4 mile long. The trail is easy and perfect for all skill levels which makes Cataract Falls one of the best waterfalls in Tennessee to visit with children. The trail winds through the forest and features bridge crossings and a staircase leading up to the falls.
This waterfall drops 25 feet down a rocky cliff and is surrounded by beautiful forest and the sounds of the rushing stream below. Cataract Falls is a beautiful waterfall to visit any time of year but is especially impressive after rainfall when the water is the most powerful and impressive.
Bald River Falls
A short detour off the famous Cherohala Skyway near Tellico Plains will lead to the beautiful Bald River Falls. This waterfall can be seen from the road making it one of the most easily accessible waterfalls in Tennessee.
Bald River Falls is worth the trip during every season with stunning natural scenery that is constantly changing. Visit in the summer to hike to the bottom of the falls and swim in the refreshing water or visiting in the fall while viewing the colorful Tennessee fall foliage from the Cherohala Skyway.
This waterfall plunges a staggering 100 feet into a gorge and has a large shallow pool below. The best viewpoint is from the road which provides a perfect opportunity for photography. You can choose to hike to the top of the falls, swim in the natural pool, or enjoy a picnic next to the nearby Baby Falls.
Twin Falls Waterfall is located within Rock Island State Park, which is about 2 hours away from Nashville making for a unique day trip. This state park features hiking trails, waterfalls, a historic dam, and many scenic overlooks.
Twin Falls was formed as a result of the construction of the Great Falls Dam in 1925. Today, Twin Falls plunges down 90 feet into the river below down a rocky cliff face. Although this waterfall is man-made, it just as beautiful as the other waterfalls in Tennessee on this list!
Twin Falls can be seen from the parking area and there is a short, level trail that leads downstream to get a better view. While in the area, be sure to get a view of the impressive Great Falls Dam, hike some of the nearby trails, and learn about the fascinating history of the area at the Rock Island State Park Visitor Center.
South Cumberland State Park is one of the many state parks in Tennessee with waterfalls. Here you will find the beautiful Greeter Falls which is one of the best hidden gems in the state!
Hike the Greeter Falls Loop which is a 3-mile trail that winds through the forested Cumberland Plateau. This trail leads past the upper portion of the falls before reaching a spiral staircase that leads down to the lower portion of the falls. The trail is well-marked and suitable for all skill levels, although it can be slippery after rain.
The pool below lower falls is a perfect place for a swim and is even a popular place for cliff jumping if you’re feeling adventurous! There are plenty of spots along the rocks to relax and enjoy a picnic before exploring more of the area. For more hiking, you can continue to Ranger Falls or hike the stone door trail and take in the incredible views of the area.
We hope this article inspired you to visit some of the many waterfalls in Tennessee! This guide only scratches the surface of the amazing natural beauty waiting to be discovered in Tennessee. For more southern travel inspiration check out our guide for the best weekend getaways in Tennessee!