The 10 Most Gorgeous Scenic Nature Spots To Visit In Tennessee

By Sarah Tate

September 29, 2020

Vacations in the time of corona have been hard to come by. The typical tourist spots have either been limited or closed completely and going to concerts and sporting events has been entirely impossible. Maybe now can be the time to take a step back and look around at the natural beauty Tennessee has to offer. Below are 10 of the best spots to enjoy scenic landscapes and escape the stress of everyday life.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Arguably the most popular place to find stunning views in Tennessee is at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rent a cabin in the mountains or hike to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the state, to see a 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains. You many even spot a bear or two along the way.

Fall Creek Falls State Park

Housing the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River, Fall Creek Falls is one of the state's most visited state parks. Choose a campsite or rent a cabin and experience staying in one of Tennessee's largest parks filled with many waterfalls, gorges, and streams. The park offers lots of activities including boating, fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding, and more. There is something to do for the whole family.

Cades Cove

Cades Cove is an isolated valley hidden in the hills of the Smokies where visitors report seeing a variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer, black bears, turkeys, and more. Try the 5-mile roundtrip hike to Abrams Falls or a shorter trek along Cades Cove Nature Trail.

Lookout Mountain

Not far from Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain has some of the best views in the state. Visit Lover's Leap at Rock City, named for a Cherokee legend of two young lovers from feuding tribes, and see seven states at once. You can also walk along the Swing-a-Long suspension bridge to see stunning views of the Chattanooga Valley. If heights aren't your thing, take a trip to Ruby Falls and see the country's tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public.

Lakes

Tennessee has plenty of gorgeous lakes where you can catch some fish, spend a day boating, or just relax and listen to the waves. Nashville has a few within driving distance including Radnor, Percy Priest, and Old Hickory Lake. If you're looking for something out of the city, try Norris Lake or Dale Hollow Reservoir in eastern Tennessee.

Cummins Falls State Park

Cummins Falls has been an idyllic spot to visit in the Upper Cumberland for over 100 years. Visit the eighth largest waterfall in the state and take a dip in the shallow pool at the bottom of the 75-foot drop. While the park draws in many visitors, there is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy spending a day outside.

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Signal Mountain

Signal Point gives visitors a breathtaking view of the Tennessee River Gorge, called "Tennessee's Grand Canyon." The town of Signal Mountain has miles of hiking, running, and mountain-biking trails. Take a walk along the riverfront, visit the Williams Island State Archaeological Park, or experience the Rainbow Lake Trail and swinging bridge.

Burgess Falls State Park

Burgess Falls is located on the Falling Water River, which used to be home to the Cherokee, Creek, and Chickasaw tribes. The park is idea for hiking, fishing, and bird watching. In the mid-20th century, the river generated hydroelectric power to nearby Cookeville, but it is now a go-to spot for locals and out-of-towers alike to spend some time surrounded by the sounds of nature.

Natchez Trace Parkway

This historic forest trail stretches 440 miles from Nashville to Natchez, Mississippi with no stop signs or traffic lights. The Natchez Trace is a perfect road trip for people who want to experience the beauty of the area, but who don't want to hike through forests and rivers. Watch out for cyclists as the National Park Service has dedicated the entire parkway as a bicycle route.

Rock Island State Park

This 883-acre park is at the intersection of the Caney Fork, Collins, and Rocky Rivers, with overlooks along the Eastern Highland Rim. One of the biggest attractions is Great Falls, a 30-foot horseshoe cascading waterfall, along with the Great Falls Dam. Nearby Twin Falls was created by Great Falls, is worth a visit as well.

Photo: Getty Images

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