Hike to Lower and Upper Busby Falls

2 miles 275 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Katie Yarborough

These falls are located near the Machine Falls trail and are less popular than Machine Falls, which will provide you with more solitude to enjoy them to yourself! Only 1 hr drive from Nashville!

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.

Put into your gps "machine falls parking." The gps will take you to the exact parking area. The directions go as follows from Nashville: From I-24 east near Manchester, TN, take exit 111, Hwy 55. Go west toward Manchester. Continue straight through Manchester toward Tullahoma - then, turn right onto Belmont Road after 4.7 miles. Cross the train tracks and the Old Highway and continue on Belmont for 1.3 miles - turn left on Rutledge Falls Dr. After 1.5 miles turn right on Rutledge Falls Rd. On Rutledge Falls Rd go 1.9 miles and turn left on Short Springs Rd. Short Springs Natural Area Trailhead is at the junction of Short Springs Rd and Powell Rd in .9 miles. A huge water tank/tower sits adjacent to the parking area. You will then walk directly across the Short Springs Rd in front of you, where you will see a marker that signifies the start of the trail. 

There is a Busby Falls Loop trail, but it only takes you to the overlook, which can be of a disappointment during the spring and summer, when the trees are full of leaves and block your view. The directions below take you to the Busby Falls base.

If you wish to see Machine Falls, follow the main trail with white blazes and check out the  Machine Falls post. To see Busby Falls, you will follow the main trail and sign directions to Machine Falls. When you've reached the intersection for Machine Falls and the Wildflower loop trail, take the left to the Wildflower loop trail. This trail during the spring showcases some beautiful wildflowers and will be along Bobo Creek. Watch out for copperheads! When you've reached the end of the creek on this trail, the trail will loop back around to Machine Falls intersection, DON'T GO BACK. Continue on by walking down the creek instead (it is rarely above the knees). You will pass an unnamed waterfall that is small but still beautiful seen above in my pictures. Continue down the creek, where you can walk along on the bank by a foot trail. You will pass lower Busby Falls and continue past above the falls to end at upper Busby Falls.

You could eventually keep going down Bobo Creek, if you wanted though this is unchartered paths. Enjoy this view and wading a bit to cool off in the waters that can be chest-deep sometimes. To go back to the parking lot, retrace your steps back down Bobo Creek, jumping back on the Wildflower loop trail, back to Machine Falls trail, and across the street to the parking lot. Remember to pack in and out all trash! There are no restrooms or trash cans here. 

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Swimming Hole


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New path to falls

You can now get to the falls by the Busby Falls Trail. This is an easier path than the Wildflower Trail. On the Busby Trail, take the stairs down to the creek at the wooden bridge. You can walk in the creek down to the upper and lower Busby Falls. We did a little climbing around the side of the falls to keep going. If you keep following the creek below the lower falls, you will reach another smaller waterfall. This area was much less crowded than the Machine Falls trail and waterfall.

So Serene

We took a deer trail off of the Machine Falls Loop to get to the lower falls. We had to climb up to get to Upper Busby & back on an actual trail. I absolutely loved this hike and will be going back. Trekking poles made this possible.

Chill Trail Blazing

Next to no one was there. The best option is to walk / climb down the sides of the waterfalls. Wear shoes with good grip support. Went with a friend & her dog, whose a golden retriever. He did great but the water got a little deep for him at times. I will definitely return.

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