Explore Tennessee Waterfalls - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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3 hours ago

peaceful

Great hike. Was challenging at points but nothing crazy, was able to hike the whole thing going up without stopping. Very narrow at points so you will have to move to the side if someone is coming. Parking gets tight but you can park on the street. The only place to go to the bathroom is at the visitors lodge fyi which is at the start of the park.

hiking
1 day ago

this Trail is listed as hard but I imagine it's because there's a gradual incline most of the hike. Periodically there are sharper climbs with quicker elevation and some Slippery Rock When Wet. this hike is it should be listed as heavy moderate. when you do reach the summit and you step out onto the looking rock it'll make every one of your steps worthwhile. The view is absolutely Majestic.

Super steep but worth it if you feel comfortable

Gorgeous views from the top! Worth the climb.

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful hike. My wife and I hiked Virgin Falls in a day, left out around 8 AM in a foggy drizzle and by the time we reached Virgin Falls it was sunny and perfect. We did the main trail, spur to overlook, sheep cave, top of the falls and bottom of the falls and came in just over 11 miles total. Both Big Laurel Falls and Virgin Falls are pretty awesome. The trail has some sections over rocks on the descent in/ascent out that I would assume give the trail it's rating...they were tough, but not too bad. Once you reach Virgin Falls, I highly recommend the short climb down to the base, it's so worth it, (be careful it's muddy) and the short climb around to the top (again, so worth it!). We spent 45 minutes to an hour at Virgin Falls and at least another 30-45 at Big Laurel Falls, took our time and were still back to the lot in 7 hours total. I hiked it in chacos, the wife had boots...I could see where chacos might be an issue for some on the way down. Probably going to go back in a few weeks when the leaves are peaking. Also think it would be a great overnight and the camping options look great. Almost rated it a 5 but wasn't as well marked in some places as I expected, but still an excellent hike!

FYI- When you get to the Loop to the falls where it's 0.5 to the falls one way and 0.8 (Sheep Cave then falls) the other way, it might help to know that the shorter trek to the left is a fairly steep descent followed by a climb the last 0.2 mile or so to the falls. The slightly longer route to the right (also to the falls via Sheep Cave) is much flatter and possibly even quicker.

Tough but manageable 3-mile upward climb with an awesome view at the top. We are 51 and 62 in average shape and had no difficulty, but it did wear us out! It took about two hours to get to the top, where we stayed about 30 minutes, then another 90 minutes or so to get back down. Take lots of water. Don’t wear sandals as there are lots of tree roots and rocks to trip over. Hiking poles were useful.

Amazing!!! One of the best trails we done!

Short hike, great for kids, beautiful views. The only downside was the lack of sufficient parking. Would go again!

No one is kidding about the view, it's absolutely breath-taking. My fiancee and I chose this hike after seeing it across the valley from Black Balsam Knob. The hike itself starts out slow and gradually gets more difficult, after the gradual switchbacks it starts getting really rocky and the path becomes a tangle of roots, it's gets maybe a little more than a 30° incline at this point but right before you hit the top it suddenly has a downward slope. We went on a Saturday and it was pretty busy, there were lots of dogs including ours and dogs of various sizes. There were people of every age on the trail, it's not too difficult but can be a little hard on the knees. Watch out for the tree roots, they tripped me on the way down. Bring lots of water!

This was my first hike in 15 years. The ride up is incredibly relaxing with the stream running next to you for the first portion. The hike is short and easy and the views from the top are breathtaking. Camped under the stars and woke up to an amazing sunrise.

Just a heads up, someone had a Lost Dog notice posted on October 6, 2018. A Brittany Spaniel went missing, by the name of Jake. The number to call if you see him is 303.717.0291.

Just wanted to pass this on!

This was a great hike. Moderate to Hard as it says. It took us about 2 hours to get to the top, with a few stops to drink water and let our 7 yr dog have a break. It was about an hour and half back down. The hike up doesn’t have any views (maybe later in Fall or Winter), but the view at the top is spectacular. Would be an excellent place to bring some food for a picnic.

My only warning would be to watch what time you start this hike. The first time I did it, we started to late, and ended up hiking in pitch darkness. Watching people start the hike at 4pm in Autumn, made me think they would end up hiking in the dark as well. If you start late, just make sure to bring a flashlight or two.

We went on a Saturday in early Oct. and got to the park right as it opened at 8am. Parked in the lot just below the very top lot and hiked the short hike up to the swinging bridge. Then walked across the top lot to the start of the grandfather mt trail. We started the hike at 9am, made it to Calloway peak by 11:30, spent 20min at the top for lunch and then got back to our parking lot via black rock trail by 1:45pm. Round trip was about 5hrs and that is with us stopping for views and really taking our sweet time. We hiked about 5.5miles. My advice. Keep right on the underwood trail? On the way up to do the cables and ladders (which weren’t as scary as I was expecting) and then keep right at the same split on the way back for the easier descent. Calloway peak actually wasn’t as impressive as macrae peak was, so if you wanted a shorter trip just go to macrae. But all in all the $20 was worth it and this is one of the best and most fun hikes I have done. 5stars! If I can do it anyone can, just take your time on ascents and descents, but honestly they weren’t too bad. Oh, and start early!

