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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

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Beautiful State Park

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... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Gainesboro, Tennessee
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262 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 261: English reviews
Gainesboro, Tennessee
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

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 

Thank heidi326
Level Contributor
41 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago 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
63 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago 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 

1 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 

Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

One of the most beautiful waterfalls I've ever seen. You get to see three waterfalls total. There is an overlook and then you can go down on top of the falls. Pretty family friendly and an easy hike. Loved it. Highly recommend.

Thank maggiecmcgreevey
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

A beautiful hike! A lot of small waterfalls along the trail. The trail is pretty easy going, a few parts were moderate. Couldn't get to some parts because of flood eroison. The stairs to the base of the falls were closed. Still worth it! This has been one of my favorite day use parks. The rangers were super nice and... More 

Thank Sesala W
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 March 2017 via mobile

Nice trip for a quick day trip 3 different falls to see. Lots of lil caves old ruins and nice places to get pics. Playground and tables too

Thank Cristyna F
Franklin, Tennessee
Level Contributor
97 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 March 2017 via mobile

My wife and I traveled from Franklin and really had a great time. The Falls were amazing and the hiking was fun. Most shouldn't have any problems waking on the trails. Will definitely be back!

Thank Tannermash
White House, Tennessee
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2017 via mobile

Burgess falls is a beautiful waterfall are the other 2 waterfalls you walk by on the trail to the overlook for Burgess. I was really disappointed that the trail is not deemed safe to work your way to the bottom of the falls to feel the powerful mist off! That was always a heavenly treat. It has become popular enough... More 

2 Thank Millimom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2017

I went on a short, solo day hike here in November. It is 8 miles from I-40 in Cookeville. You follow a very winding country road for what seems longer than 8 miles, but it just seems longer due to the slow speed. What a beautiful place! We were in the midst of drought but the river was flowing and... More 

2 Thank Leah F
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2016

I cannot believe that a place this spectacular is just so close where I live. The hike wasn't really that bad considering my husband and I were not really in good shape. The bathrooms are so clean and very well maintained. The park rangers are very nice. This is our second time here but we didn't get to the main... More 

1 Thank Rowena C

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