Cummins Falls State Park
Cummins Falls State Park was the last park and last waterfall we visited during our time in Tennessee. While I was researching this waterfall beforehand I noticed that almost every picture of Cummins Falls had people climbing all over it- if you ever notice this it means the spot is popular and you should get there early if you want to avoid the crowds. I was right in guessing that it was a popular location because when we arrived at the trailhead there were already about 8 cars in the parking lot and when we left there were close to 30! Luckily for us we got in right before the crowds showed up and had a great hike to the base of the falls.
There are two trails from the parking lot, one goes to an outlook of the waterfall and is called the Upstream Trail, the other goes down to the base of the falls and is called the Downstream Trail. I suggest you go straight to the Downstream Trail... the trail will lead you down a steep hill with a few switchbacks and then spit you out right at the base of the river gorge. From this point on you're following a narrow trail beside the river, walking along the banks and you even have to cross the river a few times. Hiking down in the gorge was super cool and for a majority of the hike I was tripping over my feet because I was constantly looking up. I loved having to cross the river twice, changing up the "trail" is always fun. After hiking for a little less than a mile you come to a bend in the river, follow the bend around to the left and the gorge will open up to this amazing view of the waterfall from below. From here you just rock climb and wade through the river to get up to the base of the falls and the swimming hole. When we arrived at the waterfall there were already two couples and a woman with her dog playing fetch in the swimming hole. Within 20 minutes of us being there, about 5 other people showed up. We stayed for a bit, taking pictures and enjoying the view until some girl and her boyfriend got up in the falls and from that point on, the view was ruined as more and more people showed up both at the base of the falls, and then standing on the edge of the upper falls. Instead of hiking we took a little detour to do some free climbing out of the gorge to the trail above (it was SO much fun-don't worry we were safe) and then back to the car.
For more information on the park: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/cummins-falls
This wraps up all of our little hikes and waterfalls from our Tennessee road trip! Next post will finally be a full itinerary of the trip.