10 of the Most Stunning Waterfalls in East Tennessee

Written by Volia Nikaci
Published: June 3, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/7Michael
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Hiking to waterfalls is the best way to spend a summer day. You’ll want to head to East Tennessee if you are looking for a great place to chase waterfalls. If you don’t know what waterfalls to look for, then here’s a list. Take a look at the ten most stunning waterfalls in East Tennessee that you can’t afford to miss.

1. Emory Gap Falls

Emory Gap Falls Tennessee
The Emory Gap Trail connects the Panther Branch Trail to the Emory Gap Waterfall.

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Location:Wartburg, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Frozen Head State Park
Animals to See:American Robin, Wood Thrush

There is a waterfall named Emory Gap Falls at the end of the Emory Gap Trail. The Emory Gap Trail is a 2.5-mile out-and-back trail suitable for hikers of all levels. The waterfall is accessible from the Panther Branch Trailhead and is the second waterfall on the path. Debord Falls is the first waterfall on the path. The Emory Gap Falls is a beautiful place to explore Tennessee’s natural landscape.

2. Angel Falls Overlook

Location:Oneida, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Big South Fork National Recreation Area
Animals to See:White-tailed Deer, Black Bear

Angel Falls is a four-mile out-and-back hike (2 miles each way). From the Leatherwood Ford parking lot, it follows along the Cumberland River. Once you get to the end of the trail you’ll see the beautiful Angel Falls. The hike is definitely worth the effort to see one of the prettiest waterfalls in East Tennessee.

3. Bald River Falls

Bald River Falls Tennessee
Drive past Bald River Falls in East Tennessee or trek through the Bald River Gorge and watch them fall over 100 feet into the rocks below.

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Location:Tellico Plains, TN
Nearby Attractions:Cherokee National Forest
Animals to See:Fox, Skunk

This waterfall in East Tennessee is one of the most easily accessed, and you can even see it from the window of your car. The waterfall is estimated to be between 90 and 100 feet tall. This waterfall is on the Tellico River Road, which was created on an old logging road and has big boulders, spectacular rock formations, fast-flowing whitewater, and lush vegetation. There’s truly nothing better than driving to a waterfall on a hot day.

4. Ozone Falls

Ozone Falls near Crab Orchard, Tennessee
Ozone Falls is a waterfall in Cumberland County, Tennessee, and is part of the Ozone Falls State Natural Area.

Adam DeMoss/Shutterstock.com

Location:Crossville, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Ozone Falls State Natural Area
Animals to See:Cooper’s Hawk, Mourning Dove

There is no better waterfall in East Tennessee than this 43-acre natural area located just off Interstate 40. The 110-foot-long Ozone Falls cascades from the top of a sandstone rock into a pool. The waterfall cascades into a pool and emerges downstream. This location was even used in the movie “Jungle Book”! You can’t go wrong with this waterfall, which is sure to make for great photos.

5. Cane Creek Cascades

Cane Creek Cascades
Cane Creek Cascades is located behind the nature center in Fall Creek Falls State Park.

Kannan Sundaram/Shutterstock.com

Location:Spencer, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Fall Creek Falls State Park
Animals to See:Great Horned Owl, Copperhead Snakes

This waterfall in East Tennessee is not the highest or the most impressive, but it is absolutely beautiful. In fact, you can walk behind the waterfall to breathe in the fresh air of nature and take in the beauty of the gushing water. The falls can be found in Fall Creek Falls State Park which is located in Spencer, Tennessee. Considering Cane Creek Falls is easy to get to and doesn’t require climbing, it’s perfect if you want to spend more time soaking up the rays of the sun.

6. Cummins Falls

Cummins Falls
Cummins Falls in Cookeville is Tennessee’s eighth-largest waterfall by volume.

Jim Vallee/Shutterstock.com

Location:Jackson County, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Cummins Falls State Park
Animals to See:Blue Jay, American Robin

Cummins Falls is in Jackson County, near Cookeville, in Cummins Falls State Park. The park covers over 200 acres and boasts the absolutely spectacular 75-foot Cummins Falls. Swimming is a great way to cool off after the one-mile hike to the falls. There are two miles of rough terrain to cover during the round trip.

7. Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls 
In the Great Smoky Mountains, a 3-mile walk winds through the forest and behind the 25-foot waterfall known as Grotto Falls.

iStock.com/Wilsilver77

Location:Gatlinburg, TN
Nearby Attractions:Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Animals to See:Bobcats, Elk

This waterfall in East Tennessee is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the only waterfall you can walk behind in the Smokies. Getting to this waterfall is a moderate hike that is about three miles. A great place to start hiking if you’re a beginner.

8. Blue Hole Falls

Location:Elizabethton, TN
Nearby Attractions:Cherokee National Forest
Animals to See:Woodchuck, River Otter

In Cherokee National Forest northeast of Elizabethton, you’ll find Blue Hole Falls, a stunning multi-section waterfall. There is a half-mile trail that leads to the falls. If you want to enjoy a cooler climate and quieter places, we recommend going in spring or autumn, when crowds are less likely. At the base of Blue Hole Falls, there is even a swimming pool that many people take advantage of in the hot summer months!

9. Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls
Ruby Falls is a 145-foot-tall subterranean cascading waterfall on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock.com

Location:Chattanooga, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Lookout Mountain
Animals to See:Groundhogs, Rabbits

At Ruby Falls, you will find the deepest and highest subterranean waterfall in the United States. The roaring waterfall, hidden deep beneath the 2,388-foot peak of Lookout Mountain, attracts almost 500,000 visitors every year. It is also possible to take guided tours that cover a variety of topics, including one-mile treks through caves that are ideal for families.

10. Benton Falls

Benton Falls Tennessee
The spectacular Benton Falls is most impressive in the fall when the waterfall has a height of more than 70 feet.

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Location:Polk County, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Cherokee National Forest
Animals to See:Beaver, Toads

Enjoy the breathtaking Benton Falls in the Cherokee National Forest on this simple, dog-friendly hike. A favorite summer getaway, Benton Falls offers a lot for a little effort. An impressive 65-foot waterfall greets you at the base of Benton Falls. However, it is much more powerful if it’s rained recently.

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About the Author

Volia Nikaci is a copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in SEO content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College.