Fall Creek Falls State Park: An Overview – by Millette Jones
Home to the tallest waterfall in the eastern United States (256ft. FCF), this Tennessee state park is a perfect destination for the nature lover. The park has over 22,000 acres of land to explore. The park sits on the eastern rim of the Cumberland Plateau along the Upper Cane Creek watershed. For the nature-seeker there are numerous hiking and biking trails, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, and camping opportunities and for those not as adventurous there is an Olympic-size swimming pool, a nature center, restaurant, playgrounds and picnic pavilions.
The six most impressive waterfalls in the park can all be seen in an afternoon. The 256’ Fall Creek Falls has a nice observation area. Next to the big falls is Coon Creek Falls that is best viewed after a heavy rain otherwise it is usually an unimpressive trickle to the right of the larger falls.
From the Nature Center you can easily view 45’ Cane Creek Cascades. Walk across the suspension bridge and follow the spur trail around to view the 85’ Cane Creek Falls and the 125’ Rockhouse Falls.
If time permits drive over to the observation area for Piney Creek Falls. This 80’ waterfall is across the gorge and mostly obscured by trees. Walk across the suspension bridge for a slightly better view or better yet wait to visit this one in late autumn or winter for optimal views.
Cane Creek Falls displays an impressive moonbow during certain moon phases and during particularly high flow volume. A moonbow is a lunar rainbow produced by light reflecting off the surface of the moon. Moonbows will always appear in the opposite part of the sky from the moon.
Known for its vistas and waterfalls Fall Creek Falls also has tremendous diversity of plant and animal life. This is mainly due to the wide variety of topography and the presence of microclimates. During the summer months the Nature Center offers daily programs, many of which explore this biodiversity in-depth.
Acquired in 1935 park construction began in 1936 by the National Park Service utilizing the efforts of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and the WPA (Works Progress Administration). In 1944 ownership of the park transferred to the state. The park lies in middle Tennessee between Spencer and Pikeville bordering Van Buren and Bledsoe counties.
Fall Creek Falls is a Tennessee state park that should be on your shortlist of places to visit. It has many activities for the nature lover and is sure to please adults and kids alike. It’s a reasonable drive from Nashville and Chattanooga. Make plans to visit this one-of-a-kind Tennessee treasure on your next vacation!
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Millette Jones and her husband Tony are the authors of Tennessee Road Scholars: Make Travel a Learning Experience, a guidebook to Tennessee intended to help parents engage their homeschooled children.