I had some friends express interest in going camping for labor day this year, but unfortunately finding a campsite reservation the week of a holiday weekend is actually impossible (to anyone planning a trip over a holiday, make sure you book in advance by about three months. Such a bummer). Still wanting to do SOMETHING outdoors, I threw together a day trip to middle Tennessee to scope out some waterfalls, one new and one old.
According to the alltrails app, Ozone falls in Crossville, TN is a 1.3 mile hike. Apparently we took the abridged version of the trail because we made it to the bottom of the falls after about a quarter mile scramble down some rocks. This isn’t one of Tennessee’s most flashy falls, but it has a charm all its own. If you just want a quick jaunt outside, it looks like you can swim when the water is high, or even follow the stream farther back into the gully. I’d suggest taking a picnic or a hammock and just relax there for an afternoon.
Also, make sure you’re taking it slow on the drive there because the parking lots are directly on the side of the road with little to no warning. Oh, and try to catch the falls after a large rain, you’ll enjoy it more.
Since Ozone wasn’t much of a hike, I talked everyone into stopping at Burgess Falls State Park in Cookeville, TN on our way back towards Nashville. Definitely a good decision. My friends hadn’t been there before so thankfully not being able to hike to the base of the falls wasn’t too big a deal. A year or so ago flood damage knocked out the creepy/sketchy metal staircase that led down to the bottom. The abbreviated hike is about a mile in length and pretty easy for all skill levels. I’m glad I got to experience that once before nature took its course, but even without that bit, you can have a glorious view of the main falls and all the smaller ones leading down to them.
We took off our shoes and waded into the river to cool our feet down and had a few snacks before packing up and heading towards Nashville in search of burgers. I 1000% recommend Riverside Grill Shack if you’re in East Nashville. It’s a super chill-eat outside-bring the dog along type joint. Not to mention the exceptional burgers.
It's really easy to get caught up in the mindset that since you couldn't pull together the trip you wanted, you shouldn't go at all. But in my experience, you should go even when it's different than you originally planned because going is always better than not!