I could fill a book with falls and trails just a short drive from the city center. The Ocoee and Chilhowee is superb east of Cleveland as is Fall Creek Falls, Rock Island Falls, and Savage Gulf State Park with three gorgeous waterfalls. If you want to explore, don’t hesitate to ask. Most visitors come in and hit the paid-for sites, which are many in this beautiful and interesting town. However, we think free stuff is about as good as it gets anywhere in the nation. If you are into outdoor exploration, natural beauty, water, falls, creeks, mountains, trails, bluffs, caves, climbing, and so on, you are in the city voted two times in five years America’s Best City by Outside Magazine readers. Oh, and don’t hesitate to ask about good eats, good in-town play or parks, and the inside scoop on local attractions. We want you to love it here so much you will want to come back, or, heck, just move down here and join us year-round.
Waterfalls within an Hour:
Fall Creek Falls: The most famous is Fall Creek Falls falling 256 feet with amazing cascades in another part of the park. The park is very large and worthy of a days adventure
Rock Island State Park: One of the most amazing places in TN is the little known Rock Island, State Park. It’s 87 miles from the house, but the variety of the falls and cascades, all in one tight spot, is simply unsurpassed.
Savage Gulf: Savage gulf is also on the Cumberland Plateau about 60 miles from the house. There are three notable falls in Savage Gulf, and each offers its own distinct beauty. The three trailheads are in different locations so be sure to map out before you go which of the falls you want to find. There is Savage Falls which is more of a rich cascade. Then my favorite, Greeter Falls which I think is the best overall hike. Finally, there are two more falls with Collins river and Ranger Creek.
Foster Falls: Closer to home is Foster Falls, probably more famous for climbing, but boasting a gorgeous 60’ falls and wonderful swim pool at the base. The falls tend to turn to a sprinkle in the dry period, however. But the hikes and rocks and climbs are worth the 32 miles run from the house.
Chilhowee and Benton Falls: A wonderful spot full of many attractions nearby is Chilhowee and Benton Falls. Benton Falls is a good hike from Chilhowee which is up from the Ocoee, but the cascades are magnificent and the entire drive, the lake, the overlooks, the swim area, and the Ocoee are worth the jolt.
DeSoto Falls: Closer to home still is DeSoto Falls, on Lookout Mountain in Alabama. The falls are 104 feet, with a gorgeous pool at the base, but the hikes through the park are great.
Cloudland Canyon: Closer still is Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia. At only 23 miles from the house, this is one of the easiest and worthwhile day jolts, boasting three falls (one off-trail), a gorgeous western vista from Lookout Mountain, and, great views of this rich Canyon.
Fall Water Falls, Julia Falls, and Rainbow Falls: Coming into town, on Signal we have Fall Water Falls and Julia Falls and Rainbow Falls. Fall Water Falls is the highest, with a little hike to the top from the road in Walden, but the drops are dangerous and unguarded and access to the bottom is very difficult. I do not recommend taking small children to this location. I have lost two cousins here so I don’t frequent the spot because of the heartache, but it’s very beautiful.
Julie Falls: Julia falls is one of my favorite in town falls. Go to Signal Point (breathtaking) and grab the Cumberland Trail. Pass Edward’s Point looking into the gorge and keep your eyes for an unmarked trail on the left past Edward’s overlook and listen for the water. The hike down is tough, but the falls are hearty and the swimming hole is unmolested and cold and calm.
Glenn Falls: If pressed for time, Glenn Falls is halfway up the GA side of Lookout just a few miles from the home. The hike in is shortish and easy but the water features are quaint but great fun for kids with good views if you climb. This is one of our favorites if our time is short.