Hike to Cummins Falls, the 8th largest waterfall (by volume) in Tennessee!
Cummins Falls, near Cookeville, Tennessee, is one of our favorite hikes! It’s the perfect hike on a summer day with a swimming hole below the falls. In fact, Travel and Leisure magazine voted it in the top 10 swimming holes in America!
The hike to the falls has changed a lot now that it is a park area. Years ago, it was much more dangerous when you climbed down to the falls on a nearby trail. It is MUCH safer now, but it is a longer hike. You can no longer go down to the falls on the trail used 10 years ago.
You start your hike walking through the woods. You have the option of going a longer way, or taking the short cut to the falls. We took the long way and checked out the overlook first.
There’s a steep drop off overlooking the creek as you make your way through the woods down to the creek.
Use caution on the trail.
Watch your step as there are many trunk roots you can trip over. It can also be muddy after a recent rain, so the ground can be slick. You follow the creek bed to the waterfall. It can be very slippery in places. On the right side of the creek, you will find this pretty waterfall.
When we finally hiked the mile down to the falls, we noticed there were MANY more people than what we had seen at the overlook. All the rocks close to the pool area were taken with people relaxing and having picnics.
It was quite the enjoyable area!
We did see 2 park rangers standing at the edge of the pool area. Because of the recent rains, the water was high. There was actually a sign that said “No swimming” when we started the hike. We did see a few with life jackets swimming in the pool area. We noticed 2 young boys (around age 3) that were sucked down the waterfall area in the below picture. One of the rangers jumped in the water to help them get to safety. The water is fast moving and they could have hit their heads before getting to the shallow area of the creek. In fact, if you watch the video below, at about the 1:55 mark, you will see the ranger climbing out of the creek. Glad he was there!
The beautiful Cummins Falls!
As you can see, there are a LOT of people enjoying the area. People even brought their dog (on a leash). It was a fun day had by all.
If you are looking for a map to follow you along on the trail, here is one I recommend from Avenza Maps.