Gorge Overlook Trails at Fall Creek Falls

May 22, 2012 in Tennessee Hiking Trails by amylaree

fall creek falls turkey pen ridge trailhead

Our Trailhead at Fall Creek Falls

As Nate wrote in his weekend preview, we headed out to the scene of the great Ezra freakout of ’09. Unsure if Ezra’s puppy-PTSD would cause doggy flashbacks, we planned to avoid all Fall Creek Falls bridge-riddled trails by hitting up the Turkey Pen Ridge and Woodland trails. Surely that would make this outing to Fall Creek Falls more successful than the last time, right? In theory, yes. But Mother Nature had other plans for our day…

  1. Scenery:  2.5
  2. Difficulty:  2.0
  3. Length:  1.9 miles
  4. Dog Friendly Factor: 5.0
  5. Convenience:  1.5
  6. Bonus Funtimes: 5.0

Trailhead35.65827 -85.35617

Scenery (2.5 out of 5.0): This trail is heavily shaded with typical Tennessee foliage and has a three key overlooks, so we thought this hike would provide several good spots to catch glimpses of the falls and gorge below. Unfortunately the scenic overlooks were a little disappointing. There is a very nice view of the Cane Creek Falls at the last overlook that we were able to enjoy, but the views from the other overlooks were fairly obscured by thick springtime foliage.

Cane Creek Falls at Fall Creek Falls

Cane Creek Falls at Fall Creek Falls

Difficulty (2.0 out of 5.0): Overall this trail is mostly flat, but does have a few slight elevation gains… especially when coming up from the overlooks. The earthen trail is well-kept but strewn with large rocks and tree roots, so be sure to keep an eye on your footing. Overall this trail is very accessible for everyone.

Length: 1.9 miles (it took us about 45 minutes with stops at the overlooks)

Fall Creek Falls swimming hole

Popular swimming hole at Fall Creek Falls

Dog Friendly Factor (4.0 out of 5.0): This was a fun and easy trail for the dogs. There is one overlook that isn’t terribly conducive for maneuvering the dogs, but other than that we didn’t have any troubles… with the terrain, that is.

Have we ever mentioned that besides freaking out on bridges, Ezra also has a massive issue with that wet stuff that falls from the sky? Yes, I’m talking about rain and boy did Mother Nature try to give us a wallop. We were about 1/2  a mile away from the car when distant thunder turned into big fat rain drops. The trees provided an umbrella-canopy from the early sprinkles, but the skies opened in earnest about 1/4 mile from the car. That’s when we started running.

fall creek falls rain and hail

How our day ended at Fall Creek Falls

With Ezra sprinting his heart out, we made it to the car without getting too drenched and just before the hail started. Needless to say, our day at Fall Creek Falls ended earlier than expected, but Ezra didn’t seem to mind!

Convenience (1.5 out of 5.0): At 100 miles+ from Nashville, plan an entire day for this outing.

Bonus Funtimes (5.0 out of 5.0): Fall Creek Falls is one of Tennessee’s most popular state parks for good reason. There’s hiking, biking, camping, swimming, fishing and a whole host of family friendly activities.


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