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America's Best Swimming Holes

Cummins Falls, Cookeville, TN

About halfway between Nashville and Knoxville, Cummins Falls cascades 50 feet over wide stair-stepped rocks into a deep cold-water pool. It’s a hard-earned scramble to the bottom that involves hiking to the overlook, wading across the ankle-deep stream, climbing up to the ridge, and using a rope guide to walk yourself down to the water. This is not a swimming hole for lightweights. Translation: expect a younger crowd. But if you’re agile (and sure-footed), the descent into the cavernous pool is worth the effort.

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