Getting to the best view of Upper Piney Falls was an adventure. That adventure had less to do with difficulty of hike than poor directions and signage. When I started out on my journey, the sign near the entrance had indications that the hike to the falls was complicated. I even remember reading about a rope used to see the falls, though when I visited, there’s no reason to use a rope if you find the right path to the falls.
After starting out on the hike, you’re going to want to continue on the main path/road. At one point early on, there will be a small trail leading off to the left. Don’t follow it, as I don’t know where it leads. You’ll continue on, and a little later, you’ll come to another split in the path. Your first instinct will be to take the right path, since the left path looked blocked off by tree branches. The right path leads to the crest of the falls, which is not a great view.
Even though the left path looks like it’s blocked, it can be bypassed very easily. After doing this, you’ll come to a small elevation drop that you’ll have to climb down. It’s not that difficult. You may want to mark this point, as on the return hike, I had a difficult time finding where this “drop” occured, though it’s the only real place you can get back up.
After this point, you will want to head to the right. If you head to the right, you should see a sign indicating Lower Piney Falls heading downhill. Instead of going downhill, keep heading to the right. The trail hugs the cliffs around you, and will lead to the base of Upper Piney Falls. Even in late December, this hike was humid and so you may want to dress appropriately.
1) You’re looking for TN-68 between Spring City and Grandview. Look for a sign indicating Piney Falls Natural Area.
2) The very narrow road leading to the parking area for the falls is known as Firetower Rd. Along the way, you should pass a farm or two.
3) At the parking area, follow the directions above.
Where in the World is Upper Piney Falls?: map