Virgin Falls Trail

HARD 432 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
1,305 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

hiking
1 day ago

First hike for us. Grueling hike back but it was definitely worth it. We did this in eight hours including closing out the day at Welch’s Point. Will definitely go back to camp! We played in the falls at Laurel Creek and explored the cave behind it. Hiking down to bottom of Virgin Falls was breathtaking. Beautiful and powerful!!

hiking
1 day ago

Did this hike a few weeks back, for the first time. By the time we went back and explored a bit at all the main "sites" of the trail, it ended up being 11.3 miles. The hike itself was pretty but the falls, both at the bottom and the top are definitely a site to see. I highly recommend going being the falls, just be very careful.... there's a crazy drop down into some kind of underwater river system. Its just neat to see. will definitely be back. I don't have a ton of "difficult" hiking experience, but I'm a very active person & at times I struggled. It took us 6:14 to complete by the time we stopped for lunch and messed around at the various sites. If we were focused, we could have easily done it in under 5. We will definitely be back, loved this hike!

hiking
6 days ago

I found it strenuous but once you hit the falls it is so worth it.
It took us 4 hour and 30 min round trip at an elevation of 906 ft

Once you hit the cross the path above the falls there is a cool spot perfect for a picnic

7 days ago

One of our favorites!

14 days ago

I enjoyed this trail and I agree with the previous Hikers. It’s probably more of a Moderat trail. Lots of roots and inclines and downhill sections. We did about 10 miles without the Overlook on a day hike.

hiking
15 days ago

Absolutely beautiful!! We hiked all of Virgin Falls trail, including the Northern Overlook, Sheep Cave, Caney Fork, and Welch point on a weekend summer day. Our group ended up hiking about 11 miles including all of the little side trails. This is not an extremely difficult trail, but also not for beginners. It has steep, rocky, and rooty inclines and declines all of which is not terrible if you are fairly in shape. Our group found it to be a fun challenge. We also went at a time of low water flow. This may have made the falls slightly less dramatic if you are going to just see the falls in full force. I found it to be perfect for crossing the river at the cable crossing and for exploring the caves. We were able to go back into the caves as far as we wanted or felt comfortable without the proper gear. The falls were majestic! I highly recommend this trail and all the side trails. Bring a bathing suit and take a dip in one of the many blue holes. This trail does not disappoint.

16 days ago

Great trail in a beautiful area. Be sure to go to the top of the falls. Found a great little swimming hole on the way back.
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hiking
18 days ago

*whew* this was one difficult hike. We did the entire hike plus went to sheeps cave. If you plan on hiking the over look and sheeps cave, it is longer than 8.3 miles. My friend brought 3 liters of water, I packed 2 water bottles and we both ran out near the end. Started at 9:30am last Saturday and didn’t get back to the car until 4pm. Saw lots of ppl backpacking to camp out over night. Probably a smarter idea. We did stop a lot to enjoy views, it can definitely be done in one day but it is hard. If I could do it again I would swim in the streams before the first waterfall which looked like the best spot to swim throughout the entire trail. Good luck, happy hiking.

backpacking
21 days ago

Great trail and very well marked. Did an overnight at Virgin Falls campground to break up the distance. Highly recommend!

hiking
22 days ago

One of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done! I took my ReLeaf Outing Group there and it blew everyone’s expectations out of the water. There is so much to see and do including 4 different waterfalls, a big rushing creek you hike next to almost the entire time, cave exploration and beautiful camp spots not to mention a beautiful overlook so make sure to take the extra .5 mike hike to go see it! Next time I am definitely hiking in and camping to have more days there! When you finally get to the giant Virgin Falls it will blow your mind, definitely hike up to the top and explore the cave behind it.

hiking
25 days ago

My boyfriend and I hiked this trail in about 4.5 hours, with several stops to checkout scenery, and of course the falls at the end! It’s incredibly beautiful. There’s so much to see all around you the entirety of the trail. Beautiful mushrooms! Interesting bug friends! At first I was confused as to why this trail was labeled as strenuous, but as I sit here typing this with aching muscles, I can assure you it is. There is a lot of uphill climbing. Especially at the end. And the trail itself has quite a bit of climbing over rocks and roots and across streams. DO NOT GIVE UP. The falls at the end are INCREDIBLE. Probably some of the coldest water I’ve ever been in. It’s so, so worth it.

1 month ago

Nice little hike for in-shape Norwegians, probably better when the rivers are larger. Start early - it gets hot in the afternoon making the ascent in the end warm!

hiking
1 month ago

When this site says hard, it means hard! Very rocky and steep inclines. However, it is very worth it! .2 miles into the trail there is a junction for Martha's Pretty Point. If you have the time take this hike!

1 month ago

Great hike, beautiful falls.
Come prepared...you will definitely get some exercise!

hiking
1 month ago

Ok so my family was very active in hiking while stationed in the central valley of California (there was nothing else to do there) But over the past several years we haven't gone as much as we would like with all the travels and duty stations and such. So glad we retired in TN where trails are abundant!

