Tennessee Waterfall Old Stone State Park

Tennessee Waterfalls

I had several titles for this post but Tennessee Waterfalls easily became the winner after looking at the pictures. The top photo was taken at Old Stone Fort State Park. We walked to this waterfall and the others in the park from our campsite. Old Stone Fort State Park was our second stop in Tennessee. Our first stay was at Tims Ford State Park. As you can see from the following photos this was a wonderful campsite. We had a great location, right next to the lake.

Our Lake front campsite at Tims Ford
Our Lakefront Campsite at Tims Ford

Tims Ford Lake

Most of the campsites at Tims Ford were flooded due to high water from the severe storms that had gone through the area a few weeks ago– but we got double lucky. First, lucky because our campsite was dry and second, because of the high water level, the water was much closer to our campsite than it usually is. This means that we only had about 30 yards from the front of our car to our kayaks on the shoreline right in front of the RV. We didn’t leave them on the shoreline for very long and made two wonderful evening paddles on the lake.

Kayaking on Tims Ford Lake
Kayaking on Tims Ford Lake at Sunset

Huntsville

We departed Red Bay one week later than we anticipated so we had to cancel most of our stay in Huntsville to get back on schedule. Our stay was cut only to one night. Here is a link to the entire story about our stay in Red Bay. Red Bay Makeover

Covid Shots

The entire Covid vaccination picture for us changed when we crossed into Tennessee. Both Mississippi and Alabama were not giving shots to people our age when we were there. Right after our arrival in Tennessee, we found out that on the following Monday we would qualify for the vaccination. That evening I did some internet searching and found out that if we drove forty miles to Shelbyville we could get the Johnson and Johnson vaccination. Tami and I made our appointments right away — mostly because of any delay and the appointments may get filled.

We had been waiting for our turn in the vaccination rollout for quite a while. So on Monday morning, as we were driving into Shelbyville, an hour early for our appointment, I get a call from an unknown number which I didn’t answer. I got the voice mail to call Walgreens as we were pulling into the parking lot. Instead of calling back, we just went inside. The phone call was to inform us that to get the J & J vaccination, we had to live in Tennessee.

Since we were there, standing in front of the pharmacy window, we were able to convince them that we qualified. Somehow everything fell into place and we got stuck (in a good way). I think it was harder to turn us away since we already drove forty miles just for that purpose. I think that it also helped that all the appointments for vaccinations that morning were no-shows except for us.

Lynchburg

On the way back to Tims Ford we stopped in Lynchburg, home of Jack Daniels. We had lunch in the town square at a BBQ place. After that, we took a walk on the grounds of the distillery. Tours of the distillery were available but since we already had a full morning we decided that perhaps we would just come back another day.

Downtown Lynchburg Tennessee
Downtown Lynchburg Tennessee

Flooding

Each day we watched the water level at Tims Ford drop. Just across the cove, gradually at first, you could see the picnic tables emerge slowly from below the water surface. By the time we left, it seemed that they were almost ready to open the submerged campsites. It was kind of spooky watching a foot of water missing each morning.

Getting a campsite that was high and dry was totally based on luck. The campsites that were submerged were considered the premium sites and they were already taken when I made my reservation. I think that most of the campers displaced by the high water were able to fit into different sites but perhaps some were turned away.

Speaking about flooding, I started getting emails about our upcoming reservation near Nashville. It also was flooded and we had to delay our arrival one day so that we could arrive on the new opening day. This was about a week after they were scheduled to open. This means that we stayed an extra day at Old Stone Fort State Park.

Old Stone Fort State Park

I already mentioned that the picture at the top of this post was taken at Old Stone Fort State Park. The next three pictures of Tennessee waterfalls were also at Old Stone Fort State Park. We had only intended to stay two nights at Old Stone Fort State Park but because of the flooding near Nashville, we added a day to our reservation.

Tennessee Waterfall at Old Stone Fort State Park
Machine Falls

Old Stone Fort was the name given to the area, on a high point with streams on two sides complete with challenging climbs and only one obvious entrance. The first anglo explorers decided incorrectly that the fort was created by the Spanish. These assumptions were wrong and the “fort” pre-dated the Spanish by about 1500 years. The entrance was blocked by walls that formed a narrow area. Inside the walls, there is a meadow about fifty acres on the hilltop. More walls were built on the sides that were not flanked by deep ravines or the Duck River.

