Window Cliffs

HARD 37 reviews

Window Cliffs is a 4.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Window Cliff Estates, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
4.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
748 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

fishing

hiking

nature trips

off road driving

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

3 hours ago

hiking
2 days ago

(PART 2/2, SEE PREVIOUS REVIEW BELOW)

The trail has 3 different brief challenging inclines & declines, with the last naturally being the pay-off at Window Cliffs. Just before the cliffs, maybe less than a quarter mile, is a little look out spot where you can see up into the cliffs, and through the window that gives its namesake. The summit is defnitely worth the 2.75 miles in, and I'd recommend spending some time up there, as the hike back out will go all too quickly. I've seen this trail rated as hard or difficult, but I'd put it middle of the road at most, for an average hiker. I've also read reviews that said it was too challenging for kids, but anyone 8 years or older should be capable. The streams will give them an opportunity to test their grit, but it's entirely manageable. I've seen suggestions to bring water shoes, which isn't a terrible idea, but I can't imagine swapping them on & off with hiking shoes every few hundred yards to cross a creek. I just took extra socks to change into back in the parking lot.

All that being said, the trail is an excellent little hike, and if you have an entire day, you could easily knock out a hike around some other nearby falls. I'm not going to disclose the road where the grandma is selling eggs, as I'll let that be part of your adventure, but don't forget a few dollars cash to drop in the Igloo cooler.

hiking
2 days ago

I hesitate to even write this review. Though not because I have a less than stellar opinion of the trail, as that's definitely not the case, but rather, I struggle with adding another blip on the radar, another tiny blinking light that says come check me out, come explore, which combined with all the other countless reviews, produces a glowing orb, a mini-sun, attracting throngs far & wide. Nonetheless, even as the thongs descend, and the gap between nature and suffocating development narrows, the urge to share this nature with others compels me to put pen to paper.

Window Cliffs is an approximately 5 mile trail, which is an easy morning hike for most folks, and will probably leave many wishing for more. While that was certainly the case for me after standing on top of the cliffs, looking out over the expanse of treetops, the trail started the moment I got off I40 and turned down Baxter Road. My breathing immediately became deeper, and my eyes wider. Wild flowers of all sorts jumped out at me; oxeye daises, small skull caps, evening primrose, sandwort, and so many more I couldn't identify. It seemed every house had a barn, many of which looked immaculate, like something you could live in, but not something folks out that way would call a 'tiny house.' They've worked hard for their actual house, enjoy the space it provides, and have no compulsion or even an inkling of escaping city life for something simpler. Having never been captured, they don't need to escape.

The scene on the drive in that struck me the most, even making me quickly hit the brakes, back up, revel in awe of it, and take a picture, was of a small, quaint farm house, with a sign along side the road reading 'Eggs for Sale,' with smaller subscript reading 'Honor System.' I never saw a person around the house the few minutes I was there, milling about or busying themselves in the yard, but I feel strongly that the owner was someone's grandma, body moving slowly, but mind sharp as a tack, voice as gentle as a stream, and that grandma smell that could ease any teething baby to sleep. I didn't have any cash on me, but if I did, I would have left it all in the Igloo cooler sitting in the Red Rider wagon in her driveway, and never touched the eggs. I just wanted her to have my money, and her to sell the eggs to someone else. I can tell you this: there ain't one breakfast spot in all of Nashville, not Barista Parlor, not Frothy Monkey, not Loveless Cafe, that has an 'Honor System' sign in their window.

After a few turns and passing signs with names like Old Mill Road, Old Cane Creek Road, and Old Sam Martin Road, you'll eventually find yourself on a new gravel road, which cuts right through a dairy farm. You'll feel like you're driving through someone's personal land, and in all likelihood, you probably are. I imagine the gentlemen I saw in denim overalls, sitting around a tractor in a pole barn, fixing a broken 'X,' look at this road like the loss of a crop; were it not there, they'd make whatever more every year on tobacco, or wheat, or corn, or simply peace of mind, no city slickers intruding, making their way to some silly rocks. Having grown up on a farm, I had a fairly strong sense of guilt as I drove past those fellas, on my way to leisurely hike a new trail, no care in the world, that I should stop and ask if they needed help, if I could grab some hay bales and go feed the cows, if there was a fence that needed mending. 30 years ago, I was one of them, sitting around a tractor, helping my Dad, dreaming of being on a trail somewhere, breathing in elevation, but that day, I wanted to trade my hiking boots for work boots, my shorts for jeans, my protein bar for a sandwich that my Mom had made that morning and given to me as I headed out to be in the field all day.

The last thing I noticed on the farm was a faded red truck, with the face of a dairy cow on it, and an inscription on the door, 'Not For Hire,' that nearly stopped me in my tracks and made me question my existence in Corporate America. Not for hire. As though it were a sign from above, to put in my notice, to drop the suit & tie, the briefcase, the laptop, the conference calls, and make my way to the dairy farm & work. But not work. Be.

