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Guide for Visiting Burgess Falls State Park

Guide for Visiting Burgess Falls State Park

If you are looking to find beautiful waterfalls in the state of Tennessee, then you need to visit Burgess Falls State Park. This state park is home to gorgeous waterfalls and there are a number of fun activities you can do here.

Other than seeing the cascading waterfalls, visitors can also go hiking, picnicking, fishing, or visit the base of the biggest waterfall via kayak or boat.

This beautiful state park is free to the public and is a great way to spend an afternoon in Tennessee. We’re excited to share our guide to visiting Burgess Falls State Park and giving you all the info you need to know! Let’s dive in!

About Burgess Falls State Park

Burgess Falls State Park is located in Sparta, Tennessee on the Falling Water River. It is a day-park that has 350 acres of natural area that is most popular for its waterfalls.

Falling Water River drops 250 feet plunging over waterfalls which creates a gorgeous natural scene for visitors.

The Falling River once generated hydroelectric power for Cookeville from 1928-1944, and then eventually in 1973, the natural area became a protected state park.

There are also a number of activities you can do at this free state park. Such as go hiking, picnicking, fishing, and going kayaking or boating. 

burgess falls state park, photo of smaller but wider waterfall in the park, flowing into green water and the river is surrounded by green trees.

Important Info 

  • Park Hours– The park is open year-round at 8 a.m. daily until 30 minutes before sunset. While it is open year-round, some days with high precipitation it may be closed due to the volatility of the river. 
  • No Camping– You are not able to camp in this park, it’s for day use only. 
  • No  Entry Fee – The park is completely free to the public!
  • No Swimming– You can enter the water in a kayak, boat, or jet ski. But you cannot go swimming in these areas, it is not permitted.

Things To Do 


There are two hikes that you can do here. The River Trail and the Ridge Top Trail. The River Trail is unpaved and it is labeled as a difficult trail and is a 1.5-mile loop. For someone who is in good health, the hike usually isn’t as strenuous as it is labeled. This hike will take you past waterfalls in the park.

The other hiking trail is the Ridge Top Trail which is a 1-mile hike that is only moderately difficult. It takes you down the main canyon of Falling Water River. 


There are a number of picnic areas in the park. Most picnic areas have grills and are located near restrooms and playgrounds. There is also a large pavilion with grills with a beautiful view of the river that large groups can reserve for an event or get-together. 


There are a couple of fishing spots that you can go to in the state park. The most popular fishing spots are along the bank of the main waterfall, fishing pier, and below the dam.

The best fish to catch in the park are Bream, Smallmouth Bass, and Largemouth Bass. 


While there is no public kayak or boating ramps in the state park you are still allowed to go boating and kayaking at the base of the waterfalls.

To get there you can start on Center Hill Lake and go towards the Cookeville Boat Dock. From the dock head up the river and you’ll eventually come across a fork, go left to head to Burgess Falls. If you want to see Taylor Creek Falls you will go to the right.

Note that you cannot get out of your boat or kayak and go swimming but you can hang out at the bottom of the largest waterfall in the state park. 

How to Get There 

To get to Burgess Falls National Park you can access the entrance off of Tennessee State Route 135 halfway between Cookeville and Sparta. 

Wrapping Up 

To wrap up, Burgess Falls State Park is a free state park with beautiful scenes of enormous waterfalls. There are a number of activities you can do in the state park, such as fish, boat/kayak, hike, or picnic.

It is totally free to the public and is a great spot to visit when you’re in Tennessee! If you want to check out the Tenessee State Park website for Burgess Falls State Park, click here! Happy travels!


How long of a hike is Burgess Falls?

There are two hiking trails in Burgess Falls State Park. One is a 1.5-mile loop that will take you past all four waterfalls, the other is a 1-mile hike that will take you down the main canyon of Falling Water River. 

Can you see Burgess Falls without hiking?

Yes, you can see the biggest waterfall via boat or kayak. Otherwise, to see the waterfalls on foot you will have to go on a moderate-difficult hiking path. For some, it’s an easy hike and for others who aren’t used to physical activity, it may be a bit more difficult. 

Are dogs allowed at Burgess Falls State Park?

Yes, dogs are allowed and Burgess Falls State Park, but they must remain on a leash. Also, don’t forget to pick up after your dog!

What city is Burgess falls in?

Burgess Falls State Park is located in Sparta, Tennessee.