Rock Island State Park, or somewhere in middle Tennessee


Rock Island is a sleepy southern town located in middle TN. It is currently home to a lovely state park by the same name as the town. This state park (est. 1969) consists of a dam operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and as one might imagine, the park boasts some epic waterfalls including Great Falls, and Twin Falls which reside below the TVA dam on the Caney Fork. It is also home to a few historic structures including the spring house and the great falls cotton mill, the latter of which cannot be entered by the public. The town has a history speckled by entrepreneurs from the post civil war era up to the the 1920s, hoping to harness the power of the water there, whose businesses were ultimately defeated by flash flooding. After the industry dried up, so did the population of the town. The area now attracts vacationers for fishing and other water related recreational opportunities.

Power lines that run from TVA power house below the great falls gorge.
Looking towards a hiking trail that leads into the woods. 
Great Falls located above the gorge is a series of many cascades flowing into deep pools. When the water levels are high, the fall are completely submerged. Many visitors jump from these cascades into the pools beneath. 
The Springhouse, or castle built in the 1890s was used for refrigeration by textile employees who worked across the road at the cotton mill. 
The Rock Island Market serves as a cornerstone for locals and visitors alike. 
I’m not sure if this was just a place marker, because I did not see a tavern. 
A peek into the little town of Rock Island, a once populated community. 
I thought this was an actual cafe due to the sign out front, but it seems to be only a private residence. 
Old Antiques store in Rock Island
An old Railroad that leads to anywhere USA
Kudzu, the vine that ate the South devours this country road. 
View of farm land from the road engulfed in grape vines and kudzu. 
TVA powerhouse located below the great falls gorge. 
Twin Falls at Rock Island State Park Twin Falls, a cascade waterfall that spills down from an underground cavern into the Caney Fork, just beyond the powerhouse. The waterfall was created by the Great Falls Dam, which caused the Collins River to rise. The rising waters began seeping into underground caverns on Rock Island’s south shore and exiting at the falls on the north shore.
Cows grazing in the quintessential Southeastern countryside
Visitors may be surprised to find a church on nearly every corner in the bible belt. This one appears to be located in a private residence. 
Sparta, a small town located nearby has a plethora of hair salons. This was one of my favorite signs. 
A blonde mannequin advertises the goods in Sparta, TN
Just one of many signs proclaiming Jesus


View from above the Great Falls gorge looking towards Twin Falls in the distance. 
Sun Bathing and being silly at Rock Island State Park. The gorge has many deep pools beneath its cascades, and layers of  hot rocks that are perfect for sunbathing. There is also small sand beach located further downstream. Swimming is not prohibited, but caution is advised as the dam upstream may be released without warning.


The cafe inside the Rock Island Market provides snacks and humble meals. It’s nothing too fancy, but it does have a warm simplicity. 

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