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Burgess Falls State Park

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Address: 4000 Burgess Falls Dr, Sparta, TN 38583-6661
Phone Number:
+1 931-432-5312
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours

Burgess Falls State Park, located on the Falling Water River, is a day use...

Burgess Falls State Park, located on the Falling Water River, is a day use park, noted for its natural beauty and four waterfalls that cascade down from over 250 feet in elevation. The last of these falls is the most spectacular, plunging more than 130 feet into the gorge. The area was originally populated by Native Americans of the Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw tribes. These tribes used the land as a hunting ground until the late 19th century when a gristmill and sawmill began operating on the river. The Falling Water River was used to generate hydroelectric power for the city of Cookeville from 1928-1944. In 1973, the territory became a designated Tennessee State Natural Area, protecting the diverse forest and aquatic habitats.

The park offers several activities for family and friends to enjoy year-round. Fishing is popular below the dam and the main waterfall along the bank and at the fishing pier. There are no public boat ramps or canoe/kayak access areas in the park. A large covered pavilion equipped with grills and tables can be reserved for large groups and has a scenic view of the river. Additional picnic areas, most with grills, are conveniently located to restrooms and a playground is nearby. None of the picnic tables are equipped with water spigots and all are available on a first come, first serve basis.

The 1.5-mile round-trip River Trail/Service Road Loop is a moderately strenuous hike taking visitors past the waterfalls and into the gorge. The waterfalls are 20’ cascades, 30’ upper falls, 80’ middle falls, and 136’ lower falls in height. A steep trail leads to the edge of the falls, and a rustic stairway leads into the gorge. This is not an easy hike; the trail from the main overlook to the bottom of the main falls is very strenuous. Most people prefer to hike back to the parking lot along the service road. The half-mile Ridge Top Trail is very scenic with views down the main canyon of Falling Water River. All trails are foot trails.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 269 reviews
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  • 199
  • 54
    Very good
  • 10
  • 3
  • 2

This is a must see! Amazing falls. So tranquil and calming. The steps are a little stretched out so come prepared with good hiking shoes. We were able to hike to the falls, enjoy... read more

Reviewed 3 days ago
Tina B
via mobile
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269 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 268: English reviews
1 review
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

This is a must see! Amazing falls. So tranquil and calming. The steps are a little stretched out so come prepared with good hiking shoes. We were able to hike to the falls, enjoy the scenery in a short time. A great day trip.

Thank Tina B
Level Contributor
730 reviews
229 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 260 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

enjoyed our pre dinner walk through the park with family. parking free n easy, gentle sort of hike through beautiful country. waterfalls impressive would return

Thank r s
Sparta, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Hiking, grilling, waterfalls .... nature! Worth the stop if you are in the area or passing through. Off HWY 111 south of Cookeville, north end of Sparta

Thank 685carriea
Level Contributor
44 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

This was a great hike to a beautiful set of waterfalls! It was far less crowded here than at Cummins Falls so that was great. You can't swim here so I'm sure that helped with it being less crowded. It was a great hike, make sure you do have water. Take all the paths they are worth it. So much... More 

Thank Kmlkv
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

Was there for my grandsons wedding it was beauitful there so tranquil and quite walking trails and breath taking water fall the only thing I did not like was the winding road coming there on hwy 30 ☹️ Very stress full for me anyway got a little dizzy

Thank Theresa G
Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Staircase to the bottom of the falls is done and all the hikes are marked as very difficult, however I would consider them more moderate. Don't let the signs scare you. Go for it. It's a beautiful unforgettable experience

Thank rmminor
Level Contributor
70 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

This trip was 1000% worth it. We were so very impressed at the falls and the trail. The views of all three of the falls are just stunning. The trail can be strenuous, with lots of elevation changes, some spots of unsure footing and lots of roots to trip over. There are hand rails in some spots, as the trail... More 

Thank EKRN
Gainesboro, Tennessee
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 April 2017

Wonderful trek to see the amazing falls. The trail is well maintained with railings and stairs where needed. A few of the steps are a little steep but still manageable. We brought our own wood walking sticks and I'm glad we did. There are garbage cans along the trail if you need them (I picked up a candy wrapper &... More 

1 Thank heidi326
Level Contributor
44 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 April 2017 via mobile

Made the trip from Nashville to check out the falls. The hike in and out was about 45 minutes. The falls are lovely, and the hike to get there was green and peaceful. Honestly we had hoped for more of a hike and more to do since we drove clear out there. If we were to do it again we... More 

Thank TravelVivi
Level Contributor
65 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2017 via mobile

Burgess Falls seems so remote that we wondered how people even find it, but they do. We were struck by how nicely the parking lot, playground, and butterfly gardens were maintained. Then we hit the trails. At most any point you can lean and peer down to the river, and you can always hear the crashing water. We hiked deeper... More 

3 Thank justus2now
Tennessee S, Owner at Burgess Falls State Park, responded to this review

Thanks for the review! We're glad you enjoyed our park and hope that you will come back and visit again soon. More 

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