Compression Falls

HARD 38 reviews
#6 of 95 trails in

Compression Falls is a 1.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Butler, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and rock climbing and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

1.7 miles
761 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash


rock climbing





wild flowers





Hard to find trail with very challenging descent to river and series of waterfalls, main falls is Compression Falls, further up river are two more falls, Twisting Falls and another falls, but are harder to get to. Compression Falls - many times misnamed Twisting Falls - is found in the Elk Mills area of Carter County near the border with North Carolina. On the northeast side of Beech Mountain, NC and just across the Tennessee border on Dark Ridge Road, this hike starts from a dirt parking lot down a gradual and wide 0.3 mi. trail to a sharp left turn straight down a 60 degree quarter mile slope through the forest to a riverbed. You have to use roots & rocks as steps and tree holds to maintain balance (and the way up is a climb) and reach the Elk River. From there, take a left upriver about another third of a mile to the biggest falls, 35' Compression Falls. Another quarter mile upriver is 20' Twisting Falls, and the locals tell me there is another 20' falls upriver from that. This trail is extremely dangerous and the locals don't recommend anything but hiking boots to get you there and back. The climb up is a great workout however. The falls are beautiful and pretty impressive.

9 days ago

10 days ago

14 days ago

Went last weekend right after a lot of rainfall so the water was really flowing. The trail isn't terribly difficult though I would suggest shoes with good tread. Be watchful for yellow jacket bees nests as we saw 3 nests in the ground along the trail. Luckily we didn't get stung but some folks nearby did. We slid off the falls and the water was swift so be sure you are a good swimmer if you decide to do this. Overall an excellent hike and the waterfalls are amazing!!

22 days ago

Crazy good

1 month ago

Very good overall but the climb down the trail was slippery and dangerous.

Would suggest caution especially when wet and if you do not have some level of experience.

1 month ago

2 months ago

2 months ago

awesome falls that are way off the beaten path. Great place to escape, chances are you'll only find a few locals. Definitely not a tourist trap! #enjoythewild

3 months ago

3 months ago

Pretty day! Fun to jump and explore cliffs! It's pretty dangerous and slippery tho!

The trail was steep, but not 2 miles like the app indicates. It is definitely worth getting down to the falls and at least jumping in for a swim. I wouldn't wear flip flops, but water shoes will work fine. Also, if you're bringing any kind of beverages or food, please take your trash back up with you.

11 months ago

11 months ago

We have never hiked "down" to a waterfall, so this was a different experience. It was steep, but fun. The falls were amazing. I actually wish I had the guts to slide down the main falls into the pool. I wish the college students took their trash with them. Just beware the rocks are extremely slippery. My husband & I had a blast & plan to come back.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

It was a lot harder than we expected, but it was definitely worth it!! Highly recommended, but be sure to wear good hiking shoes!!

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Awesome! There is much risk involved particularly going down. Very steep elevation and you must be very reliant on taking your time and using trees to grab on to. In addition, the rocks are slick and treacherous at the falls if not careful. Going back up is much safer but quite exerting. Well worth it without a doubt!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Super steep but well worth it. We backpacked in and camped. Not much space to camp but magical to wake up with this falls in sight. Two more falls above this one that are easily accessible by swimming. We jumped off both and slid off of the main falls! Had an absolute blast! Currents can be strong so be careful and use your brain. And as always...TRASH IN TRASH OUT! Picked up atleast two bags worth of left over trash :(

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Very steep trail; bring some good hiking shoes. The climb up is actually easier, in terms of slipping risks, just more of a workout. The rocks to get to the base of the waterfall are also very slippery but there is a rope to help you up. The fall itself is absolutely gorgeous. Pictures just do not do it justice. If you plan on jumping off, please be careful; there were three people who were injured from jumping when we went, and locals told us injuries were common. Other than that, the fall was worth the hike!

Thursday, June 16, 2016