SummaryTrail GuideTopo MapReviewsPhotosGPS
Piney Falls State Natural Area Professional Review and Guide
"The Upper Piney Falls Loop provides access to two major waterfalls in the Piney Falls State Natural Area on the northern part of Walden Ridge. You can stand at the top of Lower Piney Falls, where the creek drops 50 feet into a rock-walled plunge basin; use caution along the edge. The water prepares for its leap by first skipping down a 10-foot cascade above the falls. Upper Piney Falls plunges 80 feet over a lip of rock and splashes into rock at the bottom before flowing into a pool. At times of high water, it’s quite a rush of water. The trail actually passes behind the waterfall."
--Russ Manning, 40 Hikes In Tennessee's South Cumberland (The Mountaineers Books).
To complete the loop, you must ford Piney Creek a few feet from the top of the falls. We crossed at high water with no problem, but it did give us pause. Other than that, the trail is definitely worth the hike, although we strongly concur that it should be done in a clock-wise fashion so you can go up the ledge rather than down. The loop trail was well-marked and well-maintained.
The trail itself is well worth the hike. The waterfall and cove are among the more spectacular ones in the state, on par with Colditz Cove to the north. Unfortunately, the road to the parking area is terrible. We have a 4-wheel drive SUV, and decided to stop halfway in and walk the rest of the way to the trailhead. No other hikers ventured in as far as we did, so be warned. Also, the trailhead at the parking lot is poorly marked, so it took a bit of searching. We took the loop counterclockwise. The last part of the trail has a wet crossing at the head of the falls. The water was high and one slip would have been fatal, so using better judgement, we retraced out steps back a mile and a half to the starting point. But as I said, the falls are beautiful, and if you are so inclined, it is well worth the trip.
Sign in/up to upload photos.