Burgess Falls kayaking

Burgess Falls Kayaking: All You Need To Know

Nestled deep within the heart of Tennessee’s lush landscapes lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Burgess Falls, with its breathtaking waterfalls cascading through a pristine wilderness, is a paradise for those seeking an exhilarating yet serene escape from the everyday grind.

What better way to immerse yourself in the splendor of this natural wonder than through the thrilling experience of Burgess Falls kayaking?

In this article, we’ll delve into the beauty of Burgess Falls, the thrill of kayaking its waters, and everything you need to know to embark on your own unforgettable journey into the heart of Mother Nature’s masterpiece.

So, grab your paddle, don your life jacket, and get ready to paddle your way through a kayaker’s paradise at Burgess Falls.

About the Burgess falls

Burgess Falls map
Photo credit- Department of Environment & Conservation, TN

Burgess Falls consists of three steps. Upper two falls are also beautiful. But the last one is the most spectacular fall than other two. Water drops on the river bed from a height of 250 feet. During this drop the water turns into mist by the protruding rocks and spreads around the falls. One can go to the edge of the fall through a steep trail and into the gorge through stairway.

Facilities at the Burgess Falls area

Enjoy the burgess falls area with multiple activities. Burgess falls trip is like a combo of multiple things for enjoying with friends and family.

A picnic pavilion and a few picnic tables for enjoying the food and drinks with families. There is a playground and a butterfly garden for your kids to pass their quality time at the Burgess Falls State Park. There are bathrooms, stores, and so many beautiful trees to explore.

Answer to Frequently Asked Questions

Where is it located?

Burgess Falls is located in Tennessee. It is approximately 12 miles southwest of Cookeville on Highway 135 near the White County line.

When does it open and close?

It is open every day from 8:00 a.m. and closes 30 minutes before sunset.

Who controls the whole area of Burgess Falls?

It is controlled by Tennessee State Parks and is owned by the State of Tennessee.

What can you do and can’t do at the Burgess Falls area?

Burgess Falls Cautions
Instructions to follow

The Burgess Falls has full access to the public. But certain things are prohibited to do . You can do kayaking, fishing, parking, etc. But you cannot do hunting, camping, and cutting or collecting trees or flower there.

Where to put in at to paddle to Burgess Falls?

There is a boat ramp and parking at the end of Cane Hollow Rd. You can put in at there.

Can you access the Burgess Falls other than Cane Hollow?

Yes, there is another location from where you can get to the Burgess Falls other than Cane Hollow. From Center Hill Lake, you can get to the Burgess Falls by your kayak though vehicle access is limited there.

Is it possible to kayak all the way to the falls?

Yes, it is possible. Many people go there using motorboats. But I think kayaking to the falls is much more enjoyable though it takes a few more minutes than a motorboat.

How long does it take to paddle to the falls?

Burgess Falls
Vibrant view of Burgess Falls

It is approximately 2 miles to paddle to the falls from the parking and launching area. It takes about 50 minutes for one way and one and half hours for a round trip without any break with a regular kayak. An inflatable kayak may require more time than a regular solid kayak. It is almost double. 

How long does it take to reach the Burgess Falls through hiking?

View of the Burgess Falls from the top edge

It is about 2.7 miles trail open for hiking. It takes almost one and half hours to complete this distance. Returning requires more time because you already lost most of your energy by this time. Hence start returning considering two hours in hand.

It takes approximately 15 minutes to get to the edge of the Burgess Falls from the overlook area. They said it strenuous hike but it is not that strenuous.

Is it a dog friendly area?

Yes, it is. You can carry your pups with you. Both the waterway and the trail are dog friendly. But be sure to kayaking attachment for your dog to make your trip safer with your furry pet. They may jump on the water or fall from the edge of the hills. So, ensure safety for you and your pets.

Is the water level high enough to float in the summertime?

Yes, the water level remains pretty good for kayaking and you might be able to go right up to falls but you can get close.

Can a beginner or kids paddle to the falls?

Yes, they can. If your kids are 8 or more they should do it. But if they require help in normal paddling you may need to tow them on their kayaks. So take ropes with you who knows they might be necessary for towing your kids’ kayak. Most of the cases they become tired during returning strokes. At that time you need to tow them.

Are there any kayak rental services?

Yes there! Several companies provide kayaks and shuttle services.

What is the class of the Burgess Falls?

Burgess Falls is the class I rapids. It is a very easy area for any entry-level kayaker.

Can you do fishing at the Burgess Falls area?

Yes, you can do fishing there. But you have to keep in mind that it is a busy place during holidays. So be respectful to other visitor and kayaker. Try to do the fishing away from the crowd to enjoy fishing. The Burgess Falls adventure is like “To kill two birds with one stone“.

What are the cautions to follow?

Be aware of the frequently moved motored boaters. Most of the boaters are not very aware. If your kids are along with you then pay attention to them. The best practice is to paddle taking the sideline and keeping clearance for the motorboaters. Always wear a PFD and other safety gear.

What to do if you flipped by a wave?

It is unlikely to flip over in the Burgess Falls lake. There is no such current to worry about. If you did flip, push your kayak to the shore.

If you think that you are not a swimmer or you don’t have the energy to get back to the shore, wear a PFD and always paddle with your friends.

Do not take the middle position of the lake. Paddle through Burgess Falls taking the sideline near the shore. After all, learn how to get back from the flipped position. Choose the right kayak for you that has much stability.

What to wear kayaking to Burgess falls for safety purpose?

If you are planning to kayak to Burgess falls this hot summer, you should consider some essential outfits. As we already know that it takes a pretty good amount of time to reach and return, and there is a great chance of sun exposure. Because there is almost no shed throughout the path.

Sometimes you will find debris, jagged rocks, and metal hocks all around. So be cautious about that debris.

Some people claim that they found some snakes all around the falls though most of the snake are non-venomous. But from my experience I rarely found that kind of things.

Lists of essential outfits for safety:

  1. Water sports shoes to avoid the risk of snakes, hooks, debris, and spiky rocks
  2.  A PFD if you are a non-swimmer
  3. A hat if it is summer kayaking to Burgess falls
  4. A drysuit if it is cold

That’s all you should know. If you have any queries without the above, let me know through comments. I would like to reply to you.

Note: Always wear safety gears and follow the instructions in that area. We should be respectful to our beloved nature and help to maintain its beauty for others.

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