Seoni of the South, Tennessee’s Jungle Book Waterfall

Ozone Falls State Natural Area is located near the town of Crab Orchard in Cumberland County, Tennessee. It was officially established in the 1973 with just fourteen acres, but the landmass tripled in the following two decades.

A169130808_221147606454687_2647886171514625962_n

Visiting was a quick and easy stop off the highway en route from Knoxville to Crossville, and that is just partly why this is one of Tennessee’s most visited and most popular waterfalls. 

Like the nearby Cumberland Mountain State Park, Ozone Falls is a prominent feature of the Cumberland Plateau. Both Cumberland Mountain State Park and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation comanage the Ozone Falls State Natural Area.

A167115747_221147603121354_2089378861106081153_n

From the start of the trail, walk about 3-5 minutes across some otherworldly sandstone caps and you will find yourself staring down the falls. Ozone Falls is also popular for its unique collection of old trees, boulders the size of mansions, and abundance of space to camp right next to the base of the waterfall. 

A166349439_221147589788022_3914642747767628653_n

The water spills over the gorge along Fall Creek, but do not confuse that with Fall Creek Falls or that same Fall Creek. It seems like “fall creek” was originally just another way of describing a waterfall, so the term is common in these parts. Fall Creek ultimately empties into Piney Creek near the junction of Roane, Cumberland, and Rhea counties. 

A166069220_221147593121355_1966071180386698235_n

Please use common sense and do not get too close. There are no safety nets, handrails, or protective ledges here. The falls drop over 100 feet down and it would be a long, rocky death for anyone unlucky enough to slip. I was super anxious watching this lady inch closer and closer.

A166776776_221147583121356_5996948885872950059_n

Along the way you can dip your toes in some shallow clearings of the water, but stay closer to the road than the water’s edge. You could also take a trail that leads to the base of the falls where people frequently camp and swim. 

A166058556_221147586454689_766719066485449223_n

Back in the 1800s, sawmills and gristmills were all the rage. There were several built above these falls that were originally known as McNair Falls, in what was back then known as Mammy County. Rumour has it that the people found the “stimulating quality of the mists” comparable to ozone, though the word “ozone” was not used much until the early 1920s. 

168879462_221726766396771_2394676633884835534_n

The whole natural area is beautiful. Beautiful enough, in fact, for this site to be chosen as a filming location for the 1994 version of The Jungle Book which allegedly takes place in Seoni, India. 

I now know that the crew was filming from the very spot I took photos of, and you can see them in the clip below:


Visitor guides at Ozone Falls suggest it is best to visit between April and October and that leashed dogs are welcome. Parking is extremely limited, and that includes the somewhat dangerous looking lot across the street that is often packed with cars despite the No Trespassing signs.

I don’t think anyone really minds as long as you just park there, leave your car to visit the falls, then leave altogether shortly afterward. Don’t linger.

168855728_221726816396766_5845798905584671374_n

In the area for a while? Follow me to Cumberland Mountain State Park and to the city of Crossville!

*********
© Copyright Fernwehtun, 2015- Current. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Fernwehtun and Fernwehtun.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s