Window Cliffs State Natural Area
Window Cliffs is a 275-acre state natural area that opened for public access in April 2017 that is managed by Burgess Falls State Park.
Visitors should note: Window Cliffs is managed by Burgess Falls State Park, but the entrance to Window Cliffs is located eight miles away from the entrance to Burgess Falls. These are two separate locations that are not connected by any trails.
This is a great place to see with a varied landscape. When entering the park, you will see a large, open farm with sky high silos. Parking is available. Your first path will be a gravel drive that leads you to the winding path.
Upon entering the wooded area, you will see a narrow path weaving it’s away around and down the ridges.
Hiking footwear is appropriate. You will cross multiple creeks so I hope you don’t mind getting wet!
The Window Cliffs have fascinated visitors for hundreds or years. First sketched by French naturalist Charles LeSeuere in 1831, these rock windows eroded from the limestone cliffs provide spectacular views.
Charles LeSeuere was a French Naturalist who traveled through the U.S. in the 1830s sketching natural features. Born in France in 1778, LeSeuere travelled across the world documenting plants, animals and landscapes.
Their meandering arrangement and rocky outcrops provide habitat for rare plants like plains muhly and northern white cedar. With on two known locations in Tennessee, muhly is the rarest plant at Window Cliffs.
Below the Window Cliffs, about 2.4 cold stream miles of Cane Creek create small cascades, steep slopes and narrow ledges and a 20’ waterfall.
Fossilized shells and skeletons of marine creatures comprise the limestone that makes up the Window Cliffs. Over a long period of time forces of wind and water have eroded the limestone faces of the cliffs and ridges to create the openings and natural bridges that make up the Windows.
The thin ridges and deep gorges around the Window Cliffs divide the landscape and provide habitat for plants. The limestone that makes up most of the surrounding bedrock is fragile. As water flows out of the Cumberland Plateau and into the Highland Rim, it passes through the stone creating fissures & cliffs that make this portion fascinating. With these natural processes, visitors are captivated by varied scenery of waterfalls and gorges.
While this place is beautiful, the same geologic processes that created it will eventually destroy it. Erosion and natural phenomenon chew away at the soft limestone.
Due to the easily erodible limestone, the Window Cliffs are very fragile. As you visit, ensure this natural treasure survives for future visitors by no climbing or picking up formations. Keep in mind you safety as you explore the area, and be aware of cliffs and sharp drops.