7 Easy Waterfall Hikes Near Nashville for the Explorer in You

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Your Guide to Nashville’s Nearby Natural Wonders

Contrary to popular belief, Nashville isn’t just about its iconic music scene and delectable Southern cuisine. Beyond the city’s bustling streets and honky-tonk bars, a treasure trove of natural wonders awaits. 

Nestled in the verdant landscapes of Tennessee, a collection of captivating waterfalls offers both novice and experienced hikers an escape into the serenity and captivating beauty of nature. So, whether you’re a seasoned hiker, a photography enthusiast, or just someone wanting to take a refreshing break, this list is for you. 

From Cummins Falls to Rutledge Falls, here’s a collection of seven easy waterfall hikes near Nashville that you need to include in your itinerary.

Our Favorite Easy Waterfall Hikes Near Nashville

Nashville’s surroundings are rich in natural beauty. Beyond the city’s bustling streets and renowned attractions, there’s a world of forests, streams, and impressive waterfalls waiting to be discovered.

Ready to explore nature just a stone’s throw from Nashville? Here are seven waterfall hikes that are easy to tackle and full of natural beauty.

1. Cummins Falls: A Popular Haven

Location: Cummins Falls State Park

Cummins Falls has rightfully earned its reputation as one of Tennessee’s most loved waterfalls. As the state’s eighth-largest waterfall, it cascades beautifully into a refreshing pool, perfect for a summer dip. The hike itself is relatively short but offers enough twists and turns to keep the adventure quotient high. The sights and sounds of the gushing waters, paired with the lush surrounding greenery, make this spot a must-visit.

2. Burgess Falls: A Cascading Beauty

Location: Burgess Falls State Park

Known for its mesmerizing series of four waterfalls, Burgess is a paradise for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers. The main falls plunge over 130 feet, offering a dramatic spectacle. The trail is well-maintained and offers various vantage points to witness the majestic falls in all their glory. As you venture deeper, each step reveals a new perspective, making the journey as enchanting as the destination.

3. Twin Falls: A Double Delight

Location: Rock Island State Park

Rock Island State Park’s jewel, Twin Falls, is unique in its formation. Resulting from a dam upstream rather than a naturally flowing river, its beauty is unparalleled. As the name suggests, two cascades give the impression of twin waterfalls, creating a captivating scene. The hike to get to this viewpoint is relatively easy, making it accessible for explorers of all ages.

4. Fall Creek Falls: Nature’s High Point

Location: Fall Creek Falls State Park

Boasting one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern U.S., Fall Creek Falls stands tall at 256 feet. The park itself provides a range of recreational activities, but the falls are the undeniable star. The trek is an easy one, but the rewards are immense. Upon reaching the viewpoint, you’re greeted with a panorama of captivating woodlands, gorges, and roaring falls.

5. Rock Island: An Adventure Playground

Location: Rock Island State Park

Apart from the Twin Falls, Rock Island State Park is home to several other waterfalls and cascades, each with its unique charm. The area provides an adventure-filled playground for explorers with its sandy beaches, deep pools, and intriguing caves. The hikes here vary in difficulty, but many are easy and well-suited for a family outing.

Couple wearing hiking boots

6. Rutledge Falls: A Hidden Gem

Location: Tullahoma, TN

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle, Rutledge Falls is one of Tennessee’s hidden gems. It’s not as crowded as some other spots, giving it an intimate feel. The falls cascade into a serene pool, surrounded by a canopy of trees and mossy rocks. The hike to Rutledge is more of a leisurely stroll, making it perfect for those who want to enjoy nature’s beauty without much exertion.

7. Foster Falls: The Climber’s Dream

Location: South Cumberland State Park

Foster Falls is not just a treat for the eyes but also a hotspot for rock climbers. With a 60-foot plunge, the falls offer a dramatic sight, especially after heavy rainfall. The surrounding cliffs attract climbing enthusiasts from all over, but if you’re just there for the hike and view, you won’t be disappointed. The trail is well-marked and relatively easy, leading you to a picturesque spot ideal for picnicking or simply soaking in the serenity.

Tips and Tricks to Make the Most of Your Hikes

Venturing into nature is an exciting experience, but a little preparation can transform a good hike into a great one. 

No matter how much experience you think you have, being well-prepared for any of these easy waterfall hikes near Nashville comes with its own set of advantages. Whether it’s ensuring safety, enhancing the overall experience, or simply providing peace of mind, gearing up properly can make all the difference.

Here’s a quick list of things you should consider:

  • Stay Hydrated: Always bring enough water for the duration of your hike — and then some. Dehydration can sneak up on you, especially during warmer months!
  • Wear the Right Footwear: Invest in a good pair of hiking boots or shoes. They offer better grip, support, and protection than regular sneakers.
  • Check the Weather: Before heading out, make sure to check the weather forecast. Getting caught in a rainstorm without the right gear can be more than just uncomfortable; it can be dangerous.
  • Know Your Limits: Not all trails are created equal. That said, it’s important to understand the difficulty level of a hike and ensure it matches your fitness and comfort level.
  • Pack Light — but Smart: Carry essentials like snacks, a first-aid kit, a map, and maybe a lightweight rain jacket. However, make sure you avoid overpacking to keep your load light!
  • Stay on the Trail: To protect both the environment and yourself, make sure you stick to the designated paths and don’t veer off the parks’ marked trails.
  • “Leave No Trace”: The number one rule of being outdoors! Always pack out what you pack in, and respect nature by keeping it clean for the next visitor and future generations.
  • Tell Someone: Before setting off, let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. It’s a simple safety precaution, but it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Your Next Step to Adventure

There’s no doubt that Nashville serves as a hub for diverse experiences: from the culture of its museums to delicious brunch spots, live performances to rooftop bars, and even hiking to lakeside picnics. And while the city pulsates with energy and culture — it’s also a gateway to the serene landscapes of Tennessee. 

Every adventure — whether it’s in the bustling streets or the quiet trails — means creating lasting memories.

Aerial view of Fall Creek Falls

And after a day of exploring Nashville’s breathtaking waterfalls and trails, there’s no better feeling than returning to a cozy accommodation that feels like home. Enjoy the best that Nashville and its surroundings have to offer, and make Blissful Horizon your home base for every adventure! 

Whether you’re traveling with your family, friends or taking a solo journey, we have the ideal accommodation to suit your needs.

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Meet Kush & Ana

Nashville Enthusiasts

We are Kush & Ana Ratwani. We moved to Nashville in 2020 for Kush’s fellowship at Vanderbilt. When we moved here, the once vibrant music city, full of aspiring songwriters trying to be the next Carrie Underwood and pedal taverns full of brides to be was in a state of hibernation due to COVID. However, that was short-lived, and Nashville is now back to full speed! 

We have loved living in Nashville so much so over the last few years that we even got married here in 2021! We feel Nashville has so much to offer, and it would take months to experience everything. From boutique shops to James Beard award-winning restaurants, who can forget live music every night on Broadway?

We started “Grits & Grace” to blog about all of our favorite spots, highlighting why we love Nashville and why we firmly believe it’s the best city in the country! 

Let us be your local tour guides on your journey to the Music City. 

Kush & Ana Ratwani

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