It’s time to check out the waterfalls in Tennessee that families love! The Volunteer State is packed with natural beauty. Waterfalls are just one of the wonders that the state has to offer explorers. Caverns, archeological sites, mountains, scenic roadways through the woods, and more grace the surface of TN.
No matter what age your children are or how experienced you all are as hikers, you are sure to find the perfect waterfall to visit with your family. You can take a look below at the location of the waterfalls and learn about the specifics of each one below.
Let’s get started!
21 Charming Waterfalls In Tennessee That Families Will Love
How many waterfalls are in Tennessee?
There are around 80 waterfalls in Tennessee State Parks. And more than 800 waterfalls altogether!
Tennessee waterfalls map
- Cummins Falls State Park
- Burgess Falls State Park
- Jackson Falls
- Margarette Falls Trail
- Laurel Falls
- Ruby Falls
- Fall Creek Falls State Park
- Rainbow Falls
- Twin Falls Drive
- Greeter Falls
- Patten Road
- Cane Creek
- Foster Falls State Natural Area
- Ozone Falls
- Abrams Falls Trail
- Grotto Falls Trailhead
First up on our list of Tennessee waterfalls is Machine Falls. Where is Machine Falls located? This enchanting waterfall is located in Tullahoma, Tennessee, and is one of the most beautiful and unique waterfalls in Tennessee.
If you are looking for waterfalls near Nashville, you will want to put Machine Falls on your radar. This secluded waterfall is only about an hour from Nashville in the Short Springs Natural Area. It only takes a 1.6-mile round-trip hike to see the falls.
However, you can extend your trip to four miles by combining loop trails. This will allow you to see not only Machine Falls, but Busby Falls, Laurel Bluff, and Adams Falls as well.
Arguably one of the most remarkable and visually stunning waterfalls in Tennessee to swim in. Cummins Falls is on the Blackburn Fork River in Cummins Falls State Park. The hike to the falls is a moderately challenging hike on a 2.4-mile out and back trail near Bloomington Springs TN.
You have to pay an admission fee to enter the park, but once you are inside, there are spaces for swimming, hiking, and picnicking. Swimming here isn’t recommended for kids under five, and children under twelve must wear a life jacket when swimming.
One of the prettiest waterfalls in Tennessee is Burgess Falls. The sprawling waterfall tumbles down a 250-foot rock facing into a blue pool below. The 1.6-mile out-and-back trail near Baxter, TN takes you to the falls. But, you can also access it via water!
You can kayak, jet ski, or boat to the bottom of this incredible waterfall. While swimming is not permitted here, you are welcome to grill and have a picnic with river views. Plus, there is also a playground and restrooms nearby, making this one of the best things to do in Tennessee with kids.
When looking for family-friendly waterfalls in Tennessee, it is important not to overlook Benton Falls. An easy 1.5-mile hike in the Cherokee National Forest leads you to the stunning Benton Falls, then you will walk the 1.5 miles back The water tumbles down more than 60 feet onto rock steps below the rock cliff.
Keep in mind that this is in bear country so you should stay alert while you are hiking to and from the waterfall. Also, be aware that there is a small entrance fee to access the trailhead and waterfall.
Jackson Falls along the Natchez Trace Parkway is one of the most kid-friendly waterfalls in Tennessee. There are restrooms, a large parking area, and a picnic area around the hiking trail, so you and your little ones can stop for
This waterfall easily. makes the list of best waterfalls near Nashville. Only about an hour from the country music capital of the world, Jackson falls is one of the most highly visited Nashville waterfalls. A short 0.4-mile out-and-back trail takes you to the falls.
This is a highly liked trail as it is so short and you are rewarded with a lovely waterfall for your efforts. It only takes around 10 minutes to complete, making it perfect for those with young kids or children who aren’t big fans of hiking.
Bald River Falls
If you are looking for long hikes in Tennessee with waterfalls, Bald River Falls is where you will want to be. As kids get older and more experienced in the hiking world, you may be ready to take the plunge to longer hikes. The trail to Bald River Falls is a great way to expand your horizons.
The water cascades more than 100 feet onto the rock below the falls. You can choose to view the falls from your car if you aren’t feeling so adventurous or you can make the short hike above the falls that goes through the Bald River Gorge.
