TN--Fall Creek Falls SP

Discussion in 'Tennessee' started by Travelhoveler, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

    Messages:
    2,337
    Likes Received:
    6
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    It was a dark and stormy night...

    But we took off anyway Friday night for a weekend at Fall Creek Falls State Park. Forecast was 100% rain for the weekend and spot on. We had a great time.

    We didn't leave Nashville until about 7:30 and arrived at the park in pitch black, dense fog and light rain about 10 PM. As usual, we were very quiet in setting up the camper as we didn't want to disturb anyone that late at night. We might as well have not bothered; when we woke up in the morning, we were the only campers in the whole park except for a scout group in a group campground. More than 220 spaces and it was just us. This is the third time this year we've stayed at a state park and been the only ones there. Maybe I should bathe more!

    The campground is rather large for a Tennessee state park, certainly one of the largest in the system. There are five areas, lettered A through E Almost all sites except for a primitive walk-in area have electric and water at each site. A few sites in one loop have sewer. Kind of expensive for a state park at $20 a night ($25 with sewer) but the sites are nice for a campground. Many are paved, and all have fire rings, raised grills, picnic tables and many have lantern posts. Not a lot of privacy between sites in high season, but we might as well have been boondocking as there was no one around. Park ranger drove through each morning about 8 AM to check our permit on the post and that was it.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    A typical campsite (L) and our site during a break in the rain (R)

    This is one of Tennessee's largest state parks. It was originally acquired by the National Park Service as the core of a potential national monument including much of the Cumberland Plateau area, but in 1944, the NPS, faced with wartime budget cutbacks, transferred the land to Tennessee for a state park. You still see some evidence of the NPS era in rustic style water fountains, walls, etc. In recent years, the state of Tennessee has nearly doubled the size of the park with the acquisition of the Lower Cane Creek Gulf and the Dry Fork Gulf, but these areas have not been developed and may remain managed as wilderness.

    The park is mostly mature second-growth forest but it also contains some of the most extensive stands of virgin hemlock-poplar forest in the east, located down at the bottom of the steep watersheds or "gulfs" as we call them in Middle Tennessee. Absolutely beautiful to see the light green of the hemlocks lining the gorges. The predominant oak-hickory forests above were logged in the early 1900s but are maturing today and stretch for miles.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Virgin timber in Cane Creek Gulf, and Moonbeams checking out the view after the storms had passed

    The park has a very extensive hiking trail system, a mountain bike trail, a paved bicycle trail, and a few equestrian trails. There is also a scenic drive and miles of other park roads connecting various sites, along with the Rhinehart Parkway leading 7 miles from the south entrance to TN 111. Backpacking is allowed with free permits.

    This is classified as a Tennessee "resort park" so it features much more development than most. There's a golf course, an inn and conference center, cabins (including some floating cabins on the lake), swimming pool, canoe and boat rentals, recreation facilities (softball, tennis, crafts, etc.) and more. There's an excellent nature center as well.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The park inn and the nature center

    Oh, and there are also waterfalls.... Fall Creek Falls at 256' is the highest fall in the eastern United States (there are higher falls in Tennessee if you count multiple drops, but Fall Creek Falls has the highest single drop). There are larger falls in terms of volume in the park like Piney Falls and Cane Creek Falls, and many beautiful smaller falls, many unnamed. They're the most popular attractions in the park and the scenic road provides access to many of them.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Rockhouse Falls and Piney Creek Falls

    [​IMG]
    Fall Creek Falls

    It's a great park and the showcase of a great system, and well worth a visit. This is one of three state parks that do take reservations (for some sites, most remain first-come, first-served) and you might want to make one for a major holiday weekend. But even a cool and rainy weekend is great, and of course, the waterfalls are even better when it rains!
     
  2. papachaz

    papachaz New Member

    Messages:
    2,821
    Likes Received:
    12
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    thanks for sharing! wow, another great write up about another great looking place to go. so TN SP's are only $20? our's here in GA charge $28 for a site with power and water, i think the cheapest i've seen is $25. anyway, thanks for sharing the pics and the info.....the way you get to go, you're filling up my bucket list of places to go camp really quickly [LOL] [LOL]
     
  3. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

    Messages:
    2,337
    Likes Received:
    6
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Prices vary at Tennessee state parks. $20 is pretty common for parks with electric and water, though some are cheaper; for instance, and electric-water site at Pickett State C.C.C. Memorial SP is only $13. Sites without hookups can be as low as $11, and sometimes, you might get them for half price in winter!

    BTW, we have no park entry or day use fees, either.

    Our state parks operate at a loss, but fortunately, the state realizes it makes up the difference through increased sales taxes and the employment of thousands in private-sector jobs that cater to park visitors.
     
  4. JohnR06

    JohnR06 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    'Tis a lovely park for sure! Now that I have a pup I'll need to try camping there.

    I see you've got the TU tag... where do you fish?
     
  5. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

    Messages:
    2,337
    Likes Received:
    6
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    John,

    We're in Middle Tennessee, so around here, the great sport is pretty much confined to hatchery and tailwater trout. The closest stream with a sustainable population is the Caney Fork, but even that is largely hatchery fish. We're fortunate that TWRA does a lot of winter stocking in these parts, but it's not the same as fishing for native brookies up your way, or our favorite, fishing for cutthroat out west.

    Your post reminds me that I need to renew our licenses and trout stamps before we go camping this weekend...
     
  6. JohnR06

    JohnR06 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Richard,

    Never have made that trip out west for the big browns or cutthroats. Its on the bucket list though.

    Over here we're fortunate to have both tailwaters and those mountain streams.

    Next time you're out this way, maybe we could hookup and wet a line.
     
  7. Rodger D.

    Rodger D. New Member

    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Hello There

    Please excuse me for "butting in".

    This July I would like to stay at an State Park
    or National Park that is closer to East Ridge.
    Do any of you have an location to hint of ???



    Rodger & Gabby
    COS
     
  8. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

    Messages:
    2,337
    Likes Received:
    6
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Rodger, the closest Tennessee State Park is Harrison Bay SP, northeast of Chattanooga. Maybe 20-30 minutes from East Ridge, if that. The only national park unit down that way does not have camping.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.