When a cold front came through Middle Tennessee and left the region below freezing weather for a week straight, I started planning an adventure to brave the cold and hike to a few Tennessee frozen waterfalls. After a few nights where the low reached 7 degrees, I saw an Instagram story where Greeter Falls was frozen solid, so the next morning we left on our adventure.
My first trip, with Tyler, we headed to Greeter Falls and arrived to a perfect cloudy morning. The hike is fairly easy, with an steep ending into the gorge that has you going down a spiral staircase and some steep steps. Greeter Falls is quite the splash, so the spray from the waterfalls created one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever witnessed in Tennessee.
Tyler is a good amount braver than I, and he made his way out on the ice. Reluctantly, I made my way around the edge to get closer to the falls. Just as my confidence started rising, I quickly made my was through the ice and into the freezing cold water. The water came up to my waist, but fortunately it was easy just to climb the rocks nearby back on solid ice.
This is where being prepared comes into play, and luck has little to do with it. I was carrying my camera and didn't want to risk it entirely, so sticking to the edges kept me in familiar shallow territory. I also brought an extra pair of pants and socks on the trail with me, so I stripped down to my undies in 20 degree weather and changed into my dry clothes. By the time I went to pick my wet clothes off the rocks, they had frozen and I had to peel them off. By the time we got back to the car, my shoe laces had frozen solid, so eventually got them off and switched to another pair I keep in my car.
Moral of the story is, come prepared for the worst.
I didn't want the mishap to ruin the rest of the day, so we headed down the road to Foster Falls for more adventure. Foster Falls isn't as shaded, so the falls weren't very different from the weather, but the shallow water was a solid block of ice (but we didn't dare go out on it after what just happened). However, the smaller falls to the right of foster falls is a bit more shaded, and was mostly solid ice.
Later in the week, the weather hadn't warmed up, so I figured waterfalls would be even more frozen over than before. I decided to take Daniel and Grace to Fall Creek Falls. I at least knew the Cascades would be frozen, and love the suspension bridge that goes over it. We started at the Cascades and took the trail over the suspension bridge to the Cane Creek Falls Overlook.
Opting not to do the trail from the Cane Creek Falls overlook to Fall Creek Falls, we headed back to the car to drive to the Fall Creek Falls overlook, where we hiked down to the base of the falls. The base of Fall Creek Falls was completely frozen over. Both of the falls went under a thick sheet of ice and reappeared many yards away where the river forms again. The smaller of the two falls had created a 25 foot ice mountain over the week, and there was six inches of ice covering most everything around it. The whole basin was covered in ice that wasn't too slippery, but made a perfect winter scene.
On our way out of the park we stopped by Piney Creek Falls, and checked it out from far away before heading home. I plan on heading back to Fall Creek Falls again soon and checking out more of Piney Creek Falls and doing the Cable Trail down to the base of Cane Creek Falls.