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Secret waterfalls worth the hike in Tennessee

By Amanda Stravinsky

Little to no crowds. Places of instant respite. Explore these off-the-beaten-path Tennessee waterfalls.

Fall Creek Falls State Park
Credit: Tennessee Tourism

Hikers flock to waterfalls famous for their mighty cascades and photogenic scenery (think Fall Creek Falls, Twin Falls at Rock Island State Park, and Ramsey Cascades to name a few). If you’re looking for Tennessee’s lesser-known-but-still-strikingly-beautiful waterfalls and cascades, here’s your guide to some you may want to check out.

Cane Creek Cascades, Spencer

Located in the Fall Creek Falls State Park, these cascades aren’t as high as the impressive falls of the same name, but they’re easy to get to and you can even climb behind them for a creative photo-op. Take some time to reflect, relax and breathe in the fresh air.  

Carmac Falls, Smithville

Located near Smithville, Tennessee, this waterfall’s hike is a bit steep to get to but the reward is ample. It’s situated on the property of Evins Mill Resort, so call ahead and reserve the day picnic/hike package that’s listed for $25. It’s a great way to spend a romantic afternoon or family outing.

Conasauga Falls, Tellico Plains

The 1.2-mile (2km) is a hike down to the falls but all uphill on your way out so careful footing is essential. It’s secluded with few people expected while hiking to the falls. The trail is accessible April through October. Pack a lunch for an enjoyable Saturday afternoon activity.

Machine Falls, Tullahoma

Travel the Short Springs State Natural Area trail and you’ll come upon these falls with its endless cascading water and opportunities for great photos. The 1.6-mile (2.6km) trail is a loop that’ll take you to the falls and back. For a longer hike, you can cross the bridge to get to the other side of the waterfall. Step carefully as the path can sometimes be slippery.

Sink Creek Falls, Dekalb County

Walk along Sink Creek to find these falls with waters that overlap each other and collect in a picturesque pool.

Falls of Jericho, Belvidere

These falls hug the Tennessee-Alabama line and allegedly, were one of David Crockett’s hunting locations. Explore the 8,900-acre (3,600-hectare) property along hiking and horse trails. The hike is approximately 3.5 miles (5.6km) one way and is downhill. The way back is mostly uphill, so visitors are encouraged to bring plenty of water and snacks for a day out in this beautiful Tennessee property.

Jackson Falls, Duck River 

As you drive along the 444-mile (715km) Natchez Trace Parkway, stop off at milepost 404.7 to stretch your legs and enjoy the falls that are beautifully sculpted as they cascade from the Duck River. A steep trail about 900 feet (275m) long leads you to the base. 

Middle Creek Falls, Signal Mountain

Among the pools of cool water, rocks and stray logs are beautiful waterfalls just waiting to be marveled at. From a steep embankment come the falls that eventually flow into the Tennessee River. Trails aren’t designated so you have to find your way each time, making it quite appealing to avid Tennessee adventurers.