Friday, August 7, 2020

Waterfall Chasing: Piney Falls

 Summer 2020 has been all about exploring waterfalls, mostly in Tennessee but with a few trips over into North Carolina. We probably averaged an adventure every-other-week. Every single falls has its own personality. Some are exuberant, some gentle. Some shout, some sing softly, a few just whisper. I love hearing the water's voice and knowing we are almost there, and then getting that first glimpse of a falls through the trees. Our waterfall explorations have been a way to soothe our souls during these past many months of the coronavirus pandemic.

We visited Piney Falls State Natural Area in mid June. Duncan joined us for this one, which made it even more of an adventure!  


We love our Tennessee State Parks and of course the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but there are also 85 Natural Areas that are affiliated with the TN State Park system. These absolute treasures are guaranteed to be less crowded than the parks.

Cable trail down to the falls
The trail was an easy 2.5 mile loop that included two falls, lots of climbing spots—and we only saw about 5 other people the entire day.

The trail takes you first above the falls. I always get a little woozy on the top of falls, and Upper Piney Falls is an 80-foot drop. Of course, I still get a little nervous when one of my kids stands on the edge, even if he is 19.

Upper Piney is a gorgeous falls, especially after lots of rain. There is a terrific swimming hole there and lots of good rocks for picnicking upon. When you're done looking at the falls, you can follow the trail right behind it.

 From there, the trail follows Piney Creek downstream to Lower Piney Falls, with this amazing sandstone wall on one side. Duncan would definitely like to come back and do some more climbing here!

Lower Piney Falls is less impressive.... from the top, anyway! There's no access to the bottom of the falls, so you have to peer over the top of the cliff. Still the cascades were pretty!

This was definitely one of my favorite falls....although I'll probably say that about most of them! This is just a little over an hour from Knoxville, on the Southern Cumberland Plateau.