Burgess Falls State Park

My friend Kelly finished work early and we finally got to hike together!  Due to limited daylight we headed to nearby Burgess Falls State Park which is south of Cookeville in Putnam County.  Reed a.k.a “Darkness“, the black lab in photos, loves hiking and is extremely well-behaved (although she gets slightly excited for squirrels).  A dilapidated bridge crosses the river but would be certain death to attempt.  Midway down the trail there is a washed-out overlook of the smaller falls but you can still view it from the trail.

Further along, a trail sign indicates the big falls are ahead.  Kelly knows the park well so I follow her.  Small runoffs create tiny waterfalls on the eroded rocks next to the path.

A short distance later we reached the big falls.  Looking upstream on the small rapids it becomes easy to sense how much water is moving.  At the top, you can stand almost right next to the edge but wading in would be crazy.

Around the cliff’s edge you can look down below to the canyon – a much larger distance than expected.  It’s difficult to show scale from this photo angle but the small trees at the bottom are several feet tall.

After hiking out we headed back to Cookeville and packed for the drive 2 hours east to Morristown for Kelly’s job interview.  This was nearer the Great Smoky Mountains and I would be crazy not to get excited!  We discussed what gear to pack and talked briefly about the camp axe – a debate she won pointing where my body would get dumped if I protested.

Hiking Data

This is a great short hike and we logged 1.7 miles.  Notice there is little elevation gain here.  We could have gone farther to the bottom of the falls, however Kelly said past heavy rains/floods washed out that section and it was closed due to dangerous conditions.  Good way to end the day!

Lat = 36.0440674 , Long = -85.5947037 -- Show at Google Maps

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