Anyway we decided to do this trail about a month ago, 2 kids ages 9 and 12, my mom (57) and myself (36). We only made it to the cable crossing campsite because we did not start till 5pm, but we made it out before dark.
Yesterday we decided to do it again, but the whole this this time. We made it all the way to the base of Virgin Falls and back in 5.5 hours, a total of 9 miles. We stopped at Big Laurel and went down to the falls/cave to get wet since it was quite hot! We also took a dip at Virgin and at a nice blue hole spot between the cable crossing and Big Laurel. We veered off to see the Caney Fork River campsite which is very nice! The hike is hard for an out of shape momma, my 12 year old son did rather well, but my 9 year old daughter was quite tired and her feet hurt by the end of this trek. Bring plenty of water or water purification means!! We did both, we brought 2 bottles of water per person and life straws and we were out by the end of the trail. Wear good hiking shoes or boots as there are many rocks and slick spots along the trail. Steep rugged terrain. I would only recommend for experienced hikers. All in all it was a great day, I am sore in my leg muscles and joints today but def worth it to do this trail!!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is loaded with scenery involving streams, waterfalls of great variety, and deep secluded woods. This hike should definitely be on your "must do at least once" list!
If you have not done this hike before, take the “Strenuous Trail” sign seriously at the trailhead, because it is! Keep this in mind..., the descent into the gorge is steep and can be rough on the joints of those who are older. The climb out of the gorge is exactly that... a long and continuous uphill climb. When we began the climb out from Virgin Falls (at around 4.2 miles), it did not stop climbing until we approached the final mile or so of the trail at around the 7 mile mark. This is one hike where you will feel you have genuinely earned your stripes when you see the parking area at the trailhead on the return leg of the hike.
Be sure to take plenty of water, or take water purification gear as there is clean water along most of the route.
This may be one of the most scenic hikes in Tennessee outside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

backpacking
1 month ago

Really enjoy this beautiful overnight hike every time I go! Took my boys this trip and the weather was great! Lots of water at all the falls. Heard there were a good many snakes this season and did see two. Just beautiful the whole hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Such a beautiful hike! I would recommend to start early, and take time throughout the whole hike. Hiking back to the parking lot is very tough, but if you have plenty of time you are able to go slow and have plenty of breaks. My fiancé has never been hiking and he hiked this with no problems! This is one of my top favorite hikes!

hiking
1 month ago

Great. 2 waterfalls on the way to the main one. start early so you dont run out of time enjoying the first 2 waterfalls and the incredible Martha pretty outlook before dark to see the actual namesake waterfall haha. Cons: has really tall grass growing up inside the trail path so it touches ones legs while hiking. eh.

1 month ago

I'm not particularly in shape and went along with my sister and her boyfriend, just to see if I could. The first 4 miles helped work out the cardio. The overlook added an extra mile. The constant uphill and elavation changes made the hike grueling and painful toward the end. This was the hardest hike I have ever done in my life. I've never had to push my body as hard as I did to just get back to the car. With the route we took our over all hike was 9.6 miles. I would highly recommend this to any chubby out of shape person looking for a good start to lose some weight. If you can do 9.6 miles in shitty, inconsistent muddy, slippery terrain. What's 5 miles on the treadmill everyday?

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great trail. Very challenging, but well worth it at the end. I recommend hiking boots/shoes not Chacos! :^)

hiking
1 month ago

Do not hike this trail unprepared. Not the hardest hike I've been on but I've been on very difficult hikes. We ended up going 11.0 miles with 1890 ft of gain on a hot June day. Big laurel falls was cool along the away and the sheep Cave was cool as well. We went on a low water day so we were able to explore a little bit more. We ended up taking a little bit longer of a route so your trip may not be 11 miles. Unfortunately there was a bit of trash and a fire that wasn't put out all the way. So please be responsible for others and animals around you.

1 month ago

I did this hike in late March. The falls were roaring! Absolutely spectacular! It was strenuous, but all of the waterfalls and boulders kept it fascinating and our interest peaked. I would recommend at least 3L of water for this hike during the summer. The hike out definitely tested my limits, but going at a steady pace helped a tad. Will definitely do this again in the fall!

hiking
1 month ago

Did this trail last Fall. Golden yellow leaves raining down on us. Moderate as it always seems harder to hike back out uphill. Will do again

backpacking
1 month ago

Took a group of 5 teens and another adult and had a blast! The hike to the Falls wasn’t bad at all. The hike back was mostly uphill and strenuous. I had two teens that had never hiked before and they made it with no problem. I definitely recommend going to the Caney Fork River campground. There is a rope swing and the guys had a great time swimming, fishing, and jumping off the rope.

One of my favorite hikes in Tennessee. Rating is appropriate. Downhill going in and uphill coming back. Have made a day trip out of it. Just make sure you have plenty of water. In my opinion, it's more enjoyable to stay overnight.

Big Laurel Falls is glorious as are the many blue hole swimming spots throughout the middle section of the trail. Virgin Falls is quite the sight but not really conducive at all to swimming or even lounging nearby. Be sure to check out the top of the falls. Quick and easy hike to get there. Standing in front of the cave at the top feels like standing in front of a giant air conditioner.

This morning, saw a coyote running full speed in pursuit of a deer running for its life. Nature channel type stuff.

Amazing hike. Definitely challenging but so worth it. If you’re deciding on doing this trail, bring plenty of water and comfortable shoes. Highly recommend it.

backpacking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail! It’s not for the faint of heart though! The sign is a bit deceiving as it could imply the trail is a total of 4.3 miles but it’s really 8.6 miles! Loved the waterfalls along the way, the creek crossings, and the beautiful lush forest! My almost 70 year old mom did it and was a trooper! I hiked the whole thing in Chacos - worked great to get my feet wet at the water falls and creek crossings. I had no problem except that I had just gotten them that week and my calves weren’t used to them so I’m paying for it now! Lesson learned...don’t wear new ones for a strenuous 8.6 mile hike! lol! Do this trail - I definitely would recommend this!

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous hike. The hike back is challenging for us old farts as it seems as if the last 3 miles were straight up. But the hike is worth the effort. Just plan on an all day excursion, pack food and water.

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