Truly the best trail I’ve hiked in the entire Blue Ridge area. The hike did take a lot longer, because of all the heavy traffic, but it thinned out the higher we hiked. The trails had more views than I would have thought possible(due to all of the edges of the cliffs that the path etched through).

Great, short, steep trail down to a couple of great waterfalls, with very little foot traffic. Water was refreshing and the river otters were very playful!

hiking
14 days ago

It’s a tough climb.

Best hike east of the Mississippi so far!

Make sure you bear left at the beginning of the trail over the bridge. Beautiful waters.

This was the perfect trail for me to take my 2 & 5 year old by myself. Packed a lunch box with snacks and a fold up blanket to sit on and have a picnic at the summit. I could've stayed there all day. bring sunscreen as there is no coverage. Road getting there was very curvy and paved with gravel here and there. Couldn't go faster than 15mph for the most part. Took 30 minutes going up. I'd go here everyday if I could!

hiking
18 days ago

The walk up primarily is a set of switchbacks that gradually rise across the face of the same forested slope: pretty and green, but the view doesn’t change for quite a while. When the view does change, though, it is simply breathtaking. I sat on a rock just on the outside of the main exit from the forest to have lunch and to hear people’s reactions as they emerged. Just as I had done, even having read the reviews, truly 100% vocalized some instant, quiet, and genuine, nearly spiritual, version of, “Oh, wow .”

first hike I did! loved it.

Lots of deep mud! A soggy & slippery scramble. Thunderclaps as I was coming down luckily avoided rain. Overcast with clouds surrounding mountain and wind gusts. Enjoyed it!

hiking
22 days ago

We absolutely loved this hike on our honeymoon. The terrain is beautiful and unique with some of the coolest caves and waterfalls I’ve seen on a single hike. It took us about 7 hours. We hiked to Sheep Cave as well as to the top of Virgin Falls.

Worth noting:
On our way to Virgin Falls, we went the shorter way (Left) and came back by Sheeps Cave trail. The sign indicates that Sheeps Cave is a longer hike but I’ll say that the trail seemed much easier and I know it didn’t take us as long either. Both trails are beautiful but getting to see Sheeps cave and also having a bit easier hike leads me to say I’d go to the right to Sheeps Cave trail despite it being longer.

Remember to pack plenty of water and food and possibly a change of clothes at the least. We are fairly experienced day hikers and this trail is certainly hard but not grueling. If you prepare correctly, start early and take breaks when you need, it’s a very enjoyable long hike. This would be a great trail to hike to the falls and camp for the night, hike out the next day. I think we will do that next time as it is a long and tough single day hike for us.

backpacking
23 days ago

This was a great overnight hike. The falls were amazing. We did this hike on a weeknight so it was not crowded. We camped at the falls, but I think on our next trip we will stay at Martha's point.

Pretty hike. It was easy and short. Good for families or for your first hike of vacation. Gorgeous scenery but no views of mountains.

Awesome, awesome hike!! Although the mileage seems low, it is a very strenuous and technical hike. There are lots of ladders, cables, and big rocks that you have to climb up and over using your hands and feet (these were all reasons why I loved this hike, but maybe it's not for everyone!). The grandfather trail is an awesome mix of woods and walking along exposed rock faces which makes for a very dynamic hike and incredible views along the way! When I went (mid-late Sept) the leaves were just starting to change, but I bet in a few weeks (mid October) the colors will be amazing up there. Good hiking shoes with good traction are absolutely necessary - many spots of the trail were very wet/muddy when I hiked it yesterday (partly due to the hurricane, but regardless...) the steep/smooth rock faces can be very dangerous when wet, so the more traction the better. I saw a few people slip pretty bad wearing sneakers. I am a 23 year old in good shape, and a pretty experienced hiker. I hiked all the way to Calloway Peak (stopped for a bit to enjoy the amazing views at McRae peak on my way) and completed the full thing in 4 hours (this included a couple snack/water breaks and picture taking). The men at the gift shop said the hike to Calloway and back is usually completed in 5 hr for the average hiker (3 hr if just going to McRae and back). The $20 entree fee is of course a bummer, but in my opinion very worth it and they do a great job maintaining the trail (the ladders/cables are in great shape). If you are hiking on a weekend (I was there on a Saturday morning) be sure to get there early before they open (9 am) so join the line of cars that will already be forming. The parking lot all the way at the top that you will park at is right below the mile-high swinging bridge, so be sure to check that out once you finish your hike!

Great hike, even with children. Recommend hiking and then letting the kiddos play in the river. My young children who are known to complain did not want to leave after SIX hours 

hiking
27 days ago

Loved this hike! There is beauty everywhere you look! Me and my friend completed this hike in one day. If I was ever doing it again, I would do it as a overnight trip. It is a hard hike. We thought it was harder getting down to the falls instead of back up. We did all the side trails Sheep’s Cave, Martha’s Pretty Point, we took the trail to top of virgin falls to see the cave. Very nice and a good place to cool yourself off! Wish we would have had more time to hang up a hammock and relax but had to make it out before dark. Our record time from AllTrails was 9:33 hours to complete. We did eat lunch and sit down at the falls and explore some! AllTrails clocked us at 13.9 miles not sure if that is correct or not my garmin watch said 12.8 miles so not sure which is right. It is so beautiful and worth the hike! Start really early if your not camping overnight!

Nice hike, great views and wildflowers.

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