A few hundred yards past the dairy farm is the parking lot, with an entrance reminiscence of an old cattle farm. Beyond this, the parking lot turns into a gravel trail for just a bit, and then you're in the woods, with a steep descent into a valley that eventually feeds into Center Hill Lake. While you won't see the lake, you will get plenty wet crossing 9 different streams, which make you feel like you're actually part of the trail, and not just a passenger on the trail. For me, these crossings made the trail quite unique, and something that will draw me back. I didn't see anyone doing it, though I do at nearby Burgess & Cummins Falls, they'd make a great place to take a dip.

hiking
9 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

13 days ago

Definitely longer than 4.8 miles. Wear shorts if it has just rained! Beautiful hike.

trail running
15 days ago

This was such a fun trail! With nine fast-moving rivers to cross using cables to assist and absolutely stunning scenery including several waterfalls--this trail won't disappoint. The terrain is flat in between river crossing so it's good for trail running and makes it a little more difficult for those regular hikers/trail runners who are looking for more of a challenge. I saw some people with kids and definitely wouldn't recommend this--the river crossings were up to my shins some knees and rocks very slippery--could be really hard for kids. Come prepared to get wet! Overall one of my favorite trails! Definitely recommend.

15 days ago

One of my favorite trails !! Strenuous but fun. Wear proper shoes. You will cross 9 creeks.

15 days ago

17 days ago

This trail is the funnest trail I've ever done!! Loved the creek crossings it made the trail fun. Be careful rocks can be slippery and water swift in spots , a couple of spots I was up to my knees. ( Although I am short. ) I was glad the cables were there to use crossing the creeks. I hope they don't put bridges in or if they do you can still walk through the creeks. The waterfall was nice and the Window Cliff's were fantastic. Loved this area and can't wait to do it again. Be prepared for the steep hike back up to the parking lot though. Hopefully they will put in some benches along the trail or somewhere to hang out and eat your lunch. I highly recommend this trail . It's so worth the effort !!

23 days ago

23 days ago

This is a beautiful hike! It is definitely rigorous, but the payoff is worth it. I would say that you should definitely check to be sure there have not been heavy rains before you go.

hiking
27 days ago

Great hike. Moderate exertion, beautiful setting, waterfalls, several creek crossings.

28 days ago

great trail but really not that difficult. very flat for 90% of the hike and pretty easy navigating. overall, a really nice trail with great views.

hiking
28 days ago

Great hike. I would recommended a good wet/dry shoe or something to change into. I wore tennis shoes in and changed into chacos at the 1st creek crossing. Wore them during the rest of the hike and changed back into tennis shoes after the last crossing. I had no problems at all. The water was a little deep in some spots and was flowing pretty good after all the recent rain! I would also recommend grabbing a hiking stick. It really helped!! Beautiful scenery along the way. Bring plenty of water and snacks. Total time was about 5 hours but we took our time to chill and explore, even had a little picnic on top of the Cliffs! The hike was pretty easy except for the last half mile back to the top. That was a little rough. Kids can do it but will definitely need help, especially at the creek crossings.

hiking
28 days ago

Hiked to Window Cliffs today. The start of the trail is difficult, crossed nine creeks. Well worth the hike! Ranger alerted us of tornado warning in area, had to evacuate area back to parking lot thru heavy rain showers! With all of this, would definitely do the hike again.

hiking
1 month ago

Had a great first trip to Window Cliffs today. With all the recent rain the creek crossings were a lot deeper and faster then normal, but were awesome!!!

18 creeks crossings, a waterfall, and an awesome overlook at the end what else could you ask for.

Like all the other posts I greatly recommend closed toe water sandals for the hike or shoes you don't want to use after because they are going to be soaked!!!

With the distance being 5.5 miles round-trip it's a perfect day-hike.

1 month ago

Awesome trail! But. First things first, it is hard, it is strenuous. But it is worth it. Wear appropriate shoes, I waded through water well above my knees today. The trail going down is steep, narrow and dangerous. (Not to mention coming back up it is...rough.) Some of the creek crossings were very trying (but fun!) The water was deep and the current was fast. The view at the end was well worth it all though. A very fun hike. Not kid or pet friendly. Will be doing it again!

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This trail has some awesome, dynamic vegetation. Great scenery. The walk once you are down the initial hill is pretty leisurely. I knew there was creek crossings, but I was expecting normal trails' rock-hopping across creeks - No. You are nearly knee-deep through the 9 creek crossings each way. You either need a creek-crossing dedicated shoe (and change at each creek) or use a shoe with mesh outer and nylon socks which drain well. The cliffs are very rewarding and you have a smartly placed overlook before you get to the cliffs to wet your appetite.

I would compare this in difficulty to the Angel Falls Overlook trail. If you are a hiker or in good shape, this isn't too difficult. I completed in just under 2 hours of moving time.