Camping, chasing waterfalls, and an abundance of hiking trails. This is what our weekend camping trip at Fall Creek Falls State Park consisted of. We were lucky to swim at the waterfall, cross suspension bridges, and fall asleep starring at the stars. It was definitely a family camping trip to remember. With this complete and detailed camping and hiking guide, you can learn how to plan a trip this top Tennessee state park too.
Disclaimer: Please proceed with caution to any of these hikes. Only YOU know your limits and experience level. For more information on Safety please refer to our Disclosure Policy.
ABOUT FALL CREEK FALLS STATE PARK
With over 26,000 acres of an outdoor wonderland, Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of Tennessee’s largest and most visited state parks. The park is flowing with gorgeous waterfalls, streams, lakes, gorges, and so much more.
This gorgeous state park is filled with tons of things to do for any type of traveler. Whether you are looking for a place to go group camping or even wanting to go out into the back-country. Fall Creek Falls is the place for you when visiting central Tennessee.
HIKING TO THE WATERFALLS AT FALL CREEK FALLS STATE PARK
Fall Creek Falls State Park is home to one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States, Fall Creek Falls, measuring at 256 feet in height accompanied with 3 other waterfalls: Cane Creek Falls, Cane Creek Cascades, and Piney Falls.
You can view their hiking trails map here for better locations as to where each trail is at the park.
FALL CREEK FALLS
FALL CREEK FALLS OVERLOOK
This gorgeous state park has one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in all of Central Tennessee, Fall Creek Falls. Known for it’s immense height and popularity, it is a well visited waterfall. There are several ways to view this Tennessee gem. You can view it at the overlook of Fall Creek Falls which is perfect for elderly who may not be able to hike the trails. It is located right off the parking lot.
FALL CREEK FALLS BASE TRAIL
You can also take two trails to view the waterfall at two different scenic points. The trail head for both of these trails are found at the overlook. One trail is the Fall Creek Falls Base Trail which will take you to the bottom of the waterfall. This trail is about a 300 foot climb down the mountain. There will be stairs and slippery rocks along the way. We did this trail with kids from the age of 4 and up. My daughter Isabelle (4) did struggle some on her way up the mountain so we had to carry her some of the way. Overall it was worth it. The view of the waterfall from the bottom is stunning.
Distance: 0.35 miles one way
Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate
ROCKY POINT OVERLOOK TRAIL
The overlook trail is a short trail that leads to a scenic overlook giving you a new perspective of Fall Creek Falls. We did this one with older kids and adults and I’m glad we did. I’m not sure how I would of done it with my two girls. I always avoid high bluff areas with my little ones as they are still young and very fearless. Towards the end there is an area where you have to literally climb up to get to the overlook which is the area where I would of been nervous with my kids. Overall, the rest of the trail was fairly easy. From the overlook you can see the mountains around you from a whole new view. It is definitely worth the hike.
Distance: 0.65 miles one way
Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate
PINEY CREEK FALLS
This is one of the larger waterfalls in Fall Creek Falls State Park measuring in height a good 95 feet. It is located about 2 miles away from Fall Creek Falls. We weren’t able to do this hike out to Piney Creek Falls but I wanted to include it in my guide so you wouldn’t miss the opportunity of checking out this gem. There is not much that I can tell you personally about the trail but I have included the trail details below.
TRAIL DETAILS FOR PINEY FALLS TRAIL
Trailhead is at the Fall Creek Falls overlook.
Distance: 0.9 miles one way
Difficulty Level: easy/paved
TRAIL DETAILS TO GET TO THE GORGE
Instead of doing the trail above, you can drive out of Fall Creek Falls Overlook and take a left following signs to Piney Creek Falls. You can park on the side of the road and follow the short trail down the mountain. Please keep in mind that the trail can be difficult and the “overlook” is obstructed with trees so it’s hard to see the waterfall. You best bet to view this fall is to take this trail all the way down. You can read more on how to get to the bottom of this waterfall in this blog post here by The Fall Creek Falls Guide.
CANE CREEK CASCADES
Cane Creek Cascades is absolutely beautiful. This is where we all decided to swim at. There are a few ways you can get there. One is through the Campground Spur Trail (details below) or behind the Nature Center. I would highly recommend arriving early on holiday weekends and during the peak season to get good parking as it can get very crowded. This is also where you will find the suspension bridge. The bridge actually goes above the cascades so on one side of the bridge you can see the creek and on the other side you can see the water falling forming the cascades.
Now quick tip on the suspension bridge. The limit for the bridge is 6 people at a time. Please be courteous of others and make sure to take turns. Like I went during a holiday season, this bridge got a little hectic and some people were in a rush. My family literally had to send someone ahead to stop people from getting on so we can get my grandmother across the bridge without falling or injuring herself. I’m glad we did cause when she arrived to the other side the crowd started clapping and cheering her on so it was very exciting for her to experience that.
SWIMMING AT THE CASCADES
Let’s move to the bottom of the cascades now. You can find a spot and set all of your belongings down and enjoy a swim at the cascades. Make sure to really get in to the falls and enjoy a natural back massage. It is so refreshing to feel that water run down your back especially after hitting the trails. Before heading out don’t forget to walk over to the end of the creek to view the Cane Creek Falls from the top. You will be literally be sitting at the very top of the falls.
I had a question from one of my friends Kieara asking about good hammock spots. I feel that this area is beautiful and has lots of trees around making it easy to find a good hammock spot in this area.
