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As a mom of four energetic boys and an avid adventurer, I’ve found that nothing compares to the thrill and beauty of exploring the waterfalls near Chattanooga.

Lula Falls Waterfall near Chattanooga
Lula Falls

Each trip to this region, rich with natural wonders, offers a unique experience that leaves us yearning for more. The waterfalls near Chattanooga have become a cherished part of our family’s journey, offering us a chance to witness the raw beauty of nature and indulge in thrilling activities.

From the enchanting Ruby Falls to the captivating Lula Falls, each visit creates memories that will last a lifetime. Join us as we share our favorite Chattanooga area waterfalls and the adventures that await you there.

Best Waterfalls Near Chattanooga

As you explore the greater Chattanooga area, make sure to visit these incredible and beautiful waterfalls, each with its own unique features and attractions.  

There are many beautiful falls to choose from, and some of the best hiking trails lead to waterfalls.  Here is just a bit of information about each one, with a link to learn more.

Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls is one of the most popular spots near Chattanooga, offering spectacular views and a unique experience. You’ll descend into the cavern by elevator to see this underground waterfall.

Be amazed by the sparkling water and fascinating cave formations during your guided tour. This unforgettable journey is perfect for nature enthusiasts and anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind adventure.

We truly loved our adventure here, and even the parking lot has amazing views! This is the the tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the United States. It’s really breathtaking, and one of the coolest cavern adventures we’ve had.  

It’s also a great option when the weather isn’t cooperating, as it’s inside and always the same temperature.  We went just after Memorial Day and it was great!

Here is a picture of our family at the falls:

the author and her family at Ruby Falls
This was when the lights from the light show changed to red lol

Foster Falls

Foster Falls, located in the South Cumberland State Park, offers some of the most beautiful waterfalls and cliff faces in the region. Feast your eyes on the 60-foot waterfall cascading into a deep pool below.

With hiking trails and rock climbing opportunities, Foster Falls is an ideal spot for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is a breathtaking 80-foot waterfall found within the Laurel-Snow State Natural Area. The falls are accessible via a moderately strenuous 5-mile round trip hike, but the stunning views and peaceful surroundings make it well worth the effort.

Remember to snap some photos as you enjoy the serene atmosphere and natural beauty.

If you look up Laurel Falls online you will probably find the very famous Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains, so make sure you are looking for the one near Dayton, TN.

Lula Falls

At the Lula Lake Land Trust, you’ll discover the magnificent Lula Falls. This 110-foot waterfall is split into two sections, Upper Falls and Lower Falls, with the Lower Falls capturing most of the attention.

As you hike along the scenic 6-mile trail, you’ll be treated to peaceful nature trips, perfect for biking or running.

Falling Water Falls

Falling Water Falls is located near Signal Mountain and offers a serene and secluded spot to enjoy nature’s beauty. The 110-foot waterfall plunges into a lush, green gorge, creating a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Make sure to bring your camera, as the picturesque scenery surrounding the falls makes for a stunning backdrop.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is a hidden gem situated on Signal Mountain. This 40-foot waterfall is surrounded by a lush forest, providing a peaceful escape from the everyday hustle.

The hike to Rainbow Falls offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers or those seeking a moment of tranquility.

This is another falls that has the same name as a Smoky Mountain waterfall, so be sure to search for the one on Signal Mountain if you are wanting to take a hike to this great falls.

Hemlock Falls

Hemlock Falls, located in Moccasin Creek State Park on Lake Burton, is a scenic gem that deserves a spot on your Chattanooga waterfall adventure.

This 15-foot cascade is nestled within one of Rabun County’s most picturesque trails, featuring two beautiful cascades falling into Moccasin Creek.

The trail to Hemlock Falls is about a mile long, starting from the trailhead and following the left side of the creek. You’ll cross the creek on a wooden bridge just before reaching the falls.

There is also a wooden overlook that is in Cloudland Canyon State Park (which has some amazing hiking!)

State Parks and Natural Areas

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Cloudland Canyon State Park, located in Georgia, is a scenic treasure near Chattanooga. Here, you will find beautiful waterfalls, such as Sitton Gulch Creek cascading 100 feet into Lula Falls.

Enjoy picturesque hikes, picnic areas, and marvel at the stunning views of the Tennessee River. This park is perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

The hiking here was absolutely amazing.  We loved the scenic overlook and you could hear the waterfalls nearby.

Here is our eldest at one of the overlooks. Check out those views!

the author's oldest son at Cloudland Canyon State Park

Fall Creek Falls State Park

Fall Creek Falls State Park is home to the highest waterfall in the eastern United States, with a spectacular 256-foot drop. You can explore the park’s scenic trails, picnic areas, and enjoy the breathtaking views of the falls.

Don’t forget to visit Ranger Creek Falls and Linton’s Falls during your visit. Fall Creek Falls State Park offers plenty of opportunities to connect with nature and relax.

This is one of our favorite state parks to camp in as well as hiking to the falls.  It’s gorgeous, and we especially like to go in the fall when the leaves are changing, as you can see in this pic:

The author and her husband at Fall Creek Falls State Park

South Cumberland State Park

The South Cumberland State Park, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is a must-visit destination. It boasts diverse outdoor adventures, including hiking, bird watching, and exploring numerous waterfalls.

Be sure to visit places like Foster Falls and Lower Greeter Falls for a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation.

Savage Gulf State Natural Area

Savage Gulf State Natural Area is known for its rugged beauty and miles of scenic, well-maintained trails. Located in the Cherokee National Forest, this natural gem offers a variety of waterfalls, such as Ranger Creek Falls and the picturesque Laurel Falls.

Enjoy your hike through the lush forest, and don’t forget to take advantage of the picnic areas for a meal surrounded by nature.

