Stinging Fork Falls Class II Natural-Scientific State Natural Area


Stinging Fork Falls is a 783-acre natural area located in Rhea County. It is named for the 30-foot waterfall located within the Stinging Fork gorge. The creek flows over the fan shaped falls, then quickly slips through long, flat chutes, and tumbles over cascades below the falls. The gorge contains a second-growth mixed mesophytic forest community. Steep cliffs may be found along the smaller bluffs that descend into the gorge. An oak-pine forest can be found along the gorge bluff. Indian Head Point provides a view of the gorge and creek 160 feet below. Much of the upland area between the parking area and gorge had been planted by Bowater in loblolly pine. The Stinging Fork Falls trail terminates at the bottom of the falls about 1 mile from the parking area.

Site Management

Cumberland Trail State Park, 220 Park Road, Caryville, TN 37714, phone (432) 566-2229; Division of Natural Areas - East TN Office, 3711 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, TN 37921, phone (865) 594-5601; Division of Natural Areas, William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 2nd Floor, Nashville, TN 37243, phone (615) 532-0431.

Public Access

Open to the Public - Full Access
Public access is allowed from sunrise to sunset. Trailhead parking and a hiking trail are provided. No camping.

Additional information for camping on the Cumberland Trail:

Parking: Yes
Trail: Yes
Dogs on Leash: Yes
Hunting: No
Fishing: Yes
Camping: No


Stinging Fork Falls is located west of Spring City. Access to the natural area is via Highway 68. In Spring City turn onto Shut-In Gap Road and proceed five miles to the parking area on the right.

Details & Map

  • Map to Stinging Fork Falls
  • Owned by the State of Tennessee
  • Pennine 7.5-minute quadrangle
  • Cumberland Plateau Physiographic Province
  • Designated in 1973