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beautiful fall colors as seen from the Gorge Scenic Drive
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Closest available address
10821 Park Road, Pikeville, TN 37367
The park is open 24 hours, but a road to the falls is locked at dark.
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Spring
Fall Creek Falls State Park is the largest state park in Tennessee at 26,000 acres. The park is best known for its 256 foot namesake falls, but there are additional waterfalls here as well. Extensive facilities include a 350 acre lake, nature museum, swimming pool, hiking trails, scenic views, a golf course and a horseback riding area. Overnight lodging is available at a 144 room inn as well as at cabins and campsites.
The park originated from New Deal programs in the 1930s. The land had been over logged and depleted of resources. It was acquired by the Federal Government for rehabilitation and to provide conservation jobs. The state took over the area in 1944 and developed park facilities.
In a September visit it became apparent that there was too much to see with just 3 hours so a return visit was made in November. Giving yourself a full day will enable you to select from a greater range of options, such as extended hikes, a boat rental on the lake, or a swim at the Olympic sized pool. Summer is the most popular season followed by fall to see the leaves change.
The nature center is a good place to start a visit to learn more about the park's natural history. Also, there is a trailhead here for the Gorge and Woodland Trails, which make for an easy 2 mile loop and include some overlooks and falls. One can either drive to the Fall Creek Falls trailhead or take an extension from the Woodland Trail. While the trail to the bottom of the falls is more difficult, it's more interesting to see the falls up close, especially when the water flow is high and also to see the virgin forests that thrive in the lush falls environment. Also worthwhile is the Gorge Scenic Drive, which has beautiful overlooks. The park inn was a bit dated, but some of the cabins looked nice and could make for an enjoyable weekend stay. While the park is often crowded, it will have wide appeal for a variety of activities, great views and reasonable prices.
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