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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Lisa Ray (166)

5 Completed5 Reviews

Definitely top 10 hike. Locals commented on the fact there was more water than normal which made this even more extraordinary! Allow time to enjoy the beauty of the falls.

G Landen (257)

10 Completed5 Reviews

I backpacked this amazing place twice and loved it!!! This is one of the most beautiful falls around this area. The water comes out of a cave and goes back into a cave. The Sheeps cave is awesome. If you are ever near this beautiful place you need to try it!!

Glenn Crowell (61)

1 Completed1 Reviews

My wife and I hiked this trail a few days ago and we enjoyed every step. Virgin Falls and Big Laurel Falls were magnificent. The water flow was great this time of year. Overlook Trail and Sheep Cave are a must. Even though they make the hike a little longer, they are well worth the trip. Other hikers in the past have stated it is all up hill on the way back. That is not true. Even though there are several up hill grades, if you are in any kind of physical shape, you should not have a problem. Just enjoy one of God's many beautiful creations.

B.j. Dawson (455)

23 Completed9 Reviews

This was a amazing hike... Loved every bit of it.. Did the complete hike in around 4 hours with a stop for lunch at virgin falls.. Like everyone else has said its much easier going in but if you take your time its not to bad on the return trip.

Misti Bink (110)

14 Completed3 Reviews

This is one of my favorite hikes. I have done this one several times. There are so many beautiful waterfalls and views on this trail that you do not have to do the whole trail to enjoy this area. If you can make it all the way to the big water fall at the end this one is amazing! I try to find hikes I can take my dog on and this one was great. The rocky areas are a little hard to keep a dog on a lease with out you or them possible getting hurt so you may have to let them off for a few rocky areas if at all possible

Wendy Maynord (210)

6 Completed1 Reviews

Fairly strenuous trail. Be warned it's uphill most of the way back. Gorgeous scenery.

Chad Shannon (731)

25 Completed25 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.

Charles Mangum (47)

2 Completed2 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

Darrell Collins (149)

26 Completed2 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.

James Smith (1679)

23 Completed22 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.