Tennessee is surrounded by natural beauty that can take your breath away. From majestic mountain vistas to cascading waterfalls, the state is home to some of the most stunning attractions you’ll ever see. Plus, when the flowers bloom in the spring, it’s like a scene right out of a fairytale. It is why, every year, travelers from all over the world flock to the Volunteer State to take in its spectacular views.
Spending time in the Volunteer State means spending time in the great outdoors. You can explore hundreds of miles of trails covered with lush vegetation and plenty of wildlife. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful natural attractions in Tennessee.
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains span across parts of Tennessee and North Carolina, but most are located in eastern Tennessee. This mountain range offers breathtaking views. It’s no surprise that this natural wonder is the most visited national park in the US, with over 11 million people visiting each year. From crisp, clear streams and white sand beaches along the border to lush green forests and rugged peaks, there’s something here for everyone. The best time to visit is in the spring or fall when you can witness different colors as the leaves turn from green to yellow and red.
In terms of activities, the Smokys is a hiker’s paradise. There are hundreds of miles of trails to explore, ranging from strolls along the riverside to challenging climbs up rocky cliffs. So, pack your sturdiest pair of hiking boots and get ready for an adventure.
The Beautiful Natural Forest of Cherokee
Another natural attraction worth visiting is Cherokee National Forest, which is Tennessee’s only national forest. It stretches over 652,000 acres across ten counties. You can say it’s an outdoor playground and the perfect place for adventure seekers.
Cycling, horse riding, and camping are just some of the activities you can do to explore the natural beauty of this forest. It’s also home to dozens of wildlife species. You can spot wild turkeys, deer, and even the black bear, occasionally.
The forest is truly stunning during all seasons, but in the fall, it’s gorgeous with its array of fall hues. If your adrenaline is running high, you can go white water rafting in the Ocoee River, which runs through the forest.
The Magnificent Cascades of Fall Creek Falls
Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of the most visited attractions in Tennessee. It offers over 26,000 acres of pristine woodlands and cascading waterfalls that will take your breath away. The centerpiece of the park is Fall Creek Falls. These are one of the highest waterfalls on the east of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a jaw-dropping sight with a 256-foot drop and stunning misty rainbows that form when the sunlight catches water flow.
You can explore the park by taking a hike along one of its trails. There are plenty to choose from, ranging from easy one-mile loops to challenging five-mile rounds.
Or, better yet, you can go on a kayaking adventure and explore the park from the water. It’s a great way to witness the spectacular sights of the park, like ancient rock formations and majestic wildlife.
The Clingmans Dome
Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in Tennessee and one of the highest peaks in the Appalachian Mountains. It rises to 6,643 feet and offers some of the best views in Tennessee.
You can see up to 100 miles into seven states on a clear day. It’s no surprise that this spot is a popular destination for sightseers and photographers alike.
Plus, the hike up to Clingmans Dome is an adventure in itself. It’s a steep but short walk of half a mile, and the payoff is worth it.
We recommend starting your hike early in the morning so you can capture the moments when the sun’s rays illuminate the dense pine forests and rolling mountains. It’s truly a magical sight that you won’t soon forget.
Obed Wild and Scenic River
The Obed Wild and Scenic River runs through the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee. Its banks are lined with sandstone bluffs, soaring rocky cliffs, and lush forests that make for a beautiful sight.
The Obed is also home to some of the best whitewater rapids in the state. The difficulty level depends on the section you’re rafting, but there are plenty of beginner-friendly spots as well.
The best time to visit is during the summer when you can explore the rapids and swim in one of its calm pools.
The Obed is an excellent spot for outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, and rock climbing. You might catch a Muskellunge, hike a section of the Cumberland Trail, or challenge yourself with some climbing routes.
The Underground Waterfall at Ruby Falls
Ruby Falls is a breathtaking cavern located in Chattanooga. It boasts one of Tennessee’s most beautiful natural attractions – an underground waterfall. It is where the scenic Lookout Mountain meets the depths of the cavern. The cave is made of limestone and rises 145 feet from the ground, and the waterfall cascades for another 26 feet. The sight is truly one of a kind.
A visit to Ruby Falls also includes a tour of the cavern and its otherworldly features, like underground pools and eerie rock formations.
It’s an excellent spot for explorers of all ages and abilities, so take advantage of this one-of-a-kind experience. Of course, the tour has a ticket fee, but it’s worth it.
The Mesmerizing Reelfoot Lake
You’ll always have scenic views when you explore Reelfoot Lake in the northwest corner of Tennessee. It’s known for its incredible beauty – a mix of cypress trees, lily pads, and open waters that sparkle in the sun’s rays.
It’s no wonder Reelfoot Lake is a popular spot for birdwatchers and photographers. You can take a boat tour of the lake and admire its many wonders, like the majestic Bald Eagles nesting in its trees and the colorful nesting boxes of the Wood Ducks.
Plus, Reelfoot Lake is also home to some great fishing spots. You can catch largemouth bass and various other species, making for a great day on the lake.
Tennessee is a nature lover’s paradise. The state offers breathtaking sights that will drop your jaw, not to mention the wealth of outdoor activities. Whether you’re a kayaker, a hiker, or an adventure seeker, Tennessee has something for everyone.
Tennessee is your go-to state if you’re looking for a place to explore and take in some of the most beautiful sights.
However, check the local guidelines and weather forecasts before heading off on your adventure. You don’t want to venture off unprepared or put yourself in any danger.