In the heart of Tennessee lies a hidden Jurassic
Park looking gem that beckons avid hikers and nature lovers to behold it’s
beauty - Burgess Falls. This breathtaking waterfall, nestled within the lush
landscapes of Burgess Falls State Park, embodies the untamed beauty of Tennessee's
While there are a myriad of stunning waterfalls peppered throughout the Volunteer State (over 800, as a matter of fact), this one has a distinct character that sets it apart. It cascades down dramatically over 130 feet of studded rock into a deep gorge, creating a spectacular display that captures the heart of those fortunate enough to witness it firsthand.
A moderate 1.5-mile round-trip hike takes you along the Falling Water River's edge, offering arresting views of the main falls as well as others along the route. Signs along the way conveniently offer fascinating nuggets of the area's history and ecology.
The expedition to Burgess Falls is a four-stage affair. Starting with a tranquil stream that is great to wade in for cooling your feet on a hot summer day, the trail gradually unveils the crescendo of waterfalls.
You're introduced firstly to the 20-foot cascades, followed by the 30-foot upper falls, onto the 80-foot middle falls...
and finally culminating at the apex – the magnificent 136-foot main waterfall called Burgess.
Bursts of floral color greet you in spring, while fall infuses the path with a mosaic of warm hues. Any season is a good time to visit, but the most mesmerizing experience is in the spring when the earlier rainfall reinvigorates the waterfall, making it more potent and beautiful.
Back at the time of our first visit, years ago, sure-footed hikers seeking to escalate their adventure could brave a steep, rugged staircase leading to the base of the main waterfall.
Unfortunately however, the staircase was badly damaged and ripped from the cliff face in a bad storm shortly thereafter, so there is now no access to the base of the falls from the park itself.
But, the base of the falls can now be accessed by boat or kayak from the Cane Hollow Recreation Area, which you could do on your own or if you prefer to take the guesswork out of such an adventure, Kayaking Adventures of Tennessee and other outfitters now offer guided trips to the base of the falls from Center Hill Lake. If you decide to take one of their trips, be sure to let them know that Waterfallz.com sent you!
The view of Burgess Falls from below is absolutely awe-inspiring, making the extra effort more than worthwhile.
A well-accessorized picnic area is located near the main parking area - ideal for al fresco dining in the great outdoors. Don’t forget to pack your picnic basket with local delicacies!
Looking for more middle Tennessee adventure? The surrounding region is a treasure trove of waterfall chasing possibilities. Twin Falls, Cummins Falls, Virgin Falls, and Lost Creek Falls are not too far away and make for exhilarating day trips as well.
After your invigorating hike, indulge in the local cuisine – ranging from cozy family-style diners to upscale farm-to-table restaurants. Tennessee's range of southern fare won't disappoint.
There are a few places in Sparta, but you will definitely find more dining choices in nearby Cookeville, Tennessee. Check the Google map below for possibilities as you plan your Burgess Falls trip.
As night falls, local campgrounds and lodges offer respite for tired legs. Whether you prefer camping under the stars or resting in comfortable hotel rooms, options abound for every preference and budget.
We found our Burgess Falls lodging at a hotel in Cookeville during our first visit, but there are many other options listed on the Google map below.
Burgess Falls is more than a tumble of water cascading down rocky terrain. It’s
a captivating symphony of sight and sound that invigorates the senses and
awakens a newfound appreciation for nature’s grandeur.
This waterfall has a powerful allure, inviting hikers, photographers, and daydreamers to soak in its splendor. The combination of the cascading falls, chirping birds, and the delicate scent of wildflowers create an experience that's meditative and deeply rejuvenating.
Nature has a way of speaking without words, and Burgess Falls communicates through its rhythmic chorus of rushing water and whispers of wind rustling through the trees - rarely do man-made structures offer such enchanting acoustics. It reminds us of our deep-rooted connection with nature, and most importantly, with nature’s God, our Creator, Jesus Christ.
If you're planning a trip to Tennessee, make sure Burgess Falls is high on your itinerary. The notable beauty of this waterfall, combined with the thrilling hike and rich local charm, makes this destination a must-see attraction.
Burgess Falls is an indulgence in natural awe. A testament to Tennessee's secret charms, an emblem of the wild beauty the state has to offer, it's an experience that will remain etched in your memory for years to come.
Remember to respect and preserve the sanctity of Burgess Falls and its surrounding eco-system. Leave no trace, stick to the trails and carry with you only the vivid images and experiences of this beautiful waterfall. After all, the future of such pristine and stunning destinations lies in our stewardship. Enjoy your adventure – Burgess Falls awaits you!
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