Incredible hike to one of the best falls in the Southeast—just one and a half hours from Nashville and four from Atlanta. Completely isolated in the winter, and one of the most popular swimming holes you'll find during the summer.

Catch the trailhead down to the falls at the parking lot. The trail quickly approaches the rim of the river gorge to provide hikers with a great bird's eye view of the falls. After snapping a few photos of the falls from above, follow the clearly marked trail down to the river's edge. From there, hikers have to do a little bit of bushwhacking. Follow the water upstream, skirting the banks of the river. At some point, hikers must cross the river. However, where they cross will depend on whether they prefer a shallow, but wide section of the river, or a deeper, but narrower section of the river. For hikers who are not too steady on their feet, the wider areas tend to have slower moving water, making it easier to cross. Caution: during the winter, the water can be extremely cold. Most hiking boots are not tall enough to traverse the water and keep a hiker's feet dry. It is best to cross barefoot or with water shoes, but be prepared for a bit of a shock when you first stick your foot in the water.

Once on the other side of the river, continue down to where the river bends to the left. Traverse the large boulders around the bend until you see the falls. From there, it's the hiker's choice of how to approach—either from the right or left side of the river. It's generally easier to go from the right, as it involves one less river crossing. The best location to take photos is also from the right, but that may be left up to interpretation. Spend as much time as you like at the falls and return the same way you came. Once back on the marked section of the trail, there will be a short cut option on the left about a quarter of a mile back up that takes hikers directly back to the parking lot instead of by the falls overlook again.

Pack List

  • Camera & tripod (if you want to do some long exposures)
  • Backpack (to have your hands free for the river crossings)
  • Towel
  • Walking stick (for the river crossings)
  • Sunscreen (if swimming)
  • Water shoes (if you do not want to cross the river barefoot)
Show More
RT Distance 4 Miles
Elevation Gain 800 Feet
Activities Photography, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Amazing Day

This trail is rated beginner, and i believe it wasn’t treacherous, however, it is not easy at all. Bigger ppl will definitely have difficulty getting up from the belly. Also, once in the belly, getting to the falls is a lot of rock climbing and challenging. We were amazed at the sights, sounds and beauty of this hike. Hanging at the water falls was the perfect reward while hiking in 90’s temps.

Popular falls

It was crazy with people. We had to wait in line to enter the trails and while on the trails there were times that we stood still. The falls are beautiful.

So scenic

We took a breathtaking hike on the areas left traveled. It is definitely not for beginners once you're off the trails. Bring a pair of water shoes or even just a change of shoes. The terrain makes for a great hike. We took many paths we shouldn't have, but it was well worth the time.


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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

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