Virgin Falls Trail is a 8.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Pleasant Hill, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,381 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

cave

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Situated halfway between Nashville and Knoxville, the Virgin Falls Natural Area is a striking natural landscape. Visitors here find rolling forested hills, hidden creeks, waterfalls, and more. The area is named after Virgin Falls, an underground stream that emerges out of a cave, and then drops over a 100 foot cliff. The beautiful falls at the end make the hike worth it. The trail is about 9 miles round-trip, and can take anywhere between 5 - 8 hours. The trail is long and on the moderate side of difficult. Make sure to start early in the day so you have enough sunlight to make it out! If you'd like to make this into a backpacking trip, there is camping at Overlook Junction, Martha's Pretty Point, Virgin Falls, and Caney Fork. If you don't want to go all the way to the falls, there are some great points-of-interest along the way. Hikers will pass Big Branch Falls, Overlook Junction, Martha's Pretty Point, caves (unfortunately closed due to white nose syndrome), and a fun cable crossing.

hiking
8 days ago

Great Cumberland Plateau trail. A moderate, but long trail, with a few strenuous spots on the return. Soaking water spots along the way with smaller water falls - Big Branch Falls and Big Laurel Falls. Plan for ~6.5 hours of hiking with a relaxing soak along the way. A beautiful way to spend a day.

hiking
8 days ago

Great trail! We were able to miss the snakes but they are definitely out there with many places to hide so keep an eye out. The fall is lovely and the view from the top is cool (and honestly not that far from the main spot). Sheep cave is a short but cool pit stop as well. There are a few places to see so give yourself time to enjoy it.

13 days ago

We just hiked the trail today. Took us 6 1/2 hours. Lot of stopping going but hurried back. The trail is long but not as hard as people say. Although I myself wouldn't want to hike on a hot day. We started when it was about 50° and I still worked up a sweat. It's a nice hike if you can take your time. Hiking sticks help a lot. Just watch your footing as there's plenty of slick spots.

hiking
13 days ago

This hike was absolutely stunning. Aside from the epic collection of waterfalls and features, it is extremely well marked, there is very little pollution and the trailhead is easy to find and access. The hike back is challenging, but it is worth every drop of sweat. Highly recommend!!!

hiking
rocky
16 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

Great, but difficult hike. It is definitely worth 5 stars. The waterfalls along the trail are all beautiful. The water was so clear in the creek running beside the trail.

hiking
muddy
17 days ago

Let me say. This trail will wear you down if you do the entire thing. It took us about 7 hours. We took our time and ate lunch at Virgin Falls. It is a strenuous hike. The sign at the entrance does not lie. Even our dog is exhausted. This trail has lots of stopping points. Three big water features, caves, beautiful rock formations, and a cable crossing. You start hiking down and the whole way back is uphill. So be ready. I can say, it is completely worth it. This trail has much to offer, we will be back.

hiking
17 days ago

Great trial - had so much fun there today when it says hard they mean it! Elevation gain of 1,302 feet lots of climbing up up up! Over 9 miles 73 flights of stairs according to my Apple Watch! Shaded and lots of spots to stop for snacks. Absolutely beautiful!

22 days ago

Awesome hike, one of my new favorites. Big Laurel Falls makes a great snack spot. Once you reach Virgin Falls, take the spur trail around & check out the little cenote @ the top. The cold air rushing from within the cave is refreshing! Sheep cave is cool too, being a headlamp. Only downside is the amount of traffic. Went around noon yesterday, finished just before the storm rolled in.

23 days ago

Such an amazing hike! Perfect conditions and the great waterfalls all along the trek to Virgin falls. Highly recommend exploring Sheeps cave at the trail split (sign posted) bring a headlamp and water shoes and a small towel. Virgin falls is super powerful right now and is worth hiking down into. Try going down the small trail on the left (less overspray) amazing. Don't forget to go the top of the falls as well. Follow white trail markers out. Enjoy!

hiking
muddy
24 days ago

Beautiful waterfall hike. Lots of water going over the falls at the moment. It’s a shame AllTrails only has three difficulty grades - I would say this is moderately hard, certainly not as hard as many other ‘hard’ hikes. Definitely worth it for the variety of scenery and the reward at the end!

