Little Falls, Tennessee

Every once in a while, I honestly can’t remember a waterfall. I don’t really remember Little Falls. I remember the other not-so-distant Little Falls in Tennessee (which is Rock Island State Park). This one is found in Burgess Falls State Park. I remember walking down a hill to view Falling Water Cascades, which is above Little Falls. I recollect Middle Falls, which I had a difficult time photographing in the early morning sun. And it’s almost impossible to forget Burgess Falls, the largest of the falls.

And yet I don’t seem to remember Little Falls, which is upstream of Middle and Burgess Falls. I have a photograph of it and it’s on the map of Tennessee waterfalls I’ve visited, but it just isn’t clicking. The trail that leads to Burgess Falls is a pretty easy jaunt, and I have a feeling it was so simple to stop and view the falls that it just became an afterthought. I didn’t have to do anything special to photograph the falls. It was just there, and in the process, this beautiful waterfall slipped away.

Directions:

  1. From I-40 near Cookeville, take the exit for TN-135 and head south on TN-135.
  2. Follow TN-135 for a ways, until you see the sign indicating the turn for Burgess Falls. From there, its a short distance to the parking lot for the falls.
  3. The signs make the hike very simple to follow.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 1.6 miles round-trip (to see all falls)

Little Falls in December 2009

Where in the World is Little Falls?

Unnamed Falls #3, Burgess Falls SP, Tennessee

A smaller waterfall in Burgess Falls State Park (December 2009)

In Burgess Falls State Park, there are a number of smaller waterfalls to be found. They are all waterfalls that flow into the Falling Water River. The third of these unnamed falls is probably the least intriguing.  At the right time of day, it might be very pretty, but the sun was shining directly behind the falls. (It was early morning when I visited, and had the whole place to myself.)  I’m guessing the waterfall is likely to be flowing only in times of higher rainfall. I could imagine it drying up when there isn’t as much rain. I visited the falls in late December, though I don’t know if there was much rain before that.

A random note:  Even though I numbered this #3, this is actually the one of the first unnamed waterfalls you will encounter.

Directions:

  1. From I-40 near Cookeville, take the exit for TN-135 and head south on TN-135.
  2. Follow TN-135 for a ways, until you see the sign indicating the turn for Burgess Falls. From there, its a short distance to the parking lot for the falls.
  3. The signs make the hike very simple to follow.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 1.6 miles round-trip (to see all falls)

Where in the World is Unnamed Falls #3?

Twin Falls, Tennessee

Most waterfall enthusiasts usually throw out the “man-made” waterfalls pretty quickly. There might be a mention of a man-made falls in the back of a book, but there often not included. Twin Falls bucks the trend. I’m not even sure if “man-made” is the right term, which seems to suggest that we human beings set out to create Twin Falls.

Instead, Twin Falls was the product of we human beings harnessing the power of water to do work. A dam was built in the area, and as a product, the pressure of the water built up, and the water started flowing out of the side of the hill. And now you have Twin Falls. It’s a truly interesting falls. You can tell something is odd, considering the water emerges from the upper-middle layers of the cliff, instead of at the top of the cliff. The falls then drop into the river below, which seemed pretty turbulent when I visited over Christmas 2009. The falls are surprisingly expansive, overshadowing what may have at one time been the more impressive Great Falls. The photo below doesn’t even capture the whole of Twin Falls.

Directions:

  1. There seem to be a number of different ways to view this specific waterfall in Rock Island State Park. As a good place to start, use TN-136 as a reference. This is also known as Rock Island Road.
  2. If you are headed north, you would normally turn on TN-287 (aka Great Falls Road) to visit Rock Island State Park….Keep heading just a further bit north across the river.
  3. Just after crossing the bridge, there will be a less conspicuous road to your left, Power House Road.
  4. Turn left on Power House Road, and keep driving on it until it ends at the Twin Falls Overlook.

*Note: Little Falls is found along a trail starting at the Twin Falls Overlook.

Accessibility: 10/10
Height: 75′
Length of Hike: negligible

Twin Falls in December 2009

Where in the World is Twin Falls?

