Noteworthy Site in TAG: Falling Water Falls State Natural Area, Hamilton County, TN
Activities: Hiking, Rappelling, Caving, Nature Appreciation
Easy to Moderate
The Falling Water Falls State Natural Area was designated by the State of Tennessee in 1973. It is a 136 acre natural area located atop Signal Mountain in Walden and is named for the 110 foot high waterfall that drops over the sandstone cap of the Cumberland Plateau and falls into the Falling Water Gorge below. Little Falling Water Creek then makes it way down, cascading past large boulders and several smaller falls before it joins into the Big Falling Water Creek in Pickett Gulf. It then eventually makes it way into Chickamauga Creek and from there on to the Tennessee River.
While the waterfall is easily accessible from the top of the escarpment, the majority of the natural area is located below the cliffs in Soddy Daisy. A short five minute walk on a trail from the parking area off of Forest Park Drive leads you to the falls. Unless you rappel the falls you will only get a glimpse of the falls from the top. There is also an overlook that gives you a scenic view of the Tennessee River Valley, Pickett Gulf and Buzzard point. The valley portion of the area is accessed off of Levi Road in Soddy Daisy. However there are currently no developed trails or parking area at the bottom. The natural area is open from sunrise to sunset and no camping is allowed.
WARNING: Please note that getting too close and leaning over the edge of the falls poses a serious danger. Others have fallen to their death from the top of this waterfall.
Rappelling at the falls: There are two areas where you can rappel. One is to the right of the falls as you are looking at it from the top. This is the shorter of the two drops and is closer to the waterfall. The other is to the left of the falls and is about 40 feet higher. No permits are required for rappelling.