Hike to Twin Falls, TN
Tennessee › Rock Island State Park
Added by Andrew Conaway
This is a rare known gem that I stumbled upon in a calendar of all things in a random state park. An amazing waterfall that few people know about. The magnitude of the waterfall can only be truly appreciated when you hear the roar of it in person.
Upon entering Rock Island State Park from the east, the parking area for this trail is located right after the old cotton mill (my friend and I actually ended up getting lost because it is tucked away there quite nicely). The trail that leads to Twin Falls actually starts at the westernmost part of the parking lot. The beginning of the trail is comprised of stairs that descend fairly rapidly so watch your step as they were soaked when I hiked there. If you go off the beaten path, there is a small waterfall left of the continuation of the trail.
After the stair section is completed, the trail opens up and reveals a lunar-like landscape. From this point, just follow the river, as it leads to the behemoth waterfall. I would recommend staying on the right side of the river, as the waterfall is located on the left, and it only gets more difficult to cross the river as time passes. It is a very short hike to reach the waterfall, but the last quarter mile requires making your way across rocks which takes a considerable amount of time if you desire not to twist an ankle. After passing the "bridge" leading to a dam lookout for personnel-only, the waterfall should be revealed in all its glory.
I highly recommend making your way to the rock closest to the waterfall (on the right side of the river) as you can get the full-effect of the power of Twin Falls - by its roar and its watershed. Just make sure you walk carefully and don't get in the water, because it is exceptionally strong and exceedingly dangerous.
The last thing I will mention is that this area is affected by the Great Falls Dam (located a couple miles upstream). When my friend, Nathan, and I were there sirens went off. This was clearly a warning of an influx of water that would soon occur. We of course ignored it because we were trying to get the perfect picture. But I would not recommend this, as I do not know how far in advance the warning alarm goes off. If you are worried whether or not you will be able to hear this alarm....you need not be. It is deafening. That is why I jokingly suggest bringing earplugs. In summary, this is a phenomenal hike that is perfect for the inexperienced, or those looking for a really short hike with a big reward.
- Shoes that can get wet
- Possibly earplugs
- Clothes that can get wet (watershed is ridiculous!!)
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It was an easy and short hike but the river and the falls was pretty neat. When I went, there was a gnarly kayaker paddling back and forth at the base of the falls with a go-pro helmet. Which was pretty cool. Best time to visit is probably spring/summer when there's more vegetation and what not. Especially if you're trying to photograph.
Short Hike But Worth It
Was a pretty short hike, but after climbing around on the rocks below the falls it's the perfect distance. We went early when there was hardly anyone in the park but that changed by the afternoon. The Falls themselves are amazing and if you can, bring a lunch or something to eat below them. But be prepared to jump rocks to get there and wear waterproof or water shoes if you have them!
Twin Falls is a nice trail, the best time visit is when the dam is generating in my opinion. The coolest feature is towards the end of the trail, where you can look back and see the whole river. If you do visit while the river is raging be sure to look out for giant whirlpools in the water. Very cool to watch.
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