by Kelley Roark and Stuart Carroll (Falcon Guides)
© 2016 Kelley Roark and Stuart Carroll/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
This trail get four stars instead of five because of lack of maintenance. There are several large trees that have fallen which completely block the trail. In one place, the only available passage is a tight crawl underneath the tree through poison ivy! I agree with the other reviews except for this problem.
This is a very nice, robust trail. The first mile is mild and makes you wonder why you bothered coming out here. Then you cross a stream (dry when I went) and it is all downhill from there, literally. Nice rock formations, multiple water falls (trickles when it is dry) and neat caves. Bring your water shoes so you can explore the caves although they are technically closed because of White Nose Syndrome that is infecting bats. The water prior to sheep cave is pretty stagnant in dry periods so bring a good water filter. WARNING: If solitude is what you are after then don’t bother. This place gets packed! I have seen fewer people in the GSMNP backcountry during peak season. I get the feeling that this place is becoming the backwoods party zone for local college/HS kids in the area. I found broken beer bottles and cans around several of the campsites. I would highly recommend taking some vacation time and going mid week if you don’t want to be bothered. There are several places to camp, 5 fire rings at virgin falls campsite and all of them were full with 40 degree nights predicted so plan accordingly. Other than the people it was an excellent place to visit and highly recommended.
Great hike, up to the overlook and see forever or down into the gourge and follow the stream beside small to medium falls leading up to the trails namesake virgin falls.
Highly recommend this trail for its beauty and it is challenging going back.
6 hrs should be plenty. I did it in 5 hrs with a few stops along the way.
Dont let the 1st mile or so fool you it is pretty mudane, after crossing the creek the 2nd time it really picks up.
Great Hike! Beautiful streams and waterfalls and some interesting caves to explore as well. I think its one of the most scenic hikes outisde of the Smokies in Tennessee. Everyone should do this hike at least once.
Excellent day trip. Very well maintained trail. Beautiful falls. Plan on taking 6 hrs. plus unless you're in great shape. Bring lots of water. The hike back up is fairly strenuous.
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