Explore the most popular cave trails in Tennessee with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Very nice hike. Trails are usually pretty wet being near a dam, so bring some good boots. The sights and the swimming hole are epic.

Beautiful hike

We loved this hike! The hike to alum cave is an easy hike, beautiful scenery, you can see the ridge and “the eye in the needle.” We continued to Mt Leconte which is a more difficult hike - moderate/strenuous with beautiful views, flowers, unique rock, along the way. We learned the meaning of why these mountains are called the Smokies. When we got to the top, we were in the clouds! Wish we could’ve seen the view but sitting in the clouds was equally beautiful! We went straight to cliff tops, instead of the Lodge, but from reading other reviews wish we would’ve checked out the Lodge. We left around 9am and got out around 2 pm (We ran for part of the downhill portion back to get out of the rain).

We had a great time on this trail. we actually did find the cave. You can see the river but do not get close enough to get in. We had teenagers with us and even they were in love with it.

WOW! We loved this trail. It is a tough hike and not recommended for beginners without the right gear. Hiking poles are a must and you need the tips for both rock and soil. Good hiking boots with ankle support and lots of water and snacks. Good to have water shoes and extra socks. Lots of water crossings. I wouldn't want to hike this after a hard rain!
Best to do counter-clock wise. Trail is marked well, but you do have to pay attention. Some of the directions are painted on rocks while the others are markers on trees. Lots of hiking up the creek, around, under and over boulders. Trees down in some areas and low hanging so watch your head. Also some wooden steps have rotted out, but the rebar is still there and easy to trip over.

If you are not in decent shape or have stability issues I would not recommend it.

Keep your eyes open for the wildlife. Enjoy the beauty and don't rush it.

Beautiful hike.Started off early 700 am 1/2 hour spent at Lodge returned 130 pm so 6 hour trip.
50 years old with wife found it Moderate climb.
Be back next year to stay overnight in Lodge.
From Canada and love these mountains.
Tennessee you’re truly blessed.

Best hike iv done yet in the Tennessee/Kentucky area.

on Grundy Day Loop Trail

8 days ago

Nice easy trail for hiking. Not ideal for trail running, 3/4 of trail is exposed root bed.

loved the hike my first time hiking leconte

Just what I needed. Although I cannot speak for the view as it was densely fogged. Warm resort lobby with fireplace and snacks at the top.

We only did the first 2.5ish miles. The first 1.3 to the cave is a moderate hike and after that it’s more strenuous to get to the cove. We walked a bit past the cove. If i could go back, I would have started earlier in the morning, and brought lots more water and walking sticks to get up to the lodge.

hiking
10 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.

Always a great hike.

**UNTIL MAY 21: The sections past Sycamore Falls are closed for pipeline maintenance. (Per the signage out there)

The part of the Fiery Gizzard to Sycamore Falls is lush, beautiful and cool with a lot of Hemlocks throughout.

hiking
11 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.

Really loved this hike. It was a major workout, but truly worth it at the top (the very top). Incredible panoramic views. The rest of the trail had interesting things to see as well though, and the first/last part is really lovely. Do the whole thing if you can, it’s amazing to stand at the top with the wind in your face and the mountains all around!

hiking
13 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.

This trail rocks. Better marked than in years past but still moderately hard. A trail to take your time on & savor the beauty. Must rank as one the best trails in East Tn.

Great payoff and interesting bluffs

Beautiful outlooks! Not the longest trails, but a great mini hike not far from I-40

Hiked from the pinnacle to the Ewing trailhead. Stayed at chadwell gap campsite. Very pleasant hike and had the campsite to ourselves. Checked out the Hensley Settlement as well which was near the camp. Water was available at the Hensley Settlement.

hiking
14 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!

We hiked this trail today all the way to the top. They aren’t kidding when they call it strenuous! There are really beautiful vistas along the way, little wildflowers, interesting rocks, this hike has it all! Fortunately it was a really clear day and we could see very far. The extra hike to the cliff tops was worth the view. But be warned, this is a difficult hike! Round trip it took us about 8 hours, including a break for about an hour at Le Conte Lodge.

This is my favorite backpacking trail

hiking
15 days ago

I really enjoyed this hike. I drove over from Nashville to spend the day and did three of the shorter hikes in the area. all of them a moderate hike as far as skill level goes. the falls were a beautiful sight and so was the gorge and some smaller falls as well. definitely worth the trip. Next time I may camp and hike, as there is still more to see!

this was a very cool kayaking trip, it took about 3 hours total. the cave was beautiful from the outside but the inside is dark and it takes a minute for your eyes to adjust. we didn't go very far inside but it looked like you could explore further into it if you have a flashlight. beware of the spiders and cave crickets! kayaks, canoes, and other paddlers will fit inside the cave but its probably too small for any boats. we got surprised by a sudden thunderstorm on the way back but took shelter in an empty dock.

Amazing trail, only went to alum cave bluff but it was spectacular. Great views, nice obstacles to make the hike interesting. A little crowded but not bad

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