Little Falls, Tennessee

Little Falls (Christmas day 2009)

Rock Island State Park, found in central Tennessee, is a truly odd place to visit. With the forces of nature being harnessed by humans, Great Falls is greatly reduced, whereas Twin Falls shows up where it was not before. And hiding inconspicuously along a trail is Little Falls, also known as Blue Ice Falls. It is a smaller falls in comparison to the other falls in the park, though it’s not measly in height.

I visited the park on Christmas day in 2009. The park was almost completely dead, especially the northern portion of the park. The only creature I can remember coming across was a cow in my path while driving to the parking area. The parking area starts at the Twin Falls Overlook, which can’t be missed. To your right is the Downstream Trail. Not long after starting down this trail, you’ll come across Little Falls. It’s pretty difficult to miss. There was a sign at the falls, so if you’re in doubt, just look for the sign! I hiked a little bit further, but didn’t find anything of interest. I can’t remember if this was where I thought I saw another waterfall on the other side of the river in the distance, but I couldn’t really get a better view (or I had to start driving back to the airport).

Directions:

  1. There seem to be a number of different ways to view this specific waterfall in Rock Island State Park. As a good place to start, use TN-136 as a reference. This is also known as Rock Island Road.
  2. If you are headed north, you would normally turn on TN-287 (aka Great Falls Road) to visit Rock Island State Park….Keep heading just a further bit north across the river.
  3. Just after crossing the bridge, there will be a less conspicuous road to your left, Power House Road.
  4. Turn left on Power House Road, and keep driving on it until it ends at the Twin Falls Overlook.
  5. At the viewpoint, follow the Downstream Trail to your right for a view of Little Falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 50′
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Little Falls?

Great Falls, Tennessee

I guess your first inclination when hearing the name Great Falls would be that, well, it’s an impressive waterfall. My guess is that this inclination is highly dependent on water flow. Searching for pictures online has revealed that at certain times of the year, the falls are so flooded with water that they just disappear…At other times, when there is less water, a number of smaller falls are found along the very wide drop. I just imagine that there are certain DAYS of the year when the water levels are just right to get nearly all of the rivers width to appear as falls. It’s got to be a tricky balancing act, complicated by the dam just upstream.

When I visited in December 2009, there wasn’t a considerable amount of water, and so there were a number of separate waterfalls. They are all along one drop in the river, though separated by areas of uplifted rock. It’s still an impressive waterfall, but its view is diminished by the fact that you are not very close to the falls. The viewpoint in the park does allow for sweeping views of the whole falls and river, but you really can’t get up close.

Directions:

  1. There seem to be a number of different ways to view this specific waterfall in Rock Island State Park. As a good place to start, use TN-136 as a reference. This is also known as Rock Island Road.
  2. If you’re headed north, the road you’re interested in, TN-287, will be on your left. There are a number of old stores in the area. Turn left onto TN-287.
  3. You’ll head along TN-287 past the dam, which is pretty obvious, to a parking area on your right. It’s a pretty big parking area. If you pass this area, you’ll keep heading out into the country, missing the falls.
  4. The falls are directly visible from the edge of the parking area.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 20′
Length of Hike: roadside

One portion of Great Falls (December 2009)

Another portion of Great Falls

Where in the World is Great Falls?

Unnamed Falls #1, Burgess Falls SP, Tennessee

A smaller waterfall in Burgess Falls State Park (December 2009)

In Burgess Falls State Park, there are a number of smaller waterfalls to be found. They are all waterfalls that flow into the Falling Water River. The first of these unnamed falls is about 5 or 6′ tall, if I remember correctly.  I arrived in the early morning when the air was still chilly, and it was difficult to photograph this falls because the sun was behind it.  It would probably best be photographed during noon.  But that brings up a point…Since each of the falls at Burgess Falls State Park are not oriented in the same direction, each falls would be best photographed at a different time of the day.  You would either have to stay the whole day at the park, or visit multiple times, which isn’t always possible.  Oh well…

Directions:

  1. From I-40 near Cookeville, take the exit for TN-135 and head south on TN-135.
  2. Follow TN-135 for a ways, until you see the sign indicating the turn for Burgess Falls. From there, its a short distance to the parking lot for the falls.
  3. The signs make the hike very simple to follow.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 6′
Length of Hike: 1.6 miles round-trip (to see all falls)

Where in the World is Unnamed Falls #1?

