Hike the Machine Falls Loop at Short Springs Natural Area

Tullahoma, Tennessee

4.7/5
based on 9 reviews

Details

Distance

1.6 miles

Route Type

Loop

Description

Added by chase howell

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.

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app

Features

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Forest
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Machine Falls is a pretty hike to a nice waterfall. Most of the hike is an easy woods romp, but there is a steep staircase with a few smooth/slippery spots (head left at the loop fork, or else you'll be hauling up the stairs), and maybe some rockhopping in the creek if you go to the base of the falls. There are usually 15 or 20 people hanging out at the falls. We see lots of families and dogs on the trail. It's usually described as a "hidden gem", but it's extremely popular and well-used by locals. Don't expect solitude. There is paved parking at the water tower. You'll be lucky to find a spot. Recently, all overflow and off-pavement parking is prohibited in an attempt to limit ecodamage. Get there early, or on a weekday... I've had to skip the hike several times due to lack of parking.

It’s so much fun and beautiful the entire way

I really enjoyed this place. It is secluded and not crowed. Not a swimming hole, but able to go up to the falls. It is perfect💕 . Park in the lot with the white water tower and cross the street using the white crosswalk. Careful, lots of poison ivy and oak near the trails.

We hiked this to break up a road trip and we were really happy we did. Easy hike, good directions and a peaceful little hollow. The bugs were a bit thick but not unbearable.

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.

This hike is truly beautiful. It's pretty steep in and out of the gorge. Also bewear of some trees down due to a recent tornado. Be prepared for a bit of an adventure trying to get down to the falls, as the trail runs about 100 yards away from them once you get down to the creek. I would recommend bringing waterproof boots or shoes to get there as you might need to walk through some shallow water to get there.

Despite the rain, we had a great time! The falls are beautiful, the water is ice cold, and the hike was easily marked. The machine falls loop is marked by white blazes, and the other 2 loops are marked by blue or orange blazes. For an hour+ out of the city, it was a great day trip. I'd definitely do it again.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Hike to Lower and Upper Busby Falls

Hike to Rutledge Falls

Hike Old Stone Fort Trail

Hike to Bridal Veil Falls in Sewanee, TN

Hike to Sycamore Falls

Hike the Fiery Gizzard Trail