You can also hike the entire length of the Bald River Trail. The trail is 8.8 miles long and gains around 770 feet in elevation. Ranked as moderate in difficulty, this trail is doable for families with children who are used to hiking. Visiting the waterfall on this trail makes Bald River Falls one of the most exciting and adventurous waterfalls in Tennessee.
Margarette Falls Trail is among the best hikes in Tennessee with waterfalls. Located in the Cherokee National Forest, this waterfall is a picturesque fan-shaped fall that drops around sixty feet down a stair-stepped rock cliff. At one point in time, the forest around the waterfall was once the home to the largest logging operation in the county.
Today, when you start your hike to the waterfall, you will pass the location of the once thriving logging camp where there was a dining hall, store, boarding house, and other support buildings. The trail is 2.4 miles out and back near Greenville, TN.
The elevation gain is mild on this trail around 620 feet and the difficulty rating is moderate. Fur parents will be happy to know that Margarette Falls is among the dog-friendly waterfalls in Tennessee. (Keep in mind that they must be leashed.)
Spruce Flats Falls
Spruce Flats Falls can be reached via a 1.8-mile round-trip trail. It is considered an easy-to-moderate trail through the Smoky Mountains. The trail is through an area that used to be used for logging; you can expect some rocky and ragged areas along the trail.
Of all the falls in Tennessee, this is one of the most visually appealing. Three separate cascades tumble down the rounded rocky mountainside. By far, Spruce flats is one of the best waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains.
Another one of the great waterfalls in east Tennessee, Laurel Falls is stunning and comes complete with a charming wooden bridge in front of the falls. The hikes to the falls can take about two hours as the round trip distance is around two and a half miles.
If you have plans to visit the mountain town of Asheville, NC, make sure to make the drive to Laurel Falls. It is one of the best waterfalls near Asheville to visit with kids.
The trail is flat and mostly paved so it is perfect for newbie hikers, young kids, and those with physical limitations. The trail is around 2.3 miles round trip and only gains around 315 feet in elevation gain. Visiting Laurel Falls is one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg with kids!
If you are looking for Chattanooga waterfalls to visit on your Tennessee adventures, keep Ruby Falls on your radar; it is among the best waterfalls near Chattanooga. The waterfall was accidentally discovered in the 1920s deep inside of Lookout Mountain by Leo Lambert.
What places Ruby Falls among the best waterfalls in Tennessee for families is its unique location and the things to do at Lookout Mountain. You’ll descend 260 feet in a glass front elevator down into the ancient cave. The Cave Walk to Ruby Falls takes about an hour to an hour and a half. There’s an entrance fee to the cave, but it is more than worth it to see this unique site in TN!
Fall Creek Falls
For those looking for short hikes in Tennessee, Fall Creek Falls is perfect. As Tennessee’s largest waterfall, this waterfall is used to making draws drop. More than 250 feet the water tumbles down into a rounded gorge.
A short one-mile hike will lead you to one of the best dog-friendly waterfalls in Tennessee. It’s wonderful news that Fall Creek Falls is dog friendly as it is among the most highly visited falls in the state.
Surprisingly, there is no fee to visit the falls. If you are a big fan of films, you may recognize this site. It has been the filming location for many productions including The Jungle Book, Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam, and Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.
Rainbow Falls is among the most highly visited waterfalls near Pigeon Forge. This stunning cascade falls around eighty feet in the woods in the Great Smoky Mountains. The first mile of the trail will follow along LeConte Creek, passing beautiful greenery before crossing a log foot bridge over the creek about two miles into the hike.
You will cross a couple of other bridges on your way to the breathtaking falls. The hike is roughly 2.7 miles one way with an elevation change of 1700 feet. There are rocky sections and switchbacks on the trail; as such, it is best suited for families with older children.
Despite the long hike and moderate difficulty rating, Rainbow Falls still effortlessly makes the list of best waterfalls in Tennessee for families due to its beauty, bridge crossings, natural features along the way, and photo-worthiness.
Beautiful Twin Falls in White County, TN is arguably the most outstanding of the kid-friendly waterfalls in Tennessee. The waterfall is located in Rock Island State Park where the rugged beauty and confluence of Caney Fork, and the Collin and Rocky Rivers rest.
There are opportunities for camping and other activities in the park, including events. Various festivals, guided trips, and more are held at Rock Island State Park. The trail to the falls is 1.6 miles out and back. It is rated as easy in difficulty and is both kid-friendly and dog friendly!
