Virgin Falls Trail

HARD 383 reviews

Virgin Falls Trail is a 8.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Sparta, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
8.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1305 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

cave

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

muddy

rocky

Beautiful hike

hiking
9 days ago

This was my 4th time to backpack Virgin Falls. I just can't get enough of it, although coming up Laurel creek canyon yesterday took everything this 57 year old hiker had. I am hurting today but would not have missed it for the world. This is a tough hike in places and technical but worth every bit of sweat. Stayed at the Caney Fork river camp ground via the junction trail. Should be called the vertical rock scramble trail. Returned via the Virgin falls sheep cave trail. Anybody know whats up the the tent at Big Laurel Falls? Someone left coffee and other gear. Anyway, I don't think there is a better more scenic trail in Tennessee so 5 stars is a no brainer.

hiking
10 days ago

Good hike. Good amount of falls. Trail was a bit overgrown in parts when I was there. Going to backpack camp in next time.

hiking
12 days ago

One of my favorite trails by far.
The scenery changes almost every mile and it’s all beautiful. Plenty waterfalls and caves. The camping is great, especially by the Caney Fork. They do charge to camp now but it’s cheap.
The hike out will kick your butt if you’re not in great shape but it’s well worth it.
You don’t realize how far down into the gulf you go until you start hiking back out.

This trail is one of the more challenging hikes I have done. If you are looking for a nice short stroll I would NOT recommend this one. It took a total of 8 hours including lunch and exploring the caves to get through with a 10 year old. The streams and falls were AMAZING! Lots of little places to go explore and see. Be careful with the sheet cave near the loop. We got a little turned around with the trail markers.

hiking
13 days ago

Beautiful trail with three waterfalls! My husband and I did this hike in 4 1/2 hours which included a lunch break at Virgin Falls and I stop and take lots of pictures. Very rocky in some areas. Will definitely go back!

hiking
16 days ago

Beautiful trail. The views through the trees to to the river were beautiful, along with the other waterfalls along the way to Virgin Falls. My dog loved wading in the creek in the beginning and end of the hike.

23 days ago

Definitely the most beautiful hike I've been on in Tennessee! Babbling streams, lush forests, and the absolutely breath-taking Virgin Falls at the end, complete with a rainbow. I wouldn't rate this hike "hard", however I've hiked in Colorado extensively. There is nothing overly steep or technical but the distance will get you and the return hike from the falls is almost completely uphill. Just start early, stay on the trail, be safe, and enjoy the magic!

hiking
26 days ago

Great, challenging hike! Beautiful views along the whole route. It’s pretty easy on the way to Virgin Falls, a little steep in some areas, but not too bad since you’re going down most of way. On the way back, you feel the elevation change! Give yourself a little extra time to get back!

29 days ago

2 girlfriends and I hiked to Virgin Falls today. Perfect weather. Took us about 4 hours and we stopped at Laurel and Virgin falls to take pics and have snacks. I would rate it as hard but totally doable. The falls were beautiful. Lots of water flowing. It would also be a great place to camp.

hiking
1 month ago

my favorite by far, it's a 3 in 1 trip with such unique waterfalls. take plenty of water....

camping
1 month ago

This was my first hiking/camping trip about a month ago and Ive been wanting to go back ever since. We hiked down to Laurel Falls,Sheep Cave and eventually Virgin Falls. All were a sight to see. Virgin Falls was literally breathtaking if you're able to safely get closer to the bottom. I plan on returning this summer.

backpacking
1 month ago

Awesome trail, the elevation change gets you on the way out.

hiking
2 months ago

The trip was great! Our group made it a small weekend trip. We hiked into Martha's Pretty Point Campground Saturday morning and then relaxed most of the day. We got up early Sunday morning and hiked down to Virgin Falls and back out. It was a nice weekend and there were a lot of people there. A lot of the people seemed to be day hikers although the campgrounds fill up fast, so book in advance if possible. I recommend making the journey up to Martha's Pretty Point overlook. It is an "extra" bit of incline hiking but the view from the top is worth it. As many other reviewers have stated, the hike down to Virgin Falls is worth it but can be deceiving as it's mostly downhill. The hike back up the trail can be a long exhausting trip for those who aren't physically fit. I consider myself a fairly active 26 yr old and it was tiring but I've definitely done harder. My recommendation would be to make this a two day trip if possible. There are a few campgrounds along the way (all with a beautiful setting) and this makes the trip a little less tiring, especially if you can make the hike to Virgin falls without any gear. Happy hiking!

hiking
2 months ago

Went last week to get a feel for the trail and made it just past Big Laurel Falls. Tough hike on the return though! Wish I had arrived a hour or two sooner to complete it. Will be back in a couple weeks!

