The last couple of years I have worked with international students and one of my favorite things to do is to take them hiking at one of the many state parks here in Tennessee. I love sharing these parts of the state that they wouldn’t see otherwise and I love that they find there is more to the state than Nashville. So of course, I had to take them to my favorite state park in my favorite season.
Fall Creek Falls State Park was the first designated state park in Tennessee. Because of this it is the most popular for visitors. The park is large and offers a wide variety of activities and services so anyone can enjoy it.
We began at the overlook where we could see the top of the waterfall as it rushed down the rocks to the pool below. This fall has been far too dry and many of the trees had skipped the colors and just went to brown. But here and there were the beautiful pops of yellow and orange in the trees.
After seeing the falls from above, we then hiked down the trail to see it from below. The trail is less than a mile, but it can be rocky and steep at some parts. These rocky trails are very typical to this area. Even with the little fall colors, it was a lovely hike down.
We reached the bottom of the trail and looked up at the waterfall amazed at the completely different perspective of the falls that it gave us. The students were in awe at the sight of the waterfall and kept talking about how they never would have expected this. With that, I knew the day was a success.
We spent awhile down at the bottom enjoying the rocks and the cold water. Some of the students climbed up and around the pool so they could sit behind the waterfall. Others were content to sit on the rocks and watch the people and the water. No one decided to swim in the pool since it is so cold. When everyone had had their fill, we made the trek back up the trail to the overlook.
We were not quite ready to be done at the park though. We drove down one of the many roads of the park towards Piney Falls. This waterfall is much smaller and can’t really be seen through the trees, but if you listen you can hear the water falling over the rocks. We walked down the short path and across the suspension bridge over the river below. The student all said that the suspension bridge was far more wild then the rocky trail had been.
We stopped at the snack shop to get some lunch before making the drive back. I love sharing the park with students, but I also love that going hiking together brings the students together as friends. The drive to the park was pretty quiet, but by the time we were going back they were all talking together and making plans to do things together.
There is just nothing better than spending a beautiful fall day out enjoying one of the state parks.
Here are some other Tennessee state parks to enjoy in the fall:
Thank you for coming along on this visit to Fall Creek Falls State Park. May the colors of fall always remind you that change is beautiful.