25 days ago

5/1: There's a good size tree down on the upper half of the loop (between Sheep's Cave and Virgin Falls I think). If you don't like your feet to leave the ground, take the lower loop. Great trail. If you don't think you can do the entire 9 miles (time, fitness, kids, etc.), a shorter hike down to Big Laurel Falls definitely won't disappoint. If you do the entire trail, the .8 mile upper loop (Sheep's cave, etc.) is much more scenic than the .5 mile lower loop which is basically just a short, steep connector trail. I'd rather walk the upper loop twice as a there-and-back on my way to Virgin Falls.

hiking
26 days ago

Wonderful, I’ve never seen anything like it before.

hiking
1 month ago

I didn’t get a change to head down the trail due to time restrictions. A would like to give my regards to Bob, who assists people at the trailhead. He was extremely helpful in pointing me to Lost Creek Falls and to Welch lookout. Both are amazing spots and don’t take a lot of time to experience. Definitely worth the stop if you get a chance.

hiking
1 month ago

Virgin Falls Trail opens tomorrow, April 24, 2020. It will be day use only, with backpacking set to resume after May 15. Some heavy rains are forecast to be rolling through, so watch the weather. If you come to the cable crossing at Big Laurel Creek, and it is muddy looking, frothy, and you can't see the rock bottom, don't attempt to cross. It is recommended that you bring a map with you, or an app such as the one offered by AllTrails, or avenza. This is a tough hike, through some rough and beautiful terrain, so be prepared. Water, food, a head light, good footwear, are a must. Cell phone coverage is spotty or nonexistent once you drop down into the Caney Fork Gulf. But Virgin Falls itself is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the whole State, and worth the hike.,

hiking
1 month ago

Once you have made it to Virgin falls, at the very bottom behind the falls lies another hidden entrance to the caverns. The water from the falls disappears into the caverns without a trace.

hiking
muddy
rocky
1 month ago

One of my new favorite trails! It has a variety of waterfalls and caves. I really enjoyed the hike but be warned, the hike back out is hard and rather strenuous due to most of it being uphill and very rocky, it’s definitely a technical trail. I’ve not backpacked there but I plan to go back this summer as there are some great spots for it!

hiking
1 month ago

Always a favorite trail. Last month I left a review warning everyone of the mud slide just before you get to Big Laurel. Whoever took care of this did a great job. The mud slide has now been converted into stepping stones. If you do this hike be sure to check out Martha’s Pretty Point, Big Branch Falls, Big Laurel Falls, Sheep Cave/Falls and of course the very beautiful Virgin Falls. This hike did not disappoint thanks to all the water from rainfall. Be prepared for a steady hike back up the mountain. Sometimes it feels like it’s never ending. Also, make sure you stop by Virgin Falls General Store and meet Melissa. Saturdays are Cinnamon Buns for breakfast and they are delicious! Tell Melissa Meredith says hello!!! Happy hiking!

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

So many beautiful falls! Don’t question it just go do it! after rain, it’ll be muddy but the falls will be that much better

hiking
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

Took my 14 and 16 year old boys backpacking/camping at Virgin Falls. We spent the night by the falls a little over 4 miles out at the end of the trail (campsite 8). Gathered our drinking and cooking water from the top of Virgin Falls and slept to the powerful sound of the water. Amazing experience. Took side trails to Martha’s Pretty point. An amazing overlook of the nearby mountains. Required a steep winding climb and a crawl up a ladder. Took another back loop to get to Sheep’s cave. The boys loved it. Another smaller waterfall there. Also took in part of the Caney Fork Trail and saw some impressive rapids and sat on the large river rocks watching the water rush by. Made me want to jump in a canoe. There has been a lot of rain lately which made the numerous falls and streams beautiful but the trail in places quite muddy and slippery. It was a difficult hike. Rocky terrain, step uphills, and muddy conditions in places. Some narrow paths with the mud made things interesting. Especially a recent small mudslide near Big Laurel on a narrow section. Fortunately some cables to hold onto in places. Took a few slips on my way down to Big Laurel Falls. Hurting my pride more than my body. I appreciated my trekking pole for most of the trail to navigate the uneven terrain. Absolutely amazing. Plan on going back once my legs recover. :).

hiking
muddy
rocky
2 months ago

Amazing! With recent rains, everything was soaked and very slippery - mud everywhere. This certainly added to the difficulty while hiking. Cables are provided in the most challenging areas, and at a stream crossing. The waterfalls were quite impressive! Big Branch Falls was wonderful, and both Big Laurel Falls & Virgin Falls drain directly underground into a cavern system. Taking the trail spur to Sheep Cave, you can get right into the cave where the stream flows out of the side of the mountain, thereafter flowing down two separate falls and vanishing underground, also. Lots of water. I'll definitely be going back again!

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Well worth the hike

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

WOW! Beautiful hike. Strenuous, for sure, but every inch well worth it. When you arrive at Virgin Falls, be sure to take the short spur trail to the top of the falls. Incredible how all that water pours out of a hole underground. Saw several wildflowers along the way, including sharp-lobed hepatica, violets, bloodroot, and trout lilies at the top of Virgin Falls.

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