Virgin Falls Trail at Virgin Falls State Natural Area

Sparta, Tennessee

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17 Reviews
5 out of 5
The trail into Virgin Falls is a favorite among backpackers inTennessee because of the abundance of sights along the trail. Not only do you get the spectacular Virgin Falls, but also Big Branch Falls, Big Laurel Falls, Sheep Cave Falls, and a great overlook of the Caney Fork Gulf up on Martha’s Pretty Point. The trail does lend itself to backpacking—at almost 9 miles round-trip, it makes for a strenuous day hike, so that a lot of hikers just stretch the hike out to two days and more fully enjoy the area.
Hiking Tennessee

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking Tennessee

by Kelley Roark and Stuart Carroll (Falcon Guides)

The trail into Virgin Falls is a favorite among backpackers inTennessee because of the abundance of sights along the trail. Not only do you get the spectacular Virgin Falls, but also Big Branch Falls, Big Laurel Falls, Sheep Cave Falls, and a great overlook of the Caney Fork Gulf up on Martha’s Pretty Point.

The trail does lend itself to backpacking—at almost 9 miles round-trip, it makes for a strenuous day hike, so that a lot of hikers just stretch the hike out to two days and more fully enjoy the area.

© 2016 Kelley Roark and Stuart Carroll/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Sparta
Distance: 8.4
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 6 to 8 hours
Season: Year-round
Trailhead Elevation: 1,750 feet
Top Elevation: feet
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Managed by Fall Creek Falls State Park, 10821 Park Rd., Spencer, TN 38585; (423) 881-5708 or (800) 250-8611
Local Maps: USGS quad 332SE, Lonewood
Topo Map: Virgin Falls Trail at Virgin Falls State Natural Area Topographic Map
Guide Book: Hiking Tennessee Guide Book
Driving Directions: View Directions
Trail Directions: View Guide

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Recent Trail Reviews

9/9/2012

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.

10/2/2010

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.

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