Cherokee National Forest

Cherokee National Forest offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, and camping.

While exploring the forest, make sure to visit some of the best waterfall spots, like the majestic Bald River Falls. The forest’s rich flora and fauna make it the perfect destination for nature lovers.

Burgess Falls State Park

Burgess Falls State Park is home to stunning waterfalls, including the 136-foot Burgess Falls. With well-maintained trails and picnic areas, the park is perfect for a family outing or a peaceful retreat.

The cascading waterfalls and natural beauty of this park will leave you amazed.

Ozone Falls State Natural Area

For a short but rewarding hike, head to Ozone Falls State Natural Area. You’ll be captivated by the 110-foot Ozone Falls, accessible via a 0.3-mile trail.

Its dramatic plunge and the surrounding rugged landscape make it a popular spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Some other notable waterfalls include Cummins Falls, Greeter Falls, Twin Falls, Cane Creek Cascades, Boardtree Falls, Savage Falls, Jackson Falls and High Falls.

Remember to be friendly and respectful to the environment and other visitors while exploring these beautiful parks and natural areas near Chattanooga. Enjoy your adventures!

Best Hikes to Waterfalls

If you’re looking for a friendly adventure around Chattanooga, you’ll be happy to know there are plenty of great hiking trails that lead to stunning waterfalls. Whether you prefer a short hike or a moderate one, you’re sure to find the perfect trail for you.

For starters, you can venture an hour north of Chattanooga to explore the Cumberland Trail, which offers a variety of hikes featuring scenic waterfalls.

Some of the best waterfall hikes in the area include Leo Lambert, Greeter Falls Loop Trail, and Ocoee River.

If a short hike appeals to you, consider visiting Greeter Falls Loop Trail in South Cumberland State Park. This trail boasts one of Tennessee’s most impressive waterfalls and is easily accessible in just 3.2 miles.

However, be prepared for some steep stairs along the way – they are more than worth the effort.

For a slightly more moderate hike, try the Leo Lambert trail, which will reward you with astonishing views and serene waterfalls throughout its course. Enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature while traversing this well-maintained trail.

Finally, don’t miss out on exploring the Ocoee River area, which is home to several scenic trails that feature majestic waterfalls.

Some of these trails are ideal for moderate hikes, giving you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of the river and its surroundings.

Remember to keep a few essentials on hand – such as water, snacks, and sun protection – to make your hiking experience as enjoyable as possible.

With these incredible options at your fingertips, you’re sure to create lasting memories while exploring the best waterfall hikes near Chattanooga.

Lookout and Signal Mountains

Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain is a beautiful destination, just a short drive from downtown Chattanooga. Offering stunning scenic views of the eastern United States, it’s an ideal spot to take a leisurely walk and immerse yourself in nature.

As you explore the area, be sure to visit the famous Rock City Gardens, where you can stroll through enchanting paths surrounded by lush natural beauty.

While on Lookout Mountain, don’t forget to take advantage of the diverse attractions available, such as:

  • Ruby Falls: A mesmerizing underground waterfall that you won’t want to miss.
  • Incline Railway: An exciting way to enjoy the breathtaking views as you ascend the mountain on a historic railway system.

Signal Mountain

Just a short distance away lies another gem, Signal Mountain. Known for its stunning vistas and picturesque waterfalls, it’s a must-visit destination on your trip. Some notable locations include:

  • Falling Water Falls: A beautiful, easily accessible waterfall that draws in visitors with its captivating views. Visitors can take a short hike to reach this natural wonder.
  • Breathtaking Scenery: From the scenic overlook to the hiking trails, Signal Mountain offers a wealth of opportunities to take in the stunning surroundings.

As you plan your visit to these majestic mountains, remember to pack comfortable walking shoes and be prepared for a memorable experience that you’ll cherish for years to come.

the author's oldest son on a hike to Fall Creek Falls
The eldest on a hike to Fall Creek Falls

Adventure Activities

Tennessee is known for its breathtaking waterfalls, especially those situated near Chattanooga and in the Smoky Mountains. While you’re visiting the area, don’t miss out on the adventure activities that these natural wonders offer.

During the summer months, the refreshing plunge pools at the base of the waterfalls such as Greeter Falls or DeSoto Falls provide a perfect spot for a quick dip to cool off after your hike.

At the larger falls like Lula Falls, you can appreciate the beauty of the cascading water from various viewpoints along the 6-mile trail. Bring your camera and capture unforgettable memories.

In addition to waterfall hopping, the area boasts many opportunities for rock climbing near these majestic falls. With a diverse variety of rock formations, climbers of all levels can find a suitable challenge. So, don’t forget to pack your climbing gear when visiting the Chattanooga region.

As you explore the River Gorge, make an exciting detour to the suspension bridge that spans across the canyon. It offers a unique vantage point and allows you to take in the picturesque surroundings from a different perspective.

So, whether you hike to the base of the falls or the top of the falls in these areas, you’ll be amazed by the views offered by all of these choices.

Final Thoughts on Waterfalls Near Chattanooga

As you can see, the Chattanooga waterfalls offer more than just a visual treat. They provide an opportunity to connect with nature, create unforgettable memories, and embark on thrilling adventures.

Each waterfall, with its unique charm and features, promises a distinct experience that caters to all – from the thrill-seekers to the peace-lovers. 

So, whether it’s the towering majesty of Ruby Falls or the serene beauty of Hemlock Falls, there’s a waterfall near Chattanooga waiting to be discovered by you.

Don’t just take our word for it – pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and come see these natural wonders for yourself. 

We promise you, the magic of Chattanooga waterfalls will leave you captivated and coming back for more.  We sure love exploring here!

Check out our Chattanooga hiking guide, too!

Hope we see you there!


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