Hike the Machine Falls Loop at Short Springs Natural Area

Machine Falls Parking Area

This is a very nice hike to a beautiful, secluded waterfall 1 hour from Nashville.  It makes for the perfect day trip to the crisp and photogenic Machine Falls. 

The Machine Falls loop at Short Springs Natural Area is a 1.6 mile round trip hike easily followed by white blazes.  It is rated moderate difficulty due to the short, steep descent into a gorge where the falls is located.  The trail is sparsely trafficked; there are usually quite a few people hanging out at the falls on the weekend. 

There is also an alternate route to Bugsby Falls following Bobo Creek Trail, which is another loop trail that leads you down to Bobo Creek, where you can chose to do the 1.2 mile Laurel Bluff trail. This loops back to the Bobo Creek Trail. I highly recommend doing these trails as well if you have enough time.  They aren't as heavily trafficked and are very pretty hikes.

Pack List

  • Daypack  
  • Water  
  • Snacks 
  • Trekking poles (if shaky legs) 
  • Hiking sandals 
  • Friends!
Show More
RT Distance 1.6 Miles
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Dog Friendly


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Beautiful Falls

Not a far hike to the falls which are gorgeous. Rain boots (winter) or water shoes (summer) make getting over to the falls easier. We scaled the side/edge of the water to get over to the falls. I will hike this again. We did not take the loop back, there is an awesome deer trail over to another falls (Busby) that isn’t marked but not hard to follow.


It is not a hike for the faint of heart. However, making it to Machine Falls is worth it. It is a beautiful waterfall!


One of my favorite go-to for a day hiking spot. Always a sweet spot for an easy hike with a treat of a view with that waterfall. I definitely make a point to go early to beat any crowds in the summertime. Worth it.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike to Lower and Upper Busby Falls

Short Springs Natural Area is where these falls are located. There is a decent amount of hiking trails that are a nice getaway for a day to hang out at for waterfalls.

168 Saves

Hike Old Stone Fort Trail

The main hiking trail at this small state park follows the wall of Old Stone Fort which was used by the Native Americans as a ceremonial gathering place.

6 Saves

Hike to Bridal Veil Falls in Sewanee, TN

Great short hike. Hard to find trail head, it is not marked at the parking area or where you leave the road.  Put in your gps the coordinate spot tagged above off Clara Point Rd.

147 Saves