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done the trail yesterday..the lost falls weren't lost to us..flowing beautifully. got some awesome pics..trail very well marked

hiking
3 days ago

Amazing hike.

Definitely difficult terrain, especially the last portion near the river. Fallen leaves cover slippery mud, tree roots and rocks. I wish I had a walking stick! Trail isn’t marked well in some areas. However, it might be our age? We were passed a few times by younger hikers that were almost skipping down the trail!

trail running
10 days ago

Fun trail. I went clockwise and got lost pretty early on and agree that signage could improve a little. I cant wait to go back. I enjoyed the diverse ecosystems that you get to experience throughout the run.

hiking
10 days ago

Probably one of the more impressive waterfalls I've seen. It's easy to lose the trail in between Virgin Falls and Sheep's Cave, so heads-up. I did this on a Thursday morning, and I only saw a handful of people the whole time. I had my dog with me, and we stopped at each waterfall for a bit, so it took me 5 or 6 hours.

Great hike if you want to wonder why the hell you aren’t back to your car yet for a couple miles. Rocks near the bottom are super slick and could make for a sore buttocks so be careful. Decent views. Easy in, hard out.

hiking
13 days ago

Hiked the trail past few days...any Lost And Found?

This is a strenuous hike. lots of rocks and boulders. if you love water falls this trail has plenty of falls.

hiking
14 days ago

Falls was well worth the hike. Being from Michigan where it is flat, I was pretty tired the last half of the hike on the way out as I was not used to the up and down. Was not as in shape as I thought either. Lol. Also did some geocaching along the way. Very much enjoyed this hike.

backpacking
15 days ago

Had a great overnight backpacking trip along this trail over the weekend. Car camped on Friday and 7 miles in to campsite 2 on Saturday. 8 miles out Sunday morning back to the parking lot (we went off some side trails adding to what would have been ~6 miles on Sunday). Would definitely recommend going counter clockwise. Hiking down into the gorge and back up the other side is the biggest stretch of elevation changes. If you're going clockwise you'll have this nice long ascent for the tail end of the hike. Going counter clockwise lets you get all that out of the way near the beginning when you should be fresher.

Campsite 2 has a well pump for water. Still recommend filtering the water but it is very convenient. Outhouses were fine to use. Clean enough, considering. Definitely recommend site 2 over 1, it is much closer as a half way mark.

The trail can be a bit difficult to find when you get closer to the nature center. Lots of fallen trees over the trail and parts were not very clearly defined. Not a big deal though, just had to take a quick minute to find a marker a few times. I saw other reviewers taking a star off their rating because of this. I don't think it was that bad. Still a five start hike in my opinion.

100% recommend this for overnight trips or long day hikes. Will likely be back

Awesome trail. The views are excellent. We did the full loop clockwise, which I would highly recommend. Going down into the gorge was very steep and rock filled. The gorge itself was lovely, and the river was flowing pretty strong. The way back up to the rim was not near as steep as the descent (again why I would recommend clockwise). Overall a good challenge but very doable if you are active.

trail running
16 days ago

This is a legit 10 mile loop, I absolutely love it. Minus one star only because there are some parts where you can inadvertently go off trail because of some rogue trails blazed by lost folks thinking they were still on the correct trail. Some signage at these junctions would solve this problem.

[TL;DR: A good starter trail if you want to do long day hikes. the only tough spot is at the top (middle) of the trail. Useful as a gear-check and practice for scrambles and rapid ascents.]

Did this 3 weeks ago; didn't have the app yet, so here's a belated review.

This is a longish beginner trail with one short (~1 mile) tough spot between the two campsites. I went clockwise (left at the junction), so after Campsite 2 I had a scramble down to the bottom, with a rapid ascent to Campsite one. Neither is overwhelming, and will be a good place to get some practice and try out gear.

The trails up to the 2 campsites are very smooth and easy. Near the Nature Center the signage and blazes go crazy, so I did the last bit on the road, as I kept getting directed to the wrong paths. I recommend parking at the Village. You've got some good connector trails and on return you've got all the food and facilities waiting on you.

This is another trail everyone I met was overnighing, but I did it in 7 hours, counting breaks, without pushing for speed at all. Very good beginner trail, but I may or may not do it again (the trails to the campsites are kind of dull).

hiking
21 days ago

It’s a pretty easy trail. I like to do it clockwise and hit the ore pit trail at the end. Good overnight for beginners. Really like seeing all the creeks, lakes, beaver dams and such.

backpacking
22 days ago

The main to and from Virgin Falls is traveled a lot. I went backpacking on a rainy day and I passed 12 or so day hikers. The trail is rocky in portions and this trail is moderate, not sure why the trail is rated hard rating. "People" not backpackers, just can not leave TRASH at the falls, just plain lazy! I have found that short hikes, less than 10mile one way, are like this.

Great!! We love it ❤️

Such a beautiful trail. The waterfall was dry but the view was still very worth it. Pictures just don't do it justice. Make sure if you plan it as a day hike to get there with 6 hours of daylight at least. Definitely planning on coming back in the summer for a few days camping.

camping
26 days ago

We really enjoyed this trail and falls was gorgeous at the end!! Several of the camp sites were occupied but we were told of a couple alternate locations. The hike is fairly strenuous on the way back as most of it is uphill. We chose to set up camp earlier in the trail to reduce weight for the rest of our hike. Numerous places for swimming holes (if it were warm weather). Definitely coming back again!

