Where is Fall Creek Falls State Park
Located on the Cane Creek Gorge, Fall Creek Falls State Park is known for its series of unique and scenic waterfalls. The Tennessee State Park features seven main waterfalls. Fall Creek Falls, which provides the park with its name, is the park’s largest waterfall. The US State Park also contains several overlooks and caves. Filming of several movies and television shows including The Jungle Book has occurred in the park. Fall Creek Falls State Park was also home to Gilbert Gaul; a civil war era illustrator who gained national attention.
How Big is Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park lies completely within the state of Tennessee. The park is split between Van Buren and Bledsoe counties. The park spans over 29,000 acres and is operated by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Fall Creek Falls is the tallest waterfall in the park. The waterfall stands 256 feet tall. Over 56 miles of hiking trails and over 24 miles of biking trails are present in the park.
Fall Creek Falls State Park Weather
The weather in Fall Creek Falls State Park varies throughout the seasons. Summer highs in the park approach 90 degrees Fahrenheit and occur in July and August. Winter temperatures fall in the park in December, January, and February. The park’s lowest temperatures approach 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Spring and fall see temperatures transition from summer highs to winter lows. Spring temperatures in the park begin to occur in March, whereas fall begins around September. During fall, visitors to the park experience dramatic changes in the park’s foliage. Leaves on the park’s trees begin to change in late September.
When did Fall Creek Falls become a State Park
Fall Creek Falls became a state park in 1944 when the National Park Service transferred the park to Tennessee. Before this transfer, the U.S government purchased the land around Fall Creek Falls to improve, restore, and prevent further erosion from occurring. The Civilian Conservation Corps worked alongside the National Park Service to complete the restoration process.
Things to do in Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park offers visitors the opportunity to explore a variety of outdoor adventures. Our National Park Visitors Guide has outlined below the most popular of these adventures.
The most impressive and tallest waterfall in the park is the namesake Fall Creek Falls. These falls along with six other main waterfalls call the park home. Several of these falls are accessible with minimal effort.
The park’s premier rock-climbing area is Copperhead Rock. The rock is home to several rock-climbing routes including ones suited for beginners and advanced climbers. The climbing area is located near the Fall Creek Falls Overlook. All rock climbing in Fall Creek Falls State Park requires a state park permit. The permits are free and can be obtained at the Park Headquarters or through an online registration portal.
Canopy Challenge Course
A self-guided adventure, the Canopy Challenge Course within Fall Creek Falls State Park contains over 70 aerial obstacles. These obstacles include rope swings, zip lines, and several others. The course is supervised by guides. For availability and ticket information visitors can visit the Park Headquarters or visit the park’s website.
Kayaking and Canoeing
Fall Creek Falls State Park contains one lake that visitors may kayak and canoe on. Other electric powered boats are also permitted. The park offers various watercraft rentals. The hourly rental price for a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard is $10. The daily rate is $35. The park also offers seasonal guided boat tours.
Hiking in Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park offers over 56 miles of hiking trails. These trails range from easy to difficult and include two overnight hiking trails. Most trails can be accessed from the Betty Dunn Nature Center. Inside the nature center, visitors can also access trail information. The longest trail in the park is the Upper Loop Cane Creek Overnight Trail at 14 miles.
Biking in Fall Creek Falls State Park
Biking in Fall Creek Falls State Park is an adventurous and exhilarating way to experience the park. The park features three distinct biking trails for a total of 24 miles. Bike rentals can be obtained at the Canopy Challenge Course area in the park. Rentals run on a first come, first serve basis.
Fishing in Fall Creek Falls State Park
Visitors to Fall Creek Falls State Park can fish on Fall Creek Lake. The lake is home to largemouth bass, channel catfish, and bluegill. The state record for the latter two species was caught inside the park. Anglers can fish from the bank or within their boat.
Fall Creek Falls State Park is home to a variety of wildlife. The park’s most notable species are of the avian variety. Birders frequent the park to spot Turkey Vultures, Pileated Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Warblers, and several others.
Camping in Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park contains 222 campsites. The campsites are scattered across five different areas. Of the 222 sites, 92 sites have sewer connections. The park also contains 16 primitive tent sites that have no electric or water hookups. Several of these sites are “walk-in” sites. Camping fees for the park vary based on date and availability.
Golfing in Fall Creek Falls State Park
Golfers visiting Fall Creek Falls State Park will want to bring their clubs along with them to the park. The park contains one complete 18-hole championship golf course. The course is frequently featured by Golf Digest and other magazines as one of the top courses to play in the country.
When to go to Fall Creek Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park is open year-round and can be visited during every season. Visitation is spread out year-round, but summer and fall draw in crowds. During the fall, visitors flock to the park to see the season’s changing foliage. Visitors looking to hike in the park may want to come in spring or fall when the park’s temperatures are cooler. The park sees occasional snowfall in winter, but the season is relatively moderate.
Must-Have Things to bring to Fall Creek Falls State Park
Any visitor of Fall Creek Falls State Park should look to bring a few items with them. This List of Parks items to bring has many important items, the most important of these items are listed below:
Every outdoor adventure requires water, and a visit to Fall Creek Falls State Park is no exception. Hikers and campers visiting the park in summer, should look to bring additional water along with them. It is recommended that every camper and hiker have one gallon of water for every day they plan to stay in the park.
Inside the park, visitors can purchase prepared food from The Village Pool Snack Bar and the golf course Pro Shop. The park also has a camp store that sells groceries. Campers and hikers should look to bring high-energy foods like beef jerky, trail mix, and dried fruit with them.
Sturdy Hiking Boots
Several hikes within Fall Creek Falls State Park contain rugged terrain that can trip even the most experienced hikers. Sturdy hiking boots are recommended for any visitor of the park. Hikers will want to invest in a lightweight and waterproof pair for added comfort.
Fall Creek Falls State Park occasionally experiences sudden rain showers and thunderstorms. A rain jacket may become a hiker’s best friend if a storm arises over the trail. A lightweight, completely waterproof rain jacket is the best option.
Multiple Clothing Layers
Throughout the day, temperatures in the park frequently change. Visitors, hikers and campers especially, will want to wear a series of layers to the park. These layers will allow visitors to adjust their body’s temperature simply by adding and removing layers.
Visitors who are looking to camp, golf, fish, or rock climb in the park will want to make sure they pack the necessary equipment. The campground store and golf course clubhouse has various recreation supplies for sale.
Containing over 56 miles of hiking trails and over 24 miles of biking trails, Fall Creek Falls State Park can become quite confusing very quickly. Visitors to the park will want to obtain maps relating to their various activities from the park visitor center.
Where to Stay in Fall Creek Falls State Park
Visitors looking to stay inside Fall Creek Falls State Park will want to make a camping reservation online. The park’s campground fills up quickly in the summer. Fees associated with camping in the park vary from season to season based on availability. Visitors looking to stay in a hotel will want to check out options in Sparta, Crossville, or Dayton. The closest large city to the park is Chattanooga (65 miles away). Nashville is 123 miles and a two hour drive away from the park.
Food Nearby Fall Creek Falls State Park
The closest food can be found within Fall Creek Falls State Park at the pool snack bar or golf course clubhouse. Surrounding towns like Sparta, Crossville, and Dayton contain several restaurants and grocery stores. Visitors looking to experience a Tennessee themed meal, will want to visit Chattanooga or Nashville.
Airports near Fall Creek Falls State Park
The closest airport to Fall Creek Falls State Park is located in Nashville. The Nashville International Airport is 116 miles and a two hour drive away from the park.