Short Springs State Natural Area - Machine Falls Loop - Hiking

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Summary

The Short Springs State Natural Area provides stunning views of Machine, Adams, and Busby Falls on a short but strenuous five mile loop.

Written by

Krista Coulter

Distance

5.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

57.7 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

2 hours

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

No

Land Website

TN.gov

Review

Intro

The Short Springs State Natural Area provides stunning views of Machine, Adams, and Busby Falls on a short but strenuous five mile loop.

What Makes It Great

Short Springs State Natural Area packs a lot of punch for such a small area. After parking at the trailhead, travel across the street to where the trail actually begins. The Machine Falls Loop starts off mostly level, but the closer you get to the falls, the steeper the climb becomes.

About a mile in, there will be a trail marker for Adams Falls, an out and back spur trail about a half mile each way. Adams Falls is the least impressive of the falls but is still a beautiful sight to see when it's actually flowing.

Once back on Machine Falls Loop, continue down the trail until you reach the wooden footbridge. Walk down the stream a ways and you'll get to the base of the falls. During the winter, it will be partially frozen over, making for a stunning image despite the cold. During the summer, it makes for a fantastic place to stop to dip your toes in the water.

Once back on the trail, cross the bridge and make your way back up the hill. Follow the Bobo Creek Trail when the marker appears to view Upper and Lower Busby Falls, only about a half-mile trail. From the Bobo Creek Trail you can also wander up the Laurel Bluff Trail that connects back to the Machine Falls Loop near the entrance to get you to the five miles of available trail.

If you're really interested in getting up close and personal with the natural waterfalls be prepared to get your feet wet and pack plenty of water for the hike back up—it's sure to get your heart pumping.

Who is Going to Love It

You'll love this hike if you're wanting to maximize your sight-seeing in a short distance. It can be as short or as long as you want it to be, depending on what trails you take advantage of.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Take Exit 111 off of I-24 and turn right onto McMinnville Highway. Follow for five miles and turn right onto Belmont Road, then shortly past that turn left onto Rutledge Falls Drive. Continue about 4 miles until you reach Short Springs Road and turn left. About a mile up the road you'll see a large water tower where the parking lot is located. The trail begins across the street.

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Location

Short Springs State Natural Area

35.409037, -86.182

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