Between Christmas and New Years, we headed out of town with my wife’s parents for a few days in the great outdoors.  At first I wasn’t sure about the idea of taking my family on a trip to the mountains during winter because I wasn’t sure if anyone besides me would enjoy hiking and being outside in the cold.  The weather ended up being unusually warm for much of our trip, but even if it hadn’t, I still think we would have had a great time outside!

Our main destination was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but we made a detour to checkout Fall Creek Falls State Park near Spencer, TN. It’s located in the Cumberland Plateau region, which is somewhat similar to the Ozarks.

fall creek falls suspension bridgeAlthough it is possible to park right next to the main overlook, we accidentally parked on the other side of the gorge and had to hike a trail to get to the main falls.  Which turned out to be great because it allowed us to also see another impressive waterfall and walk across this sweet suspension bridge.

cane creek cascades

The view from the bridge looks down over a roaring cascade (Cane Creek).  We noticed several john boats mangled up at the base of these falls.  The height, combined with the volume of water made for quite a sight!

fall creek falls trail

The trail between Cane Creek Falls and Fall Creek falls passes through some pretty forest that is a mix of Oak, Pine and Hemlock, a species of evergreen that I rarely see around here.  We also crossed a number of tributaries that contribute to the falls.

fall creek falls

Finally we reached the crown jewel of the park, the 256′ tall waterfall.  A beautiful day and a beautiful way to start off our visit to Tennessee!  I’ll post some more photos from the Smoky Mountains later!