Virgin Falls Trail

#1 of 3 trails in Virgin Falls State Natural Area

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Virgin Falls Trail is a 10 mile loop trail located near Sparta, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking & walking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

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21 Completed 21 Reviews

This was a great forest hike. Even though it was in the dry season, the falls still had enough water to enjoy their calming and cooling effect. We went mid-week and there were very few hikers on the trail. When you make it to the third set of falls, (the Virgin Falls, I think), make sure you take the spur to the top. You will enjoy the worlds most natural air-conditioner and an intriguing view. It is a fairly strenuous hike back so make sure to bring enough water and eats.

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2 Completed 2 Reviews

This is a great trail, we didn't get all the way to the last fall since we had two little ones and they got tuckered out halfway. We'll return again to go the entire route and camp

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1 Completed 1 Reviews

Great hike. Plan a whole day to enjoy Virgin falls, Sheep Cave, and the Caney Fork River. There is a great smaller falls on the way in over a massive cave. Great hike. I did it 3 hrs 39 min the second time, but was trying to outrun the dark.

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19 Completed 18 Reviews

One of the best backpacking trips we've been on. My wife and I decided to make a two day trip out of it and camp at one of the 5 primitive (authorized) campsites. Thankfully, Tennessee owns this natural area now and they can start assisting in regulating some of the destructive activities going on out there by irresponsible hikers and backpackers. We came across some litter, human waste not taken care of properly, and several eco-damaging fire locations. Please take the time to pack out properly and follow the first rule on these trails... Take only pictures, leave only footprints!

Since we had two days we took the time to visit the overlook, virgin falls, big branch falls, big laurel falls, the sheep cave and the spur trail (top of falls). The spur trail is a MUST see! You will really be amazed at the wonder of this area. The hike is really impressive and challenging. There are numerous caves in the area, but decided not to explore them since White Nose Syndrome has been found on the bats here. Human's can carry this to other caves via their clothes and gear, so we stayed out of the caves. If you venture inside, please practice standard decontamination rules before and after caving.

Our primitive campsite had the second largest falls in the background and sleeping to the sound of that was truly awesome. On the trail you can spot several campsites, made over the years, before trying to regulate and protect the area. Although some of the spots are really cool, it's best to use the campsites that are authorized. It was really hard to find out anything about the campsites via the web, so this review has some information about each of the campsites available to hikers. This is a first come first serve system that requires campers to register at the kiosk with arrival and departure dates and the camp you're staying at. So knowing a little about each site really helps choose the right one.

Cable Crossing Campsite - a nice open area with water access and some primitive chairs and benches setup. It looks like at least 6 tents can be setup in this area. A single existing fire-pit was available with no shortage of downed wood to use. This is a very public and open location with day hikers and backpackers passing through frequently.

Big Laurel Campsite (where we stayed) - a truly amazing spot. It sits right at the falls, but is not visible from the base of the falls. There are 4 fire pits and enough room for at least 5-6 tents or four families in this area. Not much for primitive chairs or benches short of what we made before leaving. There is a shortage of downed wood in this area so be aware that you will be collecting wood at least a mile from base. This is a very public and open location with day hikers and backpackers passing through frequently.

Martha's Pretty Point Campsite - really pretty awesome, located at the overlook trail. There are spots for multiple families and tent setups with fire-pits. Plenty of downed wood for use in fire. This is not an easy one to get to with gear. The overlook trail is moderate to difficult in some spots and rain makes it much worse. Water is not near the camping area that we found so hiking for water will also be required. This location is secluded and not traveled by most of the day hikers.

Caney Fork Campsite is also pretty secluded. There is an amazing swimming area with very large pools of water to enjoy. This is the biggest location for camping. It looks like it could handle 10+ tents and multiple families. There are multiple fire rings and plenty of downed wood to burn. Bring your bug repellent though, the water in this are generates no shortage of insects.

Virgin Falls Campsite is really public and a major focal point for the hike, so be prepared to be visited numerous times daily. There is a great spot right at an overhang with the falls in view behind you. There are multiple fire pits and spots for around 6 tents. Plenty of downed trees and wood for your fires. This location is where we will be headed for our next camping trip.

All in all this trip was breathtaking and filled with memories that my wife and I will share for years to come. We will be back this year for sure and do a wintertime run as well. We ended up with 16.5 miles hiked over the two days and I can tell you, it's worth every step. Be sure to visit the link I provided as well. The write-up regarding this hike will help you tremendously. Whatever you do, get out there and see this truly amazing wonder of Tennessee.

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18 Completed 7 Reviews

AMAZING TRIP. By far my favorite hike. There are 3 main falls, in this order: Big Branch, Big Laurel, and then the spectacular 110 foot Virgin Falls. I printed off each landmark from Cloudhiking.com to know what we would see next and see where we were located throughout the hike. There are probably 50 smaller tiny falls and rapids, great cool-down spot to take a dip. The first mile is mostly woods, but after that it starts getting exciting. I would recommend going partway, and staying overnight. This would have made it a lot easier for us. We went hard and fast, making it in 4.5 hours, leaving us very sore and not able to take the side trails to enjoy. Beautiful caves as well. Explore and enjoy God's beautiful master designs on this trail!! His handiwork is extremely evident here.

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12 Completed 1 Reviews

Awesome trail! We camped at the bottom of Virgin Falls. The ground was soft and listening to the waterfall the whole night made for some great sleeping.

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9 Completed 2 Reviews

Great great hike! My bunch is putting these views right behind havasu falls. If you have a pack for 1 or 2 days I would call this one strenuous if you are in average condition. We spent one night only but I would suggest 2 nights. It's worth the time and we will plan a 2 nighter next time. Put this one on your list folks!

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1 Completed 1 Reviews

I love this trail! I just got done with a 2 nighter here and had an awesome time. its low mileage but there is a ton of stuff to explore in the area that its worth spending some time there. can't wait to go back

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5 Completed 2 Reviews

Great hike. A lot of features but the trail will make you earn the sights. A little higher traffic than I prefer but there is camping everywhere along the trail and all in pretty cool spots. Will do it again someday.

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8 Completed 2 Reviews

Just completed this trail yesterday and loved it. Probably one of my favorite trails in Tennessee. Lots of unique features. I am a moderately experienced hiker and am not in the best shape of my life, but was able to complete the trail in around four hours. I stopped only at Big Laurel Falls on the way in (most of the trail on the way in is downhill so the going is pretty quick) just to look at them and get a few gulps of water. On the way out I had to stop quite a few times on some of the steeper climbs. If you're more on the inexperienced side you can still do this trail, just give yourself plenty of time. The trail is marked fairly well but there are a few spots that you could get lost in easily if you run out of daylight. Also note that there is a cable crossing that sometimes has a high water level. When I went there was a fairly stable makeshift bridge of logs out to the first big boulder but in higher water that crossing could be a bit tricky.

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