On our big road trip this summer, we experienced the most beautiful waterfalls our family has ever seen. Somehow, I never knew there were waterfalls like these in the continental U.S.
One day, we stopped at Burgess Falls State Park as we traveled through the middle of the Tennessee. Friends recommended this park to us, and being only a few minutes from I-40, it is well worth the stop. There are 3 large waterfalls at Burgess Falls as well as a nice hike along Falling Water River. As you hike downstream, each waterfall is bigger and better than the one before. We started with this beautiful 30 foot cascading waterfall.
We would have enjoyed just seeing the first one, but then we came to the second waterfall. The sun was a bit intense to take a really great picture (at least for this amateur photographer), but you get the idea. This one was much wider and taller than the first at 80 feet high.
The third waterfall was over 130 feet and just beautiful. I love getting to see God’s beautiful creation up close and personal.
As we stood looking at this majestic waterfall and contemplated hiking down to the foot of the falls, a stranger leaned over and asked me if we had ever been to Cummins Falls. Cummin Falls? We had never even heard of it. The man then brought up a picture on Instagram, and we scrapped our plan of hiking to the foot of the waterfall at Burgess and opted to head to Cummins.
Cummins Falls has been listed in the top swimming holes in America. We stopped at a wal-mart to buy armies for the little boys, changed into our bathing suits at the hotel and headed to a place that we knew very little about. In general, I’m a planner. For me to go “off script”, it’s a bit unusual. I may just need to learn a little more about going off script because this is one of the highlights of our trip.
From reading online quickly at the hotel, we knew that it was a strenuous 1 1/2 mile hike to the foot of the waterfall. With 4 young children, we opted to leave everything (including the camera) at the van and only take what was necessary. One part of the hike included using ropes to go down a steep embankment.
This hike was so worth it. Ruth, Elijah, and Seth swam across the large swimming hole and climbed up into the 75-foot waterfall. The little boys practiced their mountain goat skills jumping across large boulders as we climbed around to the base of the falls. All 6 of us played in the large flat shelf toward the bottom of the waterfall where the water was under a foot deep. We sat with our heads under the waterfall and just enjoyed the wonder of God’s creation. It was so peaceful there that I wish we could have stayed forever. If we ever hit the middle of Tennessee in the summer again, I think we’ll be swimming at Cummins Falls.
Cummins Falls is a new state park so there weren’t the nice railings like at Burgess Falls on the hike. While we have no pictures of Cummins Falls, we did manage to get a picture by the park sign as the sun was going down for the day.
By the way, speaking of God’s amazing creation, Burgess Falls State Park is where we saw the skink.