CAMPGROUND SPUR TRAIL
The Campground Spur Trail can be found primitive side of Campground C. It will take you straight from the campground to Cane Creek Cascades and the nature center. In order to get to the Cascades you will have to cross the suspension bridge so if this is something that you don’t feel comfortable in doing I would recommend not taking this trail and driving or walking through the road to the Nature Center parking lot instead.
Distance: 0.15 miles one way (suspension bridge is located on this trail).
Difficulty Level: Easy. When you get closer to the suspension bridge and the cascades their will be stairs for you to make your way down.
CANE CREEK FALLS + ROCKHOUSE FALLS
Cane Creek Falls and Rockhouse Falls are both located next to each other. If you are at the Cane Creek Cascades, you can follow the creek to the top of Cane Creek Falls. Please be careful though as this waterfall is pretty high measuring in height a good 85 feet. You can also view this gorgeous waterfall from a whole new perspective at the overlook next to the Nature Center. If you want to get to the gorge you will have to hike down the Cable Trail. We didn’t have the opportunity to take the Cable Trail but I’ve decided to share some details below in case you choose to do the trail.
You can get to the Cable Trail by parking on the side of the road close to the Nature Center or by hiking the Campground Spur Trail (details above) to the Cane Creek Cascades and then following the road by the Nature Center to the trail-head. The Cable Trail heads to the bottom of Cane Creek Falls and Rockhouse Falls so you will get a good view from the bottom. You can also swim here so definitely bring your swimming essentials.
Distance: 0.10 miles one way
Difficulty Level: Difficult
You will be using a cable to climb your way down. Definitely not for kids or elderly as you will be climbing majority of the way down.
In order to take full advantage of the state park, we decided to camp for our entire stay. Our campsite was #160 on campground C. However, in my opinion I felt like the campsites were very small in size so we decided to scope more spots out for our next visit. I can’t speak as for the other campgrounds (A, B, C, D, and E) but I can give you pointers about the campground that we were in.
I love that it was close to Cane Creek Cascades and Nature Center. Directly behind our campsite you can find the trail-head to Campground Spur Trail that leads to the Cane Creek Cascades (read more above). As far as the best spots for camping on this campground go, I recommend getting Primitive spot P7 which comes with no electric or water. For the campsites with electric and water I would recommend choosing 172, 173, 174, and 158. If you are going in a group then campsite 175 and 176 would work great too. During our stay we met someone who had rented P7 and 158 which are next to each other and their group had lots of room and they had electric and water on campsite 158 so it worked out for all of them. I thought it was a very smart idea so I had to share it on here with you all. The sites I listed especially P7 and 158 have trees on the lots which is perfect for shades during the summer months and hanging up your hammock.
MAKING YOUR CAMPING RESERVATION
You can make your camping reservations through their website here or by calling the number below.
Camping Info & Reservations: 800-250-8611
There is also Group Camping available.
Related Article: Camp Kitchen Essentials
MORE PLACES TO STAY AT
Also if you are looking to stay at Fall Creek Falls but don’t want to camp there are other options as well.
MORE THINGS TO DO
Besides all of the hiking trails and gorgeous waterfalls, Fall Creek Falls has a lot to offer too.
- Kayaking + Canoeing (rentals available)
- Canopy Challenge Course
- Swimming at the swimming pool
- Ice Cream Shop
- Gift Shops
- Golf Course
- Rock Climbing
- Mountain Biking
You can get more details about their activities here.
Don’t forget to check out the Nature Center for some history about this state park along with the coolest ceiling ever in their theater room. It is made of pieces of logs. It looks amazing. Like I want that ceiling in my next house.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT FALL CREEK FALLS
I am the type of person that likes to avoid the crowds. We went for Memorial Day weekend and the place was so packed. I literally woke up at 5 in the morning to get pictures of the waterfalls without having to deal with the people. The one spot that was most packed was the Cable Trail and the Cane Creek Cascades area close to the Nature Center. If you do go during holidays or the peak season, “Summer Time,” then I highly recommend arriving very early to get good parking. As for reservations, I recommend making your reservations three plus months in advanced.
The best time of year to visit Fall Creek Falls would be Spring time in the months March and April (make sure to avoid Spring Break times) and in the Fall towards late August through mid November. Avoid holiday weekends like Labor Day weekends for sure. Winter will be pretty empty as well due to the cold temperatures but is a great time to go visit the park. No swimming in the falls or cascades though during the winter months of course.
Definitely check out their website for more information before going as things may change over time.
WHAT TO PACK
I’m not going to go in to details about every single thing I packed but I do have a few blog posts that can break up the main essentials. I will list them below so it’ll be easier for you to check them out.
- Baby Hiking Essentials
- Hiking Essentials For Kids
- Camp Kitchen Essentials
- Outdoor Female Hygiene
- Must Haves When Camping With Kids
- Must Haves When Camping With Dogs
PARK OFFICE INFORMATION:
2009 Village Camp Road
Spencer, TN 38585
Whew! That was a lot of information. Thank you for sticking with me this long. I think I covered all of the basis for camping and hiking at Fall Creek Falls. I hope this complete guide helps you on your trip here and that you enjoy it as much as we did.
What do you think of Fall Creek Falls? Have you been? or is it on your Tennessee bucketlist? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I love talking with you all on here.
You can check out more of our Tennessee travel guides here if you like. Also, if you enjoyed this article feel free to sign up for our newsletter here or follow our adventures on Instagram so you can stay up to date on upcoming travel adventures, tips, gear reviews, recipes and more. Don’t forget to share or pin to save it. Thank you for reading.
A huge thank you to Robert Conklin for letting me use his Piney Creek photo.