Unnamed Falls #2, Burgess Falls SP, Tennessee

A smaller waterfall in Burgess Falls State Park, December 2009

In Burgess Falls State Park, there are a number of smaller waterfalls to be found. They are all waterfalls that flow into the Falling Water River. The second of these unnamed falls is one of the more beautiful ones. It’s actually taller than one might expect, and it may actually continue on underneath the trail. I’m guessing the waterfall is likely to be flowing only in times of higher rainfall. I could imagine it drying up when there isn’t as much rain. I visited the falls in late December, though I don’t know if there was much rain before that.

Directions:

  1. From I-40 near Cookeville, take the exit for TN-135 and head south on TN-135.
  2. Follow TN-135 for a ways, until you see the sign indicating the turn for Burgess Falls. From there, its a short distance to the parking lot for the falls.
  3. The signs make the hike very simple to follow.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 1.6 miles round-trip (to see all falls)

Where in the World is Unnamed Falls #2?

Middle Burgess Falls, Tennessee

I showed up to see the waterfalls in Burgess Falls State Natural Area pretty early in the day. It was in late December and it wasn’t very busy, which was very nice. Sometimes, you arrive at just the wrong time to take pictures of certain waterfalls due to the direction of the sun, and this was one of them, at least for Middle Burgess Falls.

I got good pictures of all of the other waterfalls in the park except for this one. The sun was shining directly above the river at this point. Even so, the pictures that I got of the Middle Falls were rather interesting. The waterfall had this almost ethereal feeling to it with the fog hanging above the falls. I actually think the picture is very cool, but I would probably show up later in the day if I ever visited again.

Directions:

  1. From I-40 near Cookeville, take the exit for TN-135 and head south on TN-135.
  2. Follow TN-135 for a ways, until you see the sign indicating the turn for Burgess Falls. From there, its a short distance to the parking lot for the falls.
  3. The signs make the hike very simple to follow.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: 1.6 miles round-trip (to see all falls)

Middle Burgess Falls in December 2009

DSC_0320

Middle Falls in November 2017

Where in the World is Middle Burgess Falls?

Falling Water Cascades, Tennessee

As you begin your hike to see Burgess Falls and the other waterfalls along the Falling Water River, the Falling Water Cascades are one of the first drops you will encounter. I didn’t really notice them, though, until I was hiking back to the parking area. As with any waterfall, the direction of approach matters.

The Falling Water Cascades are very photogenic. The multiple, small drops allow for a very beautiful effect. Pay attention to the cascades in the presence of the much larger falls.

Directions:

  1. From I-40 near Cookeville, take the exit for TN-135 and head south on TN-135.
  2. Follow TN-135 for a ways, until you see the sign indicating the turn for Burgess Falls. From there, its a short distance to the parking lot for the falls.
  3. The signs make the hike very simple to follow.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 10′
Length of Hike: 1.6 miles round-trip (to see all falls)

Falling Water Cascades in December 2009

Where in the World is Falling Water Cascades?

Burgess Falls, Tennessee

If you’re in the Cookeville region of Tennessee, you definitely need to visit Burgess Falls. It’s an extremely beautiful waterfall with a very interesting shape.

When you visit Burgess Falls State Park, you’ll see Burgess Falls, the largest of the falls, along with four other smaller falls on Falling Water River. There are also multiple tributary “waterfalls.” Visiting Burgess Falls is also surprisingly easy. You can most likely bring your children to the falls, though they need to exercise caution, as do adults. Everyone can view the falls from the overlook. If you want to view the falls from the base, though, this requires more effort and is probably not everyone. There were stairs making the hike down safer than I expected.

Directions:

  1. From I-40 near Cookeville, take the exit for TN-135 and head south on TN-135.
  2. Follow TN-135 for a ways, until you see the sign indicating the turn for Burgess Falls. From there, its a short distance to the parking lot for the falls.
  3. The signs make the hike very simple to follow.

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 136′
Length of Hike: 1.6 miles round-trip

Burgess Falls in December 2009

Where in the World is Burgess Falls?