Explore the most popular forest 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.

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
6 days 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
8 days 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.

hiking
11 days 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
13 days 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
14 days ago

I went with a 2 yo and 4 yo. The walk to the point was so easy we walked back to the car, got our lunch and chairs and walked back. Incredible views. Worth the drive.

hiking
15 days 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!

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.

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
24 days ago

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

hiking
27 days 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.

After a good rain this waterfall was amazing! We ventured out into the cave to find that waterfall as well♡
Definitely would do it again!

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
30 days 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
30 days 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
1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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!

I really enjoyed this hike. I had passed the turn off to the Overlook many times doing the hike to Virgin Falls. I decided to do this loop to save some time today. I didn’t think I could get the full hike idone before nightfall. The hike down is the typical as always but the Overlook was spectacular. It may be the best view of anywhere in this park. The trail beyond the Overlook was somewhat bland but a section hikes next to an awesome stream with some really cool features.

Nice trail, there weren't any other hikers on the Saturday we went. The Virgin Trails trailhead was slammed, probably 20 other vehicles were parked there. We finally saw other people once we made it to Welchs point, since you can drive to it.

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month ago

Incredibly scenic with rewarding views. It’s definitely worth the challenge!

camping
1 month ago

Now that it’s managed by Fall Creek Falls, you have to go online or call to reserve a camping site if you plan to stay overnight. The sites are assigned upon reservation, and they removed the campsites at Big Laurel Falls, which is a shame. The cost was 8 bucks per night plus a 5$ reservation fee.

We went yesterday and were in awe of the beauty after such a short walk. My 6 & 8 year old had a ball. Will definitely go back. The drive there is pretty too.

backpacking
1 month ago

Jeffery THANK YOU!! Your review is what made me go! I'm a teenager and I went with an adult- this trail is GREAT for fit high schoolers!! Don't be intimidated by the distance! It is definitely hard but I was able to complete it in a reasonable time!! The waterfalls are beautiful and so worth the hike! Just a warning if you get wet in the water, you will be stormed by bugs, and I ran into a TON of spider webs while hiking which became a little annoying. Getting wet was well worth it! There is a small trail that leads to the base of Virgin falls where I hung out and cooled off with the amazing power of the waterfall above! I also got in at Big Laurel Falls and a blue hole I found that had a nice trail leading to it! There are amazing blue holes throughout the trail on the way to big Laurel falls! Really clean water and great for swimming but pretty cold! Definitely suggest dipping in! Great experience!!

Beautiful hike

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