Burgess Falls State Park

Center Hill Lake


4000 Burgess Falls Dr, Sparta, Tennessee


If you are familiar with this area, you know there are a TON of waterfalls around the lake. (In fact, here are 12 waterfalls you need to see)

You’ve probably heard of Burgess Falls and if not, congrats! You just found a really cool, new spot. 

Not only can you drive to and hike Burgess Falls, it’s also accessible by water. Kayak, boat or ride jet skis to the bottom of this giant waterfall (130+ feet actually). Regardless of where you are at, the view is amazing. 

To find out how to access Burgess Falls waterfall by water, click here! Here’s everything you need to know.

There’s something really special about Center Hill Lake and the waterways and cool spots that can be found along the shoreline. No matter what time of year you are visiting, the view is breath taking. 

Thinking about visiting? Coming from out of town? We got you! Here are a few things to know and expect at the amazing Burgess Falls.

It’s one of many state parks in the area.

So the basics: Located on the Falling Water River, this day-use park is noted for its 4 waterfalls that cascade down from 250+ feet in elevation. If you’re hiking in the park, the last of these falls is the largest, plunging 130+ feet into the gorge. 

You can host a fun event here!

A large covered pavilion equipped with grills and tables can be reserved for large groups and has a scenic view of the river. You can find more info about that here.

It’s accessible by water.

At the bottom of the last (and largest) waterfall, you will likely see kayakers or a couple of boats or jet skis. 

While you may see lake-goers at the bottom, there’s actually no public boat ramps or canoe/kayak access areas in the park.

To get to the waterfall if you’re on Center Hill Lake, head to Cookeville Boat Dock, go up the river, when you get to the fork, Burgess Falls is to the left! AND you will want to see Fancher Falls – it is to the right. 

You can also drop your kayak in near Burgess Falls State Park. For GPS, use Cane Hollow Road, Sparta, Tennessee. There are no signs, but once you get to a fork in the road, there will be a turnaround area, turn right and the water ends in the water. There is a parking area.

Read more about accessing Burgess Falls by boat/kayak/jet ski on Center Hill Lake by reading this other post.

You should wear the right shoes.

The trails and paths are easy to follow, but they are wooded paths so watch your step! Make sure you wear some good shoes; otherwise, you will trip on the roots! You will probably want sunscreen, too. The paths are shaded, but when you’re at the top of the falls, it will be bright and sunny!

It’s got some amazing views!

Whether you’re by the water, standing on an overlook deck or peeking through the trees, this place has some amazing views! When you first enter the park, you will first see some staircase-like waterfalls. Remember the rocks are slick so be careful!

You will hear the waterfalls while you are hiking, too! Trade that loud city noise or interstate traffic for some all-natural therapy!

Something about that fuzzy noise in your ears just puts you at ease. It’s like hearing a soothing noise maker, but this ain’t no app, Honey! This is just another beautiful Tennessee waterfall!

It can get crowded during the warmer months. 

On holiday weekends and during the summer, this place can get a little crowded. If you’re visiting during those times, get to the park in the morning! 

Tennessee has four seasons so no matter when you make the trip to Burgess Falls, you’re going to love what you see! Bold golden and red hues in the fall, snowy ridges in the winter and lush green in the spring and summer. Oh, Tennessee! Your weather is so unpredictable, but you’re just so beautiful!

A little history. You probably noticed that bridge.

“The area was originally populated by Native Americans of the Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw tribes. These tribes used the land as a hunting ground until the late 19th century when a gristmill and sawmill began operating on the river. The Falling Water River was used to generate hydroelectric power for the city of Cookeville from 1928-1944.” You can read more about it here.

Cool, right?

Bring your best friend.

And by best friend, we mean your pup! They must be on a leash though! The paths and trails can be narrow in some areas so be mindful of other visitors. Your fur babe will love this place as much as you do – the shallow water in some areas is a great place to splash around.

It’s kid-friendly.

Be warned though! In some parts of the path, it’s a very steep drop so keep an eye on the kiddies and keep them close! They’ll love climbing the steps and seeing the best of Tennessee. That afternoon nap will be welcomed after a day at the falls!

The grand finale!

The last and largest waterfall is something to see! Once you view it from the deck, you can hike to the top of it!

If you’re up for it, there is a strenuous hike, but the view at the bottom of the trail is well worth every single step! Once you reach the bottom, you will be standing at the very top of the largest waterfall in Burgess Falls State Park.

Add this place to the bucket list! It’s worth checking out whether you’re visiting the park or cruising in on the lake.

Here for a few days? Check out these 10 other waterfalls!

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