Virgin Falls Trail at Virgin Falls State Natural Area

Sparta, Tennessee 38583

Virgin Falls Trail at Virgin Falls State Natural Area

Virgin Falls Trail at Virgin Falls State Natural Area Professional Review and Guide

"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."

More Virgin Falls Trail at Virgin Falls State Natural Area Professional Reviews and Guides

"This hike explores Tennessee’s most visited state natural area, and presents three other falls in addition to heralded Virgin Falls. Part of greater Scotts Gulf, the hike warms up with Big Branch Falls, then traverses bouldery trail to find Big Laurel Falls, a vertical drop into a stone cathedral.

Next comes fascinating Sheep Cave Falls with a 90-foot spill from a cave mouth back into the ground. Virgin Falls is the ultimate highlight. The aquatic veil dances down mossy rock into an open fissure. Allow plenty of time for your hike; the trail is slow and rocky and the falls deserve sufficient time, too."

Virgin Falls Trail at Virgin Falls State Natural Area Reviews

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5/3/2018
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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.
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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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4/28/2010
Wow! 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.
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3/19/2010
Absolutely gorgeous! (Martha's Pretty Point (Caney Fork Overlook) is worth the hike up too. Beautiful especially at sunset and on a clear night-millions of stars!
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11/21/2009
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.
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10/9/2009
Because of all the rain the creeks at the trailhead were swollen, only made it about .4 miles and had to go back. Disappointing, but I will surely return to make it to both sets of falls and overlooks.
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9/24/2009
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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7/1/2009
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5/12/2008
This is one of the best camping sites in Tennessee. The trail isn't too tough, but the campsites and scenery are are unbeatable. Read my complete trail report here: http://troop158.org/Home/tabid/187/EntryID/60/Default.aspx
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Virgin Falls Trail at Virgin Falls State Natural Area Photos

Trail Information

Sparta
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
8.4
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
6 to 8 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
1,750 feet
Trailhead Elevation
feet
Top Elevation
Waterfalls
Features
Managed by Fall Creek Falls State Park, 10821 Park Rd., Spencer, TN 38585; (423) 881-5708 or (800) 250-8611
Local Contacts
USGS quad 332SE, Lonewood
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018