Spring Creek Gorge

Waterloo Falls, Spring Creek, Overton County, Tennessee 19

Spring Creek Gorge begins at Upper Waterloo Falls (36.302529,-85.475847) and ends at the confluence of Spring Creek and Roaring River. It's a rugged stretch of river best negotiated via canoe or kayak when the water is high enough to run. In other parts of the year, people access the gorge by alternating hiking and floating on inner tubes. Numerous cascades and waterfalls can be found along the course of Spring Creek as it drops down into the Nashville Basin.

Spring Creek Gorge, Jackson, Overton, and Putnam Counties, Tennessee

The map above shows in detail the path of Spring Creek, a designated State Scenic River, and the locations of its many waterfalls.

Access to the gorge is through private property. An access easement appears to still exist, though access to Upper Waterloo Falls is now prohibited unless one comes in from Waterloo Rd before the bridge. The access easement hinges on respect of the land. Periodically it's necessary to clean up after the idiots who party there and trash the parking area and around Waterloo Falls.

Heading downstream from Waterloo Road along Spring Creek, one first encounters Upper Waterloo Falls. This feature is smaller than several unnamed features along the course of the river, but earned a name given its proximity to the road.

Upper Waterloo Falls, Spring Creek, Overton County, Tennessee 3

Waterloo Falls (36.302807,-85.467413) is next. It's a wide 35' drop at the contact of the Fort Payne and Chattanooga Shale (like many other local waterfalls).

Waterloo Falls, Spring Creek, Overton County, Tennessee 18

A small 5' drop (36.304800,-85.466451) is encountered just before a sharp oxbow bend. From this vantage one can see up to Waterloo Falls, and down the gorge a short distance.

Spring Creek, Overton and Putnam County, Tennessee 1

The next drop is at Meat Grinder Falls (or if you're a kayaker, just Meatgrinder; 36.304448,-85.468762). It is a nice cascade which follows a joint at 45 degrees to the river.

Meat Grinder Falls, Overton and Putnam County, Tennessee 6

Mill Creek Falls (36.302529,-85.475847) pours in on the left dropping 54'. It's a stunning, and challenging waterfall to get to. When it is flowing best, one must negotiate whitewater in a kayak, canoe, or other such device.

Mill Creek Falls, Spring Creek, Overton County, Tennessee 3

More waterfalls await the daring adventurer, but many are wet weather features best photographed during high water conditions. It is strongly inadvisable that one visit the gorge during high water without the right gear (a boat), and experience. Nearby Blackburn Fork and Cummins Falls have had several fatalities as a result of water rising quickly in a narrow canyon just like that of Spring Creek Gorge.


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