📸: Tennessee State Parks
Between last year's tragic death of a child and the Covid-19 pandemic, we haven't been able to enjoy one of Tennessee's great parks. Well, it's opening back up again. But there's a lot of fine print. Actually, it's BOLD print.
See here's the deal:
You'll need a permit to see the Gorge and only 100 people a day can go there after getting an online Gorge Access Permit.
The park reopens Friday morning at 8am.
For social distancing, the 100 person limit is in effect. But you don't need a permit for the other trails.
New safety rules are in effect since the drowning last year. Gorge access is limited to fair weather days. Rainy days mean the gorge is closed. It's recommended children 5 years old and under not access the gorge or waterfall base.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The main parking area, restrooms, trailheads, and a designated picnic area are located above the falls. The overlook is nearby and can be accessed by foot. ADA access to the overlook is available upon request.
- Gorge Access Permits are required for anyone who wishes to enter the gorge or access the base of the waterfall.
- Park Hours are 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM.
- The gorge area closes at 5:00 PM.
- People at the bottom of the waterfall must start walking out at 5:00 PM in order to get back to the parking lot and be out of the park by 6:00 PM.
- Pets are allowed but must be on a leash and under control. Please remember to clean up after your pet.
- The hike to the base of the waterfall is a strenuous and physical activity.
- Please read safety information below before planning to hike to the base of the waterfall.
To make your visit to our park as safe and enjoyable as possible, know the risks. Use good judgment and common sense when deciding whether you should hike down to the waterfall. If you have hesitations about your safety or ability, please plan to enjoy the view of the waterfall from the overlook. If you decide to hike to the bottom of the waterfall, please use caution and follow these guidelines:
- The base of the waterfall is only accessible on fair-weather days.
- Visiting the waterfall will require
- Strenuous Hiking
- Swimming or wading through water
- Climbing rocks
- Crossing slippery rocks
- Flash flooding at the base of the waterfall and in the gorge could occur any time rain is present in the watershed.
- You should comply with the park’s safety instructions.
- In the event of an emergency evacuation, please respond immediately to ranger instructions and proceed to the refuge areas marked by yellow signs along the path through the gorge.
- The hike to the gorge is not an improved trail. We recommend that children 5 and under not enter the gorge or visit the base of the waterfall. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult and must wear a life jacket while at the falls and while swimming or in the water.
- USCG approved life jackets are advised if you plan to get in the water below the falls. While some life jackets are available at the park, we recommend bringing your own.
- The less you take to the bottom of the waterfall the better. It is best to limit belongings to items that will fit in a small backpack.
- Keep your hands free.
- Wear sturdy shoes. Flipflops are not recommended.
- Rather than try to take a picnic to the gorge area, plan to eat in the designated picnic area and just take snacks and water to the gorge.
- Alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the park.
- Coolers are not allowed in the gorge.
- Pool floats are not allowed in the plunge pool at the base of the waterfall.