Tennessee is home to some of the most breathtaking natural areas in the nation. From scenic mountain ranges to towering waterfalls, the state has a variety of natural wonders that you won’t want to miss out on.
Check out these seven natural wonders that call Tennessee home.
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. Attracted by the famous blue haze that covers the mountains, pristine mountain views and an abundance of wildlife in the area, tourists from all over the nation travel to this Tennessee wonder.
One of the best natural wonders of this park is the breathtaking view from Clingmans Dome. Rising at more than 6,500 feet, it’s the highest point in Tennessee. Visitors can enjoy a 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains from an observation tower.
Nicknamed the “Horseshoe Bend of Tennessee, ” Snoopers Rock offers one of the most unique views in the state. Just 30 minutes from downtown Chattanooga in Prentice Cooper State Forest, this stunning overlook offers a panoramic view of the Tennessee River Gorge.
If you’re up for a hike, follow along a gravel road and park at the Cumberland Trail Head for the park’s 6-mile loop that features several scenic overlooks on your way to Snoopers Rock. If hiking isn’t your thing, you can still take advantage of this amazing view. Just keep driving on the gravel road for a few miles and you’ll come across a parking area just a few yards away from the overlook.
Keep in mind that Prentice Cooper doubles as a hunting area beginning in the fall and is prone to closures during the season. Check out this website for information on hunting dates and closures.
Discover more places you and your family will enjoy in Tennessee.
The Elkmont Fireflies
Every year between late May and early June, the Smoky Mountains is home to a one-of-a-kind light show. The night sky is lit up with thousands of fireflies twinkling at once. Called synchronous fireflies, this species of firefly only exist in a few places in the world. To see a video from last year’s event, click here. Because this spectacular event happens only once per year, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled to score tickets.
Located near Tiptonville in the northwestern corner of Tennessee, Reelfoot Lake was created by a series of violent earthquakes in the early 1800s that resulted in severe flooding. The 15,000-acre reservoir is essentially a flooded forest where you’ll find majestic Cypress trees rising above the surface and even more still submerged under water.
Reelfoot Lake is home to a large variety of aquatic plants, flowers and birds including the American Bald Eagle. The park also offers a variety of activities including boating, camping and fishing. When you visit, be sure to take a scenic tour on a pontoon boat to catch a glimpse of the variety of flowers and wildlife on the shoreline, or camp out and enjoy a relaxing weekend at the park.
Head to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and you’ll find two towering sandstone arches situated end-to-end to create the largest natural bridge complex in Tennessee. The two arches are often referred to as the North Arch, which stands at 62 feet high, and the South Arch, a staggering 103 feet high. The arches are located just a little over a half mile from the Twin Arches trailhead.
If you’re visiting the park or want to make a weekend adventure out of the trip, be sure to take advantage of the many activities including hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing and even whitewater paddling.
Fall Creek Falls
Encompassing more than 26,000 acres on top of the famous Cumberland Plateau, Fall Creek Falls State Park is home to gorgeous cascades, gorges, streams and waterfalls. The gem of the park is Fall Creek Falls. Standing at an amazing 256 feet, it’s one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States. The park is filled with other natural wonders, including Piney Falls, Cane Creek Falls and Cane Creek Cascades.
After visiting the falls, you can camp out for the weekend, opt for a fun tour on horseback, practice your golf game at the park’s popular course or even take a swim in the park’s Olympic-sized pool.
The Lost Sea
Also known as Craighead Caverns, this spectacular cave holds the largest underground lake in the nation and the second largest in the entire world. The Lost Sea has a storied past as well. It was once mined by confederate soldiers for saltpeter and even operated as a mushroom farm during the 1940s.
Today, the Lost Sea has become a popular destination and is even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Visitors can explore the cave and take relaxing ride abroad a glass-bottom boat on the famous lake. Is your group more on the adventurous side? You can book a wild cave tour that will take you further into the caves and allow you to observe rock formations unique to the area.
What are your favorite natural wonders in Tennessee? Let us know what you’d add to this list by commenting below!
Most outdoor activities have some level of risk, and you may need to consult an expert before engaging in the activity. Alwayscheck the current weather conditions before embarking on any outdoor activity.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.