Through the Looking Glass: A Window into The Upper Cumberland

The Upper Cumberland Region of Tennessee has several unforgettable hikes and is known for its pristine natural beauty. Not everyone is an outdoor enthusiast, but it’s hard not to be when you are living in The Upper Cumberland and surrounded by beautiful hiking trails and nationally-ranked waterfalls. 

The Upper Cumberland is centrally located between Nashville and Knoxville, and one of few regions where you can take a step out of a big city and land in the country. One of the local's favorite scenic spots is Window Cliffs. Window Cliffs is a 275-acre state park designated in 2014. It is located in Putnam County, 18 miles south of Cookeville. 

This state park is different from others in The Upper Cumberland because it features a unique clifftop that consists of a very narrow, elongated ridge that rests in the neck of a winding river. It may be roughly 150 feet wide at its base, but at the cliff top, its widest point is only a couple of feet. From the top, you’ll catch breathtaking views of the Caney Fork River 200 feet below. 

A geological process has eroded the sedimentary limestone to create the prominent natural bridges, known as “windows' ', which gives it its name Window Cliffs. Charles Leseur, a French Nationalist, visited the area in the 19th century and named it “Cane Creek Bluff.” He sketched the site and it is displayed in the Le Havre Natural History Museum in France.


The window formation in the rock is an unforgettable site to see. People from all over the world come to visit Window Cliffs State Park, but the breathtaking views don’t stop at the cliff. Before climbing 200 feet of elevation to the top, there are several cascades and a 20-foot waterfall nestled within the trail. All of the features Window Cliffs offers can be observed along a trail that’s just under 6 miles.

Window Cliffs is an exciting out-and-back trail that includes 18 creek crossings (9 each way), a waterfall, a cliff top bridge with “windows” beneath it, and a spectacular view of the Eastern Highland Rim from the top. There’s a reason locals and tourists from all over recommend it! This is a strenuous hike and it's important to make sure you are prepared. 

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