Sparta, Tennessee Attractions

Sparta, Tennessee Attractions
Sparta, Tennessee, is located on the Calfkiller River in central Tennessee between Nashville and Knoxville. It is situated on the Cumberland Plateau, a geologically unique tableland of limestone and sandstone that rises more than 1000 feet from its surrounding terrain. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the area's abundant natural resources, including two state parks, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, deep gorges and caves.

Burgess Falls State Park

Burgess Falls State Park offers waterfalls, deep forests, cliffs, fast moving water and gorges. A moderately difficult 1.5-mile hiking trail intersects three waterfalls, which drop 250 feet into a gorge. The park includes the Native Butterfly Garden, a recipient of the 2006 Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award. The garden features hikes, butterfly identification walks and other nature programs. Anglers can enjoy year-round fishing for bass, brim and carp on the park's lake.

Rock Island State Park

The 883-acre Rock Island State Park includes scenic overlooks, several impressive waterfalls, the Collins River and the Caney Fork River. Situated in a limestone gorge, the Caney Fork River's class-5 white water rapids make it ideal for kayaking. Several moderate hiking trails follow the rivers and falls. A natural sand beach marks the intersection of the Collins and Caney Fork Rivers. The park offers 60 campsites.

Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness

Known as the Grand Canyon of the Cumberland's, the Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness provides 10,000 acres of diverse geography featuring nine waterfalls, gorges and lush hills. Hikers and backpackers can explore 26 miles of moderate to difficult trails. Kayakers can traverse class-5 rapids on the Caney Fork River. Other activities include cave exploring, fishing, bird watching and primitive camping.

Virgin Falls State Natural Area

Located next to the Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness, Virgin Falls State Natural Area offers more than 1,000 acres of wilderness. The most popular attraction is Virgin Falls, a striking waterfall that drops 110 feet before disappearing into a cave below. You can reach the falls by hiking a difficult eight-mile roundtrip trail that ends with a rugged, uphill climb. You will pass several smaller waterfalls and caves along the way.

Center Hill Lake

The sprawling 64-mile-long Center Hill Lake is ideal for boating, water skiing and fishing. The lake is ringed by 415 miles of natural shoreline and nine recreation areas. Three waterfalls are accessible from nature trails surrounding the lake, including the 100-foot Mist Falls, 80-foot Fancher Falls and 30-foot Upper Taylor Creek Falls.

Article Written By Julie Preiss

Julie Preiss is a freelance writer and marketing consultant. She is co-founder and partner of JKP Group, a boutique communications company. She has worked in many industries, including entertainment/media, sports marketing, technology, education, the government and more. Preiss has helped reinvent brands and launch new markets and products.

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