Road Trip Through Eastern Tennessee to Visit 6 State Parks and See Over 10 Waterfalls

Rate this Adventure 20 miles 1200 ft gain  - Point-to-Point Trail

Added by Jess Fischer

Stay at 2 beautiful eastern Tennesssee campsites, one on the edge of a mountainous lake & the other tucked in a beautiful forestVisit 6 different state parks including Rock Falls, Fall Creek Falls, Burgess Falls, Edgar Evins, Cummin Falls and Virgin Falls State Natural AreaHike to over 10 waterfalls and see other amazing natural features such as cavesEach hike is unique whether it be treking through a river gorge or along a mountain topThis trip is family friendly and great to do with a significant other or best friend

Itinerary

Thursday Night: Check into Rock Island State Park CampgroundWhen you get to the park check into your campground at the ranger station right before you get to the campground. Set up camp and enjoy the evening before you go to bed or if you check in earlier in the day, take time to explore Rock Island’s Twin Falls. The check-in time for this campsite starts 1500 but you can check in any time after this, however if you're not occupying your campsite by noon the next day, you lose it. We stayed at the tent only campground at site 55.Rock Island State Park Address: 82 Beach Rd, Rock Island, TN 385811Price for campground in April: $16 a nightSite Features: grass lot, BBQ grill, fire pit, hot showers & bathroom, fresh water, electrical hookupWebsite for Rock Island State Park: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/rock-island

Friday: Fall Creek Falls State Park & Rock Island Twin FallsWake up early, make breakfast and head out to Fall Creek Falls State Park. From the campground the drive takes 50 minutes. Park at the Betty Dunn Nature Center. From here hike the Paw Paw Trail to the Cable Trail (it will take you to the base of the falls in the second picture above). Once you've enjoyed that, hike back out to the parking lot and take the Woodland Trail Loop. This will take you across a swing bridge and then to a bunch of different waterfall outlooks (including the first picture). After you've hiked, jump back into your car and drive the Scenic Loop. Be sure to stop at any overlook you like!From Fall Creek Falls grab lunch at one of the many country stores you pass on your way back to Rock Island State Park. Swing by Rock Island's Twin Falls and enjoy lunch on one of the huge rocks under the falls (third picture). Spend as much time here before driving 10 minutes back to your campsite for the night. There is a two mile trail down to a smaller set of falls from the parking area as well.Website for Fall Creek Falls State Park: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/fall-creek-fallsWebsite for Rock Island State Park: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/rock-island

Saturday: Virgin Falls State Natural Area, Burgess Falls & Check into Edgar Evins State Park CampgroundWake up, pack up camp and then head to Virgin Falls State Natural Area. The drive to Virgin Falls Parking area took 50 minutes. Do the 8.5-mile hike out to see Big Branch Falls, Big Laurel Falls, a few caves and Virgin Falls. If you are not an avid hiker allow yourself the whole day to take the trail at your own pace and enjoy the many waterfalls along the hike; while the hike is hard, it's NOT impossible, just take your time.Optional after Virgin Falls: Drive 45 minutes to Burgess Falls and do the short walk along the river to see the different waterfalls Note: the bottom waterfall (second picture) is currently closedDrive to your next campsite at Edgar Evins State Park. From Burgess falls it takes 40 minutes, from Virgin Falls it takes 1 hour 15 minutes. This campsite is "primitive" meaning you will have to carry your gear a whole 200ft to set up camp. There is a small parking lot close to the site that you can back the car into. I chose this site because it was lake-front. We stayed at site 6P.Edgar Evins State Park Address: 1630 Edgar Evins State Park Rd, Silver Point, TN 38582Price for primitive campground in April: $8 a nightSite Features: gravel lot, fire pit, hot showers & bathroomWebsite for Edgar Evins State Park: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/edgar-evinsWebsite for Virgin Falls: http://www.tennessee.gov/environment/article/na-na-virgin-fallsWebsite for Burgess Falls State Park: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/burgess-falls

Sunday: Cummins Falls State ParkWake up early, have breakfast and pack up camp, then headed to Cummins Falls State Park. The drive takes 40 minutes. It's a really good idea to get to Cummins Falls early in the morning because during the afternoon hoards of people show up to swim in the falls. If you don't head home this day, drive back to Edgar Evins and take a hike around the lake or go swimming!Website for Cummins Falls State Park: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/cummins-falls

Itinerary #1 (What We Did)ThursdayCheck into Rock Island CampgroundEnjoy afternoon/evening, set up camp, etc.

FridayVisit Fall Creek Falls State ParkGrab lunchVisit Rock Island, Twin FallsRelax at campground for early evening & cook dinner

SaturdayPack up campDrive to Virgin Falls & hikeVisit Burgess Falls (if lower waterfall is open)Check into Edgar Evins State Park, set up camp, relax, have dinner, etc.

SundayWake up early & pack up campVisit Cummins Falls State ParkHead Home!

Itinerary #2 (Add an extra day and/or get there early on Thursday)ThursdayCheck into Rock Island Campground late morning/early afternoonVisit Twin Falls in Rock Island State Park after you check in or if you have to wait for your campground to be readyHang out at camp in the evening, relax, go for walk, etc.

FridayVisit Fall Creek Falls State ParkHead back to Rock Island State Park and visit the beach/relaxHead back to campground, relax, cook dinner, etc.

SaturdayPack up campDrive to Virgin Falls & hikeStop by Burgess Falls (if lower waterfall is open)Check into Edgar Evins State Park, set up camp, relax, have dinner, etc.

SundayWake up early and drive to Cummins Falls State ParkHead back to Edgar Evins Campground and take a hike in the park or go swimming

Monday,Wake up, pack up camp & head home

Food OptionsThere are a few options for food.* What we did is we brought backpacking food to eat for various meals (mainly dinner), peanut butter, bread, bananas, apples, trail mix, chips, etc. (for breakfast & snacks), and then ate out for lunch while we were on the road during the day- usually at a local country store.* Bring a cooler. There is a local country store a few miles up from the first campground and a convenience store a few miles down the road from the second campground where you can buy ice daily. Bring hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, beans etc. to make at the campsites for dinner and then lunch meat for sandwiches and whatever you want for breakfast.* Eat out. You're definitely going to be within driving distance of restaurants so technically you could eat out every meal although this tends to add up even for a few days. Pop each state park into Google Maps and research what restaurants are near you before hand and make sure that they will be open during the times that you would want to go.

Swimming Opportunities* Rock Island State Park: there is a beach as well as a cliff next to a waterfall you can jump into the river from* Virgin Falls Hike: there are multiple swimming holes along the trail* Cummins Falls: there is a huge waterfall at the base of the falls* Edgar Evins: there is a beach not far from the campground at the lake

Another Note: Do NOT bring firewood to the campsite with you unless you are a local/bringing it from Tennessee. Bringing foreign wood into new areas brings invasive species, diseases and can reek havoc on ecosystems in the area. There is firewood for purchase at stores near both campsites listed and you are also permitted to burn any dead/downed sticks on the ground

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Tags

Chillin
Camping
Photography
Kayaking
Swimming
Backpacking
Hiking
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Handicap Accessible
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

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