Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
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Piney Falls State Natural Area is a small patch of protected land just outside of Spring City, Tennessee, featuring hiking trails and waterfalls, including the namesake Piney Falls. The park consists of a few trails that lead to different waterfalls all stemming from the same trailhead along Firetower Road. Although there are many waterfalls in the area, especially during periods of high rainfall, the main attractions are the Upper and Lower Piney Falls.

From the trailhead you will hike an easy half mile to a meadow where the trail splits off in several directions. If you take the trail to the right, you will come to the top of the Upper Piney Falls after about a third of a mile. This is a dead end where you can get some cool photos from a different vantage point, or just relax, have a snack, and enjoy the sounds of the water falling. You will have to go back the way you came to the meadow again because there is no way to get to the bottom of the falls from here. 

Once back at the meadow, taking the path straight ahead will lead to another fork in the trail about a quarter of a mile further into the woods. Here you have the option of going down to the left, which will take you to the top of Lower Piney Falls about a half mile down; however, there is no trail to the bottom of the lower falls. Or, you can go to the right and head to the bottom of Upper Piney Falls, which provides the best views and spots to hang out and enjoy being out in nature. From the split, the bottom of the falls is about a half mile away, and the trail can get pretty steep in a few areas. If you plan on going to the bottom, make sure to wear good shoes and use caution. This section of the trail also features some incredible rock walls and formations right along the trail. If you're a climber or enjoy bouldering, there are some great spots in this area. 

Once you get to the bottom of Upper Piney Falls, it opens up quite a bit. Depending on the rainfall, it is usally pretty deep at the bottom and makes for a great swimming hole during the warmer months. Even if swimming isn't your thing, you can still cool off by following the trail behind the falls where the clouds of mist will cool you off. You can even bring lawn chairs and set up right behind the falls in the shaded cave and enjoy all the relaxing sounds and views nature provides!

Piney Falls State Natural Area is never very crowded due to its secluded location in a smaller town. This makes it a perfect spot for a family or a more private hike for couples. The park is pet friendly as well, meaning the whole family can tag along for the adventure! There are many incredible, well known parks in East Tennessee, but it is the smaller and lesser known ones like Piney Falls that become favorites for so many people due to the incredible landscapes and features that aren't so popular and crowded as those in the Smokies. 

So grab the family, pack up the cooler, set the GPS to Rhea County, Tennessee, and go chase some waterfalls! You never know what youre going to find out there!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Waterfalls. Rock formations. Not crowded.


Out of the way. Can be hard to find.


Family friendly
Near lake or river
Native artifacts
Bird watching


Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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