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Yet another incredible waterfall about an hour from Nashville. I am continually amazed at the number of waterfalls easily convenient to Nashville.
Winding Stairs Park and Nature trail is located about 60 miles from downtown Nashville in Lafayette, TN. Lafayette is located northeast of Nashville. There is no mention of this waterfall in my 1996 Waterfalls of Tn book. It is in the newest version though. I only recently started seeing pictures and mentions of it on Facebook.
History of Winding Stairs
It took me quite a while to find out much about how or when this park came to be. In January 2015, the city of Lafayette purchased the 29 acres containing the hills and waterfalls. The “Winding Stairs” was well known to many Macon County residents. There are pictures of people at the falls that appears to be from the the early 20th century. There was a Facebook comment saying that to get to the falls, you originally had to walk through a cemetery.
Photos courtesy of Facebook page for Friends of Winding Stairs
Trails and area
I will start by saying Winding Springs park is very easy to find. There is a very visible sign and a decent amount of parking. There are restrooms right at the parking lot.
We got there early on a holiday weekend and were only the third car. You can see the main falls by two different manmade overlooks. There are also steps (LOTS of them) to take you to the bottom of the falls. There are hand rails which makes for much more sure footing. We briefly stood at the west overlook and then headed on our way.
I decide to start our journey by going down Jacobs ladder. It is only .3 miles but extremely steep and slick when we were there. There is a cable to offer some assistance. Unfortunately here (the very beginning of the hike) is where my husband injured himself. He slipped on a rock and fell back bending his knee really awkwardly. This made for a very slow and cranky rest of the day. Jacobs ladder takes you down to the stream and then leads you to a cascading waterfall. The quiet along with natures beauty makes for a peaceful experience. (Unless your husband is hurt and whiny).
There are a couple of creek crossing which I failed at crossing. I put both feet in at one point. Wet Feet! Yuck. But I’m pretty sure some other people got more than wet feet.
Walking back along the Cascades trail was enjoyable. It is steep at times and some others were NOT ready for this. One lady had flip flops on. Yikes. We had slipped but she looked headed for complete catastrophe.
We then just headed to the stairs that lead to the Winding Stairs. Due to his not walking so well, especially after all the steps down to the falls, our pics aren’t stellar. Since we weren’t up for slipping, we passed on walking out onto the rocks and down below the waterfall.
I had every intention of also doing Red Oak and Milk Pail Trail/Loop but had to forgo it this time due to my photographer’s injury.
By the time we left there were quite a few cars even though we weren’t there for very long.
There was not a lot of trail traffic. I believe many of the hikers we met that day were local and seemed rather unprepared for a somewhat strenuous hike.
Winding Stairs is absolutely a hike I recommend in Middle Tennessee.
I have to get back out there to finish all the other trails.
P.S. My husband discovered after his shower that he had torn his thighbrow or inguinal crease. The crease between your torso and thigh. It looked rather painful. So he was quite the trooper to carry on while having this tear.
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