Tennessee is a state rippled from east to west with ridges and valleys, and rivers run among them, tumbling over contours of the land in innumerable waterfalls. In fact, Tennessee may have more cascades than any other state in the Southeast, thanks to bountiful rainfall and rich topography. Here are just 7 of the best, so many more await exploration. Because it's too hard to pick favorites, these must-see waterfalls are listed in order from west to east, so you can line up a trip and visit them all!
A favorite Tennessee waterfall, swimming hole, and rock climbing area, Foster Falls never disappoints. You can see it well from a viewing area near the parking lot, or take a short hike for a better look. If the water level is not too high, you can even get behind the falls.
A short hike leads to one of the tallest waterfalls in Tennessee, 250-foot Burgess Falls near Cookeville. It is unique not only for its height, but also its shape. While most waterfalls form a ledge that is either straight or curved toward the upstream, Burgess protrudes outward in a large triangle, and water streams down on all sides.
This waterfall makes an amazing swimming hole in the summer and a rewarding hike during any time of year. The water tumbles over multiple ledges, creating irresistible benches and pools in the cool water below the falls.
A less well-known waterfall on the Cumberland Plateau, Waterloo Falls hides down a country road, but it welcomes those who find it with a pretty set of cascades. Trails here are unmaintained, so use caution. You can also venture farther upstream to find an upper falls and a gem of a swimming hole.
When driving into the mountains from Tellico Plains, you're sure to tap your breaks and turn your head when passing Bald River Falls, which appears seemingly out of nowhere beside the road. It tumbles more than 100 feet before entering the Tellico River near another pretty cascade, Baby Falls.
In a land of waterfalls, Abrams Falls really stands out among the rest. Deep in the Smoky Mountains, An impressive column of water drops into a large and turbulent pool, making quite the sight for hikers who make it this far on the rugged but popular trail.
Another favorite waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Rainbow Falls cascades off the slopes of one of the range's highest peaks, Mount LeConte. You don't have to travel very far up the mountain to find this treasure, however.