Machine Falls parking, Powell Road, Tullahoma, TN, USA
Beautiful Waterfall Hike 1 Hour South of Nashville
Gorgeous, Flexible Waterfall Hike An Hour From Nashville
Machine Falls is a great hike in the Short Springs State Natural Area and you can make it as long (the hole loop) or as short (out and back) as you like it - However long you stay, this is classic central Tennessee midsize waterfall country - it's beautiful and pristine. We went in early March during Covid-19 and so there were not very many people. I could imagine that it gets more crowded in normal, summer times. When you arrive you will be parking next to this big, white water tower and then you cross the street to the trailhead. Make sure you stay straight, then bare to the left and then you head to the falls down some semi steep stairs. You will then see the waterfall. You can do the whole loop (>4 miles) which has about ~500 feet of up / down elevation and smaller falls along the way with some beautiful small stream crossings. I took my 4 and 5 year old daughters by myself, which was probably not the best idea as it was really too long for their little legs. Older children would likely handle it fine.
If you don't want to hike that long, there are other options - here are our favorites:
1. 1.6 mile loop trail that will take you to the falls and back.
2. Go Left to "Busby" and then connect back to Machine Falls (2.4 miles loop total)
Either way, it's simply beautiful though - we will be back! Hit Rutledge Falls (5 minutes down the road and EASY) before or after your hike.
Tips: it can be slippery so wear grippy shoes.
Proceeding north on Jackson St. (US 41A), from the business district, turn right on Hogan St. (at Jiffy Lube, 4 blocks), turn left on Country Club Dr. (at the small grocery store, 5 blocks). Country Club becomes Short Springs Rd; follow for several miles to the Short Springs water tower on the right. Short Springs Natural Area is on the left.