Explore the most popular dogs on leash 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.

Started the "trail" by Welch's Overlook and hiked down toward the river. Beware: THIS IS NOT A LOOP! Nor is it a real trail... it's an abandoned gravel road in extremely bad shape. Deep ruts and loose gravel along the steepest sections make things challenging, not moderate. The trail effectively ends at the river because the rest is either totally overgrown or washed out...it was hard to tell which. (Met a local on our way back who said it hasn't been a loop in years.) Also, either Amber's Den is along the inaccessible part or it's gone. Never saw it. On the positive side, the calm water made for a great place to swim and cool off. Overall the lack of scenery meant it wasn't worth the energy.

hiking
4 days ago

Loved this hike! There is beauty everywhere you look! Me and my friend completed this hike in one day. If I was ever doing it again, I would do it as a overnight trip. It is a hard hike. We thought it was harder getting down to the falls instead of back up. We did all the side trails Sheep’s Cave, Martha’s Pretty Point, we took the trail to top of virgin falls to see the cave. Very nice and a good place to cool yourself off! Wish we would have had more time to hang up a hammock and relax but had to make it out before dark. Our record time from AllTrails was 9:33 hours to complete. We did eat lunch and sit down at the falls and explore some! AllTrails clocked us at 13.9 miles not sure if that is correct or not my garmin watch said 12.8 miles so not sure which is right. It is so beautiful and worth the hike! Start really early if your not camping overnight!

Short and sweet, beautiful in all seasons!

We started really late so we only went to the overlook. The Ranger was awesome and super informative about time and distance. Loved the trail and rain. Apparently it rains often there. The trail is rated as hard, but up to the overlook it’s not difficult. The ascent up I guess is why it’s rated that way. Going to take another trip and go to the falls next time.

hiking
22 days ago

Unspoiled, rugged beauty. This trail is hard, but I guess it doesn’t help when it thunderstorms all the way back to the trailhead! GPS clocked 8.6 miles round trip to just go to Virgin Falls and back. Took me 5.5 hours but I was really slowed down by the torrential rain. Trails are well blazed and maintained with good signage. Passed several other hikers but it was still a very secluded and quiet hike. The streams and waterfalls are absolutely stunning. Be prepared with hiking boots and plenty of water or a way to filter water. Lots of exposed roots and rocks along the trails and some boulder scrambling. Be sure to stop at the station at the trailhead and speak to the ranger and get a map if you need one. He was a big help!

hiking
26 days ago

Favorite hike in Tennessee! My first time here we did a big day hike and covered 8.5 miles round trip. We stopped for lunch and took our time taking pictures of the mushrooms along the trail and 2 snakes that we saw, so in total our round trip was about 5 hours.

All of the waterfalls were raging like crazy, which I did not expect as many waterfall hikes in August are barely flowing. It wasn't so hot that I felt like jumping in but there were definitely nice areas that you could take a dip. The trail isn't too difficult but heading back to the trail head was mostly uphill which is where the "hard" rating comes in. It was really interesting to see the river and falls come out from underground cave areas. We hiked by the Sheep's Cave but didn't venture in.

We didn't see any campers but I think this would be a great place to backpack and explore the area more. The sites near the Virgin Falls seemed like the best.

I definitely recommend stopping by Welch's Point afterward -- the view is a great payoff that is only a short walk from the parking!

backpacking
26 days ago

Great place. Not to hard. Also presents a smaller waterfall/cave 2 miles in that would be a good turning around point for those worried about it being too hard.

When you get to too bigger waterfall make sure you take to spur trail to top. Real easy. It has an awesome cave where water comes from.

If you do go up there, the trail will continue to “lost creek”. This is a whole other site. I went 3.25 miles up this old atv trail before turning around. From the map, I was almost to lost Creek but ran out of time. It exhausted me. Had to run a lot of it to try to make it back to pick up kids from after school care.

It would be a cool hike to see both Virgin and Lost Creek. It would be a hard full day or two cars placed so you didn’t have to backtrack. Or overnight. There were some cool campsites by cave entrances and by creeks. Signs say the must be reserved. No one was there when I went Aug 27.

hiking
29 days ago

Definitely a work out. Beautiful scenery along the way to the majestic finish line at Virgin Falls. Take your time to enjoy it.

camping
1 month ago

we backpacked to our campsite... it was amazing but definitely difficult with a heavy backpack! would love to do it again when the snakes are sleeping and without a huge backpack!

on Virgin Falls Trail

hiking
1 month 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 month 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!

Not recommend. This wasn’t a trail, it was a road. A road that wasn’t kept up. Tons of brush. Not marked at all. “Amber’s Den?” — would love to find this mythical place. It was a mile down which means a mile up. With a family of five that would’ve been good to know. Not real moderate.

I wouldn't really consider this a "hike" but it is a beautiful destination. We had the falls all to ourselves the day we went. It was 98 degrees that day and we were very comfortable at the base of the falls and the water was cold. It is hard to find the Natural area. I recommend it for kids. The day we went the water only came half way up my calf but I'm sure that changes. If you want to explore in the cave or even just walk over to it, you will need your hiking boots but I recommend water shoes for the base of the falls. Its very rocky. Don't skip this experience! Enjoy Loves!

hiking
1 month 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

One of our favorites!

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
1 month 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.

on Virgin Falls Trail

1 month 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
1 month 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
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months 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
2 months ago

Welch’s Point is worth the trip all on its own. Enjoyed the hike though not all that well marked. After reading reviews on here I drove all the way to the parking area for Welch’s Overlook and hiked back to Ambers Den. Some nice rock formations, spur trails and although it’s a little hard to find Ambers Den is a hidden gem. The loop is an option if you just want the added distance but the extra is on a road.

nature trips
2 months ago

Beautiful trail. It's downhill but very easy. The waterfall and scenery are breathtaking. Several scences from Walt Disney's Jungle Book were also filmed here. The cave is easy in and out. I took my daughters in several times when they were like 8 & 10. I do believe since it became a park, the cave is closed at times due to bat hibernation.

hiking
2 months 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.

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
2 months 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!

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

Haven't completed this trail yet BUT it is on our to do list! We did however hike about a quarter or so of it last year. We made it to the primitive campsite by the falls. The water crossing wasn't terrible and we made it across rocks without getting wet. The campsite was awesome.

hiking
2 months 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!!

Sadly, I read the comments here and didn't make it to the den. Please, please, drive all the way to the Welch's Point overlook. You'll see the posting for the Amber's Den Trail to your left. You can start the trail there. Note, when you get to the creek, I'd recommend turning around and hiking back the way you came otherwise you will need to walk on the road back to the parking area.

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