This entire trail is absolutely gorgeous! Since it has reopened, I've hiked it twice. The ranger's office told me this trail is 9.1 miles beginning at the Backcountry parking lot. Also was told no camping is allowed (yet) at the two primitive campsites. I first hiked the loop beginning from behind the playground parking lot. My GPS tracked it at 8.0 miles. The next time I began from Backcountry. My GPS lost connection down by the creek, so cannot give an accurate mileage report. It is a somewhat steep descent to the creek. If water isn't too high, it's easy to rock hop across. The trail is well marked and maintained. My Fitbit tracker logged 155 flights of stairs overall. Climbing back up from the creek accounts for 37 flights alone. Other than deer and squirrels, didn't see any wildlife. But heard a black bear moaning loudly yesterday! This is my new favorite trail.

hiking
29 days ago

If you are looking for a solid overnight hike with friends I would check out this trail. We parked at the Overnight Trailhead parking and proceeded along the lower loop trail. There is a segment where you will take the paw paw trail to the remaining lower loop. As others have stated, doing this loop counter clockwise is the way to go. I would encourage anyone who is doing this loop to start here and follow the lower loop trail to campsite 1 and then down into the gorge. The gorge is absolutely treacherous so take your time here. The mileage to Campsite 1 is super flat and very quick, the gorge should take about as much time as the hike to it. On the other side of the the gorge that crosses Cane Creek, you will find Campsite 2. That is the campsite you want for your overnight trip. The hike out is about 7 miles and gets pretty dicey towards the Nature Center. Just follow the white blazes the entire time. It is very hard to find the rest of the loop, but stay with the Nature center on your left and you'll see the rest of the trail. The last 2 miles basically follows the road and pretty much sucks.

Campsite 2 has a working water pump and some dilapidated outhouses. It has great areas for hammock camping and open meadow tent camping. I would have given it 5 stars if it weren't for the terrible break down of the trail near the Nature Center.

Nice well marked trail with good scenery. The return hike is just about all uphill. It was pretty hard, but well worth the trip.

backpacking
1 month ago

Just got back from this trip yesterday. The views are nice and trail is well maintained. HOWEVER, I made a reservation to get one of the primitive campsites...well, I get there (FROM FLORIDA) and they nonchalantly tell me that the Bear Creek Trail is closed to camping “but don’t worry we have a 2 mile trail too”.

I didn’t drive from FL, arrive at pm to hike a trail that’s going to take me 40minutes. No lookouts, no water; infact, most of the 11 sites on a 2 mile trail were families who brought WAGONS FULL of stuff with them (that should tell you how easy it was). We camped the 2 mile trail and then did most of the Bear Creek but had to turn around so that we could head home in time.

We plan on going back doing the actual Bear Creek.

beautiful place! loved it and my hiking team loved the challenge.

Tough but nice. Technical in many places. The campsites were awesome.

Hiked Upper Loop. It still has a lot of garbage and even signs from an endurance event a month ago all over it. Lot of downed trees. I lost count of how many we climbed over. Missed a turn and had to back track cause a tree had fallen on a sign. The AllTrails app got me back on the trail. Good white blazes on one half of the trail going counter clockwise but the last 1/8 of trail had minimal red emblem blazes. The garbage really needs to be cleaned up. Any future events should require the participants to trek out their litter. Also should note, there is really no scenery on this hike. I only took pictures of the many water crossings. I saw zero people all day, but I went during the week.

backpacking
1 month ago

Overall this is a great backpacking loop. There is no log book at the trailhead, apparently if you don’t book a site, they don’t know if you’re out there. We started at the overnight lot and hiked to campsite 2 passing campsite 1. The first 3.5-4 are super easy to campsite 1. This took us about an hour and a half. We hung out at the bottom of the gorge for a while as all the waterways were rushing with water after a week of rain. The ascent up the gorge kicked our a$$. This definitely makes the trail a hard trail if you’re doing it with a full pack. Campsite 2 comes at the perfect time and I thought everything was well marked to campsite 2. There are two outhouses at campsite 2 along with a well that we used iodine tablets just to be safe. #3 is the best campsite I would say at campsite 2. From campsite 2 to the overnight lot was overall pretty easy. The reason I rated this a 4/5 was because the trail markings became sparse after hitting the fall creek falls area and especially the nature center. The nature center is under construction and we had to guess where to go. There was also an area where you had to go on the road that wasn’t clear before getting back to the trail. We ended up just taking the road back to the parking lot. Overall a great trail, I would probably pack lighter for that ascent in the gorge as it took almost as long to go that last mile as it did the first 5. Overall my Fitbit said 6.17 miles in 4:15 to campsite 2 then 7.22 miles in 3:57 to the parking lot.

Great day hike. Nothing too challenging.

Enjoyed hiking this trail. Very well marked. It offers 3, 5, 10 & 20 mile trails.

Absolutely gorgeous, both along the rim and through the gorge. I started at Stone Door and hiked the loop clockwise, going down through the gorge first, and finishing the loop by hiking the trail along the rim. The trail through the gorge is difficult, trust the reviews and be prepared for uneven terrain and a strenuous climb out at the end. Also, watch your step. We saw 3 snakes while at the bottom of the gorge, and 2 of them were copperheads. Regardless, this hike is incredible, one of the best I've found among the dozen or so areas I've hiked through in TN. After emerging from the gorge, the hike along the rim is pretty easy and there are multiple overlooks that are ideal for taking in some stunning views of the gorge from above. This one is definitely worth the effort!

hiking
1 month 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.

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