Also called Cul-car-mac Falls, this waterfall is a photographer’s dream. Just a short wooded hike stands between you and the remarkable 90-foot Carmac Falls. This waterfall undoubtedly draws many a visitor; however, it is on the private property of Evins Mill.
The mill has a resort and a special events venue. You can access the falls by being a guest at the resort or checking out one of the day tripper packages. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance, so if you and your kiddos plan on visiting this TN waterfall, be sure to plan ahead.
The fall itself is one of the best waterfalls near Nashville so it only makes sense that many will want to add it to their Tennessee bucket list.
Among the toddler and kid-friendly waterfalls in Tennessee is Greeter Falls. By far one of the greatest short waterfall hikes in Tennessee, this waterfall is reachable via a loop trail that leads to not one, but three waterfalls, along with bluffs and a historical site. You can find the trailhead across from the Greeter Falls Parking Lot.
The waterfall is located in South Cumberland State Park. And what’s so great about TN state parks is that there are no entrance fees. It is free to visit Greeter Falls so if you are visiting Tennessee on a budget, you should add it to your Volunteer State itinerary!
Lovers Leap Falls/High Falls
This unique waterfall in Tennessee got its name from an old Cherokee legend. It says that two young lovers were from feuding tribes. One was caught and tossed over the edge; the other, so distraught, threw themselves over the edge as well.
High Falls drops more than 140! There is a trail leading to the waterfall that is wheelchair and stroller accessible. This makes High Falls one of the best waterfalls in Tennessee for those traveling with babies or toddlers.
Cane Creek Falls
Another one of the stunning waterfalls in Tennessee for families, Cane Creek Falls is located in Fall Creek Falls State Park. This trail is ideal for families with young children as it is rated as easy in difficulty, crosses an interesting suspension bridge, and is only around half a mile in length.
The easy access and gorgeous falls obviously make this a super popular area in the park. So, be sure to visit early or on weekdays if possible. It’s also important to note that this is among the dog-friendly waterfalls in Tennessee!
If you are looking for waterfalls in Tennessee that you can swim in, Foster Falls is for you! This striking fall is the ideal location for some outdoor reading, photography, relaxation, swimming, or laying in your hammock. This has to be one of the most relaxing and ethereal locales in Tennessee.
It is reachable on the super easy route that takes less than ten minutes to complete. Located near Sequatchie, Tennesse, this waterfall is a must for anyones adventurous Tennessee travel itinerary!
One of the coolest hidden waterfalls in Tennessee is Ozone Falls in the Ozone Falls State Natural Area. Families will love the fantasy-like setting of Ozone Falls. The fall is among the most heavily visited in the state thanks to the unique way the water pours into the rounded gorge below itself.
Sandstone and greenery surround the gorge creating a little oasis on the Cumberland Plateau. Like Fall Creek Falls, Ozone Falls was one of the locations for filming the Jungle Book. The small glades and open areas made for dreamy little spots for filming.
Dog owners should know that while dogs are allowed on a leash, they are not recommended.
Heading back to the Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee, Abrams Falls is a must for experienced hiking families. The beauty of the falls speaks for itself, but there are other reasons to take the five-mile hike as well.
First, this is a very powerful waterfall. Seeing and hearing the power of the falls can be a change of scenery after visiting some of the calmer waterfalls in Tennessee. You will also be nearby to Cades Cove. This is a super popular area in the mountains that you will want to check out if you visit Abrams Falls.
Driving the Cades Cove Loop is an opportunity to see Black Bears, historical sites, fields of horses, see other wildlife like deer and elk, and simply enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
hiking trails with waterfalls in Tennessee, Looking for waterfalls in Gatlinburg? Grotto Falls is one of the best Gatlinburg waterfalls. You will take the Trillium Gap Trail through an old-growth Hemlock forest to reach the falls. The trail itself actually goes behind/beneath the waterfall.
The roundtrip is around three miles and offers families fun opportunities to see wildlife. Salamanders in particular love this area as the environment is ideal for them. If you like doing scavenger hunts on your hikes to keep the little ones entertained, this is a good place for it!
Hopefully, this list of waterfalls in Tennessee will help you guide your family travel plans as you create your exciting plan of action for exploring the state. Whether traveling with babies, toddlers, or older kids, there are waterfalls that will fit your needs as a family.
So, tell us, which of these family-friendly waterfalls in Tennessee will you visit first?
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