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing spot! My tracker measured as 10.5 miles. Difficulty is correct & you hike uphill a significant part of the return. Be prepared & don’t make them rescue you from out here.

2 months ago

it's a tough trail but worth it!

2 months ago

Tough going on the way back, but my middle and elementary school-aged kids did great. We went after a week of rain and the falls (all three you come to on the trail) were worth every step it took to get out and back.

We'll be going back to hike to some of the overlooks and explore the spurs.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail. The falls are so pretty after a rain event.

hiking
2 months ago

It was great!!!!

hiking
2 months ago

Definitely made it into my top 5. We went after a few days of heavy rains but the trail wasn't any harder. The river crossings were a little more interesting and we definitely utilized the cable rope at the second one. Chacos would've made it easier, taking the worry of wet feet out of the picture. Took my boyfriend and I about 5 hours including a lunch break and a snack break, we walk really fast though. Come prepped with water and a snack you'll need the carbs for the return trip. The going there wasn't too bad more moderate but holy crap, the way back, we took a lot more pauses. It's way more incline on the way back. Wasn't crazy crowded even though it was President's Day. A couple solo hikers and 3-4 groups but everyone was great.

backpacking
2 months ago

I was in love with this area. There are a few waterfalls, backcountry campsites and beautiful views everywhere! It rained while I was out there and just made everything that much more beautiful!

3 months ago

great trail. well marked but also challenging. well worth the hike. I did an over night trip and the areas to set up a twnt are great and right nest to the fall. I would not recommend this hike for kids.

hiking
3 months ago

Wonderful hike with 3 beautiful falls to enjoy and a couple of caves. The last mile to Virgin Falls is a booty kicker but so worth it!

hiking
3 months ago

Moderate difficulty. Crowded on weekends ;solitude during the week. Definitely the crown jewel of this area. Unique geological features. Great waterfalls. Spectacular hiking experience beyond the initial mile walk in. Should be on every hiker's list.

3 months ago

Absolutely awesome!

hiking
3 months ago

I want to start by saying take heed to the Hard rating. Even the trail head sign says STRENUOUS. It doesn’t appear to be until about 2 miles in, so don’t be fooled. Lots of stairs and ups and downs. Be mindful of the time it takes to get in and out. The rangers had to wait on people to come out after dark. It took us about 6 hours round trip with several stops along the way. About 2.5 hours, with a few stops to appreciate the scenery, from the falls back to the parking lot. That said, this is definitely at the top of my list. It is such a beautiful reward to get to. We were fortunate that the warmth had not taken away some remaining icicles, which made for an even more incredible first trip here and Beautiful photo opportunities as well. Not too heavily trafficked for a perfect day of mid 60s. We saw about 12 others the entire trip so considering the distance isn’t bad, for us at least. My son chose this to work on his BS hiking merit badge and he loved it. I will definitely be going back. It’s worth it for sure.

3 months ago

Amazing, the waterfalls are definitely worth the challenging hike. I went a few days after the area received about 3 in. of snow. Most of it had melted by then, but the waterfalls still had huge icicles hanging from the rocks, which was an amazing way to experience seeing them for the first time. The first significant waterfall, Big Laurel Falls, is 2 miles into the hike. You approach the falls from above and behind, and then the trail leads down to an area beneath the falls with easy access to the cave behind it. The hike to this point is fairly easy, and Big Laurel is pretty enough to be worthy of a shorter trip for those who don’t want to go all the way to Virgin Falls. The hike becomes more of a challenge beyond this point, but it’s well worth the journey for those who are up for it. A little more than a mile from Big Laurel Falls, the trail splits. Either way takes you to Virgin Falls, and the trail to the right passes Sheep Cave and the waterfall that flows out of the cave. The short trek up to the cave is worthy of a side trip and a very short journey from the trail to Virgin Falls, less than a quarter of a mile. The trail to the left at the split offers decent scenery but is significantly more challenging, despite being a bit shorter. You’re not missing much if you avoid this section and take the trail on the right to Virgin Falls and back. Virgin Falls is much bigger than Big Laurel, and truly gorgeous. There’s a short spur trail that takes you up to the top of the falls and the cave that it flows from. It’s definitely a unique thing to see. Overall, great hike, I’d definitely do this one again.

hiking
4 months ago

Definitely a top three trail in Tennessee. It's only eight miles long, not much as far as steep inclines. Went out when some of the rock were still frozen over with water, so you want to be careful when heading out in colder temps. With the overlook, the falls, and the diversity of the trail it is one of the best in the state.

hiking
4 months ago

Long, challenging hike with breathtaking views of Big Laurel and Virgin falls. Well marked throughout trek. Very rewarding experience!

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