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“Sheer bluffs, narrow ridges, rolling water”
Burgess Falls State Natural Area, located in Middle Tennessee, lies on the eastern edge of Tennessee's Highland Rim adjacent to the Cumberland Plateau and is noted for its natural beauty. Sheer bluffs, narrow ridges, rolling water and abundant mixed forest, characterize this area. The Falling Water River drops approximately 250 feet, providing numerous waterfalls, breathtaking scenery and overlooks. The park is home to over 300 species trees and plants and an abundance of wildlife. Park visitors can visit the large Native Butterfly Garden located adjacent to the upper parking lot. The history of Burgess Falls can be traced back over three centuries. Before European settlement, Indians of the Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw tribes shared this region as a hunting ground. By the late 19th century, a gristmill and sawmill were in operation on the river here. For the growing logging and farming communities, the Falling Water River played a key role by providing energy and recreational opportunities. Under protection as a State Natural Area since 1973, visitors today may enjoy the same scenic splendor of Burgess Falls, easily seen from the River Trail. Boats are not allowed below the dam and fishing boats are allowed only in the shallow lake above the dam. Due to heavy silting and lack of a boat ramp this is not a desirable lake for boating. Trolling motors are the only type of motor allowed on boats. Fishing is year-round. Most common catches are large and small mouth bass, brim and carp. The most popular fishing sites are along the lake, below the dam and below the main falls. The waters of Center Hill Lake reach the base of Burgess Falls. There is no boat ramp. Anglers age 13 and older must have a valid TN fishing license. The 1.5-mile round-trip River Trail/Service Road Loop is a moderately strenuous hike taking visitors past four waterfalls on the Falling Water River. The waterfalls are 20' cascades, 30' upper falls, 80' middle falls, and 136' lower falls in height. Most people prefer to hike back to the parking lot along the service road. The 1-mile Ridge Top Trail is very scenic with views down the main canyon of the Falling Water River. Please note that the trail from the main overlook to the bottom of the main falls is very strenuous. All trails are foot trails. Bikes, horses, etc. are not permitted. Burgess Falls is a natural area in Putnam and White Counties and is located approximately thirteen miles southwest of Cookeville. It is managed by Tennessee State Parks. Burgess Falls lies on the rugged dissected eastern edge of the Eastern Highland Rim resulting in the occurrence of sheer bluffs, narrow ridges, waterfalls, and diverse forest communities. It was named for Tom Burgess, an American Revolutionary War veteran, who was deeded the land in 1793 by the U.S. Government as partial payment for his services. For many decades the Burgess family provided settlers with meal and cut lumber from their gristmill and lumber mill on Falling Water River above the falls.
We went to a few other parks in the area. And we were amazed how clean and friendly everyone was. The falls were in 4 stages ending with Burgess. The view was amazing. There are two or more ways... Read more
A good free activity to do. The trail is short and doesn't required any skills. Easy for everyone. Lots of people bring their pets to the trail to. In order to see the falls up close you will... Read more
Our family has been visiting a few different falls in TN this summer. In our opinion, this one has impressive views, but loses some points for the fact that the trail does not take you to the... Read more
Burgess Falls State Park
- Sun - Sat: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm
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