Did you know that Tennessee is home to hundreds of waterfalls? If you’re in the market for some inspiration and activity courtesy of Mother Nature, pack some snacks and your sunscreen, and take a hike some waterfalls near Nashville! Every waterfall listed here is a short 80-minute to 2-hour drive from Nashville. Get out an explore!
Location: Sparta, Tennessee
Drive time from Nashville: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to Burgess Falls, where guests can enjoy birdwatching and fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass. But if you’re on the hunt for waterfalls, lace up your hiking boots, and take to the River Trail/Service Loop Road, which takes hikers past four breathtaking waterfalls. Beware, though, that the hike to the bottom of the falls is a strenuous one. All hiking within the park ranges from moderate to very strenuous, so plan accordingly!
Location: Cookeville, Tennessee
Drive time from Nashville: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Located in Jackson County, Cummins Falls is one of Tennessee’s most popular waterfalls. The hiking is perfect if you’re ready for a bit of a challenge, so make sure you’re wearing shoes that can get wet and dirty. Most of the hike is wading through water, which only makes the reward of getting there even better! Seeing the water splash over the rocky ledges will make you want to dive right in the swimming hole as soon as you get there. Take a dip or lounge on the rocks as you take in the greenery and streaming water surrounding you.
Location: Spencer, Tennessee
Drive time from Nashville: 2 hours
If you’re in the mood to kick back and relax while taking in a great view, Fall Creek Falls is the place to do it! Although it’s not a waterfall you jump in to enjoy, the colossal, 256-foot plunge is absolutely amazing. In fact, it’s the highest waterfall in the eastern United States. Both the base view and overlook are astonishing. Walk a little farther onto the park’s swinging bridge for another adventure that will leave you feeling like a true explorer.
Talk about a gift from Mother Nature! Cane Creek Falls will blow you away. The best view you can get is from the bottom. Looking at the huge swimming hole and volume of water flowing down the rocks will leave you awestruck. Yes, the waterfall itself is impressive, but the swimming hole is what makes it so fun on a summer day. It’s big enough to swim, even if the water’s cold. The mist from the rushing falls and sunlight streaming through the trees on a clear day creates a mystical setting, and the sound is downright tranquil.
Location: Sequatchie, Tennessee
Drive time from Nashville: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Embrace your inner explorer and visit Foster Falls. Whether you’re looking to stay the night at one of the many different campsites or just see this beautiful waterfall perched in the woods, you won’t regret your trip. The hike is short and challenging, but the view from the bottom is simply spectacular. Foster Falls is great for swimming around with plenty of rocks for sunbathing. When your day of fun in the sun comes to a close, pitch a tent at a campsite and cook up some food on one of the grills.
Location: Rock Island, Tennessee
Drive time from Nashville: 1 hour, 20 minutes
You’ve gotta make a trip to Twin Falls this summer. Pack a towel and lunch, because you’ll want to stay for a full day of swimming, kayaking and hiking. While most waterfalls flow over rocks, Twin Falls flows out of rocks. The water rushes from the crevices at a whopping height of 80 feet in two places, hence the name ‘Twin” Falls.
Location: Crossville, Tennessee
Drive time from Nashville: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Taking a drive to Ozone Falls is the perfect weekend escape. It’s found on a huge plot of natural area in Cumberland County and falls over a 100-foot drop. The hike to the bottom is steep and rugged, but easy to get to. At the base is a beautiful pool of aqua water surrounded by massive boulders, perfect for cooling off on a hot day! What makes it so extraordinary is the mist that the waterfall creates in the dome shape seclusion of rocks, which creates pristine air quality. [Fun fact: Disney’s The Jungle Book was filmed at this waterfall!]
Location: Altamont, Tennessee
Drive time from Nashville: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Greeter Falls is a great pick for those in search of a short and safe journey. Not to mention, the scenery is stunning from start to finish. A lot of trails surround the falls, making the hiking distances optional. What’s known as the Blue Hole is the charming swimming hole that’s perfectly deep enough for summer swimming!
Enjoy your adventures!
First published in 2015; updated in 2023.