Burgess & Cummins Falls State Parks

I don’t know about you but Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I just love all the colors  during this time of year.

My hubby and I try to do a few day & weekend trips every year and we always plan at least one of those during the fall.

We did 2-3 short trips last year in 2017 and one of our day trips was to Burgess Falls State Park and Cummins Falls State Park. These two parks are only about 30 mins apart so you definitely should do them both if you are visiting this area.

At Burgess Falls, there is a 1.5-mile round-trip trail that is a moderately strenuous hike. It takes you past 4 waterfalls and into the gorge.

The waterfalls are 20’ cascades, 30’ upper falls, 80’ middle falls, and 136’ lower falls in height. The last of these is the most spectacular, plunging more than 130 ft into the gorge.

There used to be a metal stairway that led to the bottom of the gorge and you could walk right up to the bottom of the waterfall.

However, due to the stairway becoming structurally unsafe, they have now been closed. I took this picture a few years ago when they were still open.enhanceenhanceIMG_0022The park offers several activities throughout the year including fishing and wildlife and wildflower viewing. There are several picnic tables & grills as well as a large covered pavilion that can be reserved for large groups.

There is also a Butterfly Garden that is adjacent to the upper parking area. It provides beautiful native wildflower displays.

Each year the park holds a Butterfly Garden Celebration It’s a family-friendly event featuring staff led educational programs, hikes, butterfly identification, creek studies, landscaping with native plants and more hosted each summer.

There are also week long Junior Ranger Camps offered to local youth every summer.

The first waterfall you come to isn’t that impressive but beautiful nonetheless. I would highly recommend you visit during the fall! enhanceenhanceI couldn’t stop taking pictures while walking the trail as the colors were so vibrant!enhanceenhanceenhanceYou will also pass several small “waterfalls” on the trail. enhanceenhanceYou will then come to the 2nd waterfall which is a bit more impressive than the first one.

enhanceenhanceenhance.jpegThere are a few benches along the way in case you get tired but the hike isn’t too strenuous.enhanceYou will then reach the 3rd waterfall…they keep getting better.enhanceThere used to be a wooden observation deck at this waterfall but it has since been closed.

You will then come to the last and most impressive waterfall. There’s a wooden observation deck for better views.


enhanceThe hike continues a little bit further until the trail ends at the water’s edge. This is a great spot for a picnic.

Unfortunately, we had left our lunch in the car to eat after we finished our hike but I would have much rather eaten it here instead.enhanceenhanceenhanceenhanceenhanceYou also have views of the top of the falls from this location. enhanceenhanceAfter spending a couple of hours here, we were ready for lunch so we hiked back to the top and enjoyed our picnic lunch.enhanceenhanceenhanceenhanceAfter lunch, we headed to Cummins Falls State Park. Like I said earlier, it’s only about 30 mins from Burgess Falls.

Cummins Falls is a 211 acre day use park and is Tennessee’s 8th largest waterfall in volume of water and has a 75 ft drop. This place stays very crowded during the summer as it provides a swimming hole for many of the locals.

The main parking area, restrooms, trailheads and a designated picnic area are located above the falls. The overlook is nearby and can be accessed by foot. ADA access is available upon request.

The gorge and waterfall are not easily accessed and can only be reached by foot.
There are two routes that descend into the gorge.

One is approximately one mile and the other is approximately 1.5 miles.
Both routes are steep with uneven terrain and have significant elevation drops.

Natural trail surfaces are varied and include water crossings, boulders and other obstacles. This is not considered a trail and is not recommended for small children.

There are designated picnic areas and I would highly recommend you eat your lunch there and not hike down the gorge with a cooler.

Actually, it’s best to keep both hands free as you will probably need them hiking down so take a backpack with snacks and plenty of water.

There are several hikes around this area.

There have been several deaths at this falls due to drowning and flash flooding so I highly recommend you take all precautions before hiking down to the waterfall.

There are many options if you want to spend the night in this area. From camp sites, to RV parking to cabin rentals. Check out the link here for reservations.

The road that leads to the parking area for the falls. enhanceThe hike to the observation area is a very easy & beautiful hike. enhanceenhanceenhanceenhanceAfter a short hike, you will arrive at the overlook area. We only took a few shots of the waterfall and left. We didn’t have time to hike to the bottom.enhanceThere were people that had hiked to the bottom and you can see them in the pic below.enhanceIf you are ever in this area I highly recommend these two falls. They are more crowded during Spring and Fall and of course, on weekends.

Click here for more trails and click here for more waterfalls near Nashville.

Thanks for reading!









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