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

hiking

forest

birding

nature trips

dogs on leash

views

wild flowers

walking

river

Sparta, Tennessee Map
VIEW FULL MAP
hiking
1 day 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!

My FIRST hike and I LOVED it!!!! Couldn’t get over the beautiful views/falls/cliffs/river/EVERYTHING WAS AMAZING!! Coming out was tough but doable! Copper Cascades was unbelievable BUT uncrossable—I DO recommend taking the extra time to see it!! Can’t wait to do MORE!!

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.

Wonderful place. Not much hiking but a lot to see in a small area. Be aware that you must have a permit to enter the cave. You can get them by calling Fall Creek Falls. The cave is also closed in the winter months but it’s still worth the visit

hiking
8 days ago

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

camping
11 days 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.

So this place is infested with wild boars. Wild hogs? Whatever you call them, they’re everywhere and convinced that the trail is theirs. Not to mention there were numerous water/creek crossings with no bridges, which I imagine would be fine on a warm day. The first family of boars I stumbled upon (around 8 or 9 of them) were just after honey pond. I backed away slowly and waited until they cleared with no problem. All the rest that I saw, I had only a few miles left and there were dozens of them. It was too late to turn back and there was nowhere else to go. I was charged by one from over 100 yards away. It was awful. I slid down a hill trying to get away. Bring a gun, bring a friend, go on a sunny dry day. There is absolutely no service the last 5 miles of the trail. This would’ve been a halfway decent hike if it wasn’t for all these stupid hogs.

This was my first time on the Upland Trail. It is best to do the trail clockwise. Pass the first sign towards the Upland trail and continue on the trail that leads to Virgin Falls. Go across the cable crossing and keep going until you come to the turnoff to the right towards Martha's Pretty Point. Take this way up to the overlook. Once you are up there you will see the sign for the Upland Trail that will loop you back to the Virgin Falls Trail and back to the parking lot. It's a nice hike up the the overlook. The Upland trail is a nice stroll through the woods. Part of the time you are on a rocky roadish area. Be sure to take a camera and tripod as there are many, many waterfalls on the way up to turnoff to Martha's Pretty Point as well as a very pretty creek that runs along part of the Upland Trail.

backpacking
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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!

it is a trail that is very well marked and it would almost be impossible to get lost. The Welch's Point Overlook is an unbelievable view of Scott's Gulf. Interesting variety of scenery!

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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.

it's a tough trail but worth it!

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
1 month ago

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

Me and my friend went today! Gorgeous falls, gorgeous overlook, but the trails could have been marked better. We ended up getting lost twice, but finally made our way back!

It was great!!!!

Seriously in my top 3 most beautiful hiking trails, including the Twin Arches in Savage Gulf and Virgin Falls. The entire route is interesting and amazingly gorgeous, with rock formations galore, several creeks, and all the little waterfalls your heart can imagine. The overlooks are breath-taking!!!

I would recommend turning around and going back the same way after making it to Welch's Point, which is about 2.5 miles in. The last stretch puts you out on the gravel road, and that is what makes the loop back to the trailhead. That part is nothing to get excited about, but the overall experience is still fantastic!

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!

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
2 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
2 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.

Moderate difficulty. Good solitude. Not well marked. Several scenic falls, Yellow Bluff overlook, rock outcroppings, & segment along the river make this a compelling hike. Hollway Rock House good camping spot. However, much of the "trail"is on old logging roads and not appealing. A segment along the Caney Fork was non-existent. Just keep moving south and up through boulder fields & you'll find the trail. At the end you are unceremoniously dumped onto Scott Gulf Rd & a half mile road walk to the trailhead. Interesting afternoon, but there are better hikes in the area.

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.

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.

Pretty cool place. Been wanting to check it out for a while. Was not disappointed. Took my 6 year old. Short walk from the parking area. Waterfall was really nice. The cave was closed d/t the bats hibernating. Will definitely go back when I can go all the way thru!

Moderate difficulty. Poorly marked but much of the trail is on old logging road so not too impactful. Exception is the segment along the river beyond the campsite (counterclockwise). Keep alert for the occasional ribbon, have a map & follow the contour above the river. Be aware of potentially significant stream crossing @ Copper Cr. Length is variable as there are many side trails to visit. Only elevation changes are going in/out of the gulf. First 1.5 in and last 4 miles out are pretty pedestrian, but the mid section is worth it. Beautiful falls & rock. One could be forgiven for hiking to Copper Creek and back (counterclockwise)-really wouldn't be missing much.

Load More