Tennessee Waterfall at Old Stone Fort State Park
Machine Falls

All of the walls now are dirt mounds and the fort area is an open meadow. The first non-native settlers farmed the meadow and built mills along the river using the flowing water to power the mills.

Too Big?

The current thought is that it wasn’t a fort but rather it was a ceremonial place. The contention is that that hilltop was too large to be easily defended. The area behind the entrance seems to show all the makings of a defensive fort, complete with all the necessary defensive positions and enhancements to enable defenders an easier defense. Why would anyone want to try to defend such a large location, perhaps because it contained a very productive farm? But who am I to judge the conclusions of these scholars. I will say that I am a little tired of defining locations as ceremonial. However, I do admit that the term ceremonial sounds more scholarly than “no idea”.

One thing that is well known is that the Duck River has some very nice Tennessee waterfalls.

Tennessee Waterfall at Old Stone State Park
Waterfall at Old Stone State Park

Seven Points

After Old Stone Fort our next campsite is seven miles to the east of Nashville on J. Percy Priest Reservoir at the Seven Points Campground. Seven Points is a very popular campground for the residents in the Nashville area and getting reservations was very difficult, so we were only going to stay mid-week on the second week after they opened for the season. Because of the flooding, we arrived on the newly rescheduled opening day which cut our stay yet again.

So far, after leaving Arizona we have dealt with numerous cold fronts and weather events. Flooding at Seven Points was just another one of these adjustments made for weather. We have learned to venture out at the first hint of sunshine because after that it will soon rain again. Hopefully, now that it is mid-April, we won’t be involved with any more arctic blasts. Just maybe we won’t get any more tornado warnings at least until hurricane season.

Nashville

I guess everyone, other than me knew, that Nashville has a replica of the Parthenon in Athens. Unlike the original, the Nashville Parthenon is still standing and fully appointed including a huge statue of the Goddess Athena.

Parthenon in Nashville
Parthenon in Nashville
Statue of the Goddess Athena in the Parthenon
Statue of the Goddess Athena in the Parthenon

My knowledge of Nashville only included it as the heart of country music. Our visit was so brief that it only included a visit to the Parthenon, lunch at the Row Kitchen and Pub, a visit to the Johnny Cash Museum, and a walk through the old downtown area. We missed nearly all the most important tourist locations including the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ol Opry, and Costco. Tomorrow we plan to drive back to Nashville and take in a couple of more cultural stops.

Corner of Broadway in Old Downtown Nashville
Corner of Broadway in Old Downtown Nashville

More Tennessee Waterfalls

Our newest location is about fifty miles east of Nashville. We are camping right below the Center Hill Dam on the Caney Fork of the Cumberland River.

Our riverfront campsite on the Carney Fork River
Our Riverfront Campsite on the Caney Fork

This is one of our favorite campsite views and it is another lucky break. When I made these reservations for this weekend the riverfront sites were closed. There was that flooding question that has been an issue for the last three weeks. When we arrived we set up in a perfectly good campsite, but saw all the riverfront sites appeared to be open. Only one riverfront site was occupied by an RV. When I made my reservation, the riverfront sites were not available for selection. A little research found that the riverfront sites opened that morning. With Tami’s encouragement, we switched spots.

Just upstream from our campsite the floodgates on the dam are wide open and the river bottom in front of our RV is well beyond its banks. I’m going to count this as another one of my Tennessee waterfalls.

Tennessee Waterfalls open flood gates on the Center Hill Dam
Open Floodgates on the Center Hill Dam

I have lots more pictures of Tennessee Waterfalls. In fact, I think the next post will be titled More Tennessee Waterfalls. The other possible titles that didn’t quite make the cut was Tennessee Chicken. We have found that Tennessee Chicken is way better than a better-known Kentucky Chicken (available nearly anywhere). The other rejected title was Tennessee Whiskey, mostly because we don’t know much about that subject.

Links to places mentioned in this article.

6 thoughts on “Tennessee Waterfalls”

  1. Hello! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and I finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout-out from Dallas!

    Keep up the good job!

    The waterfalls are so pretty.

  2. You’ve definitely found some great campsites. Hopefully they’ve made up for the questionable weather. I’m glad to hear you were able to get your vaccines too. That residency thing has been a real challenge for us fulltimers. It’s nice to just have it done. Agree 100% on Nashville hot chicken. That stuff is delicious!!

  3. Wow! The falls look amazing. I may have to reroute our fall plans (no pun intended) to see more of Tennessee.
    Thanks for the great blog post and for sharing your adventures!

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