Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

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!

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
4 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
10 days ago

hiking
13 days 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
15 days 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
17 days ago

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

camping
19 days 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
28 days 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

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month 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!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. The views through the trees to to the river were beautiful, along with the other waterfalls along the way to Virgin Falls. My dog loved wading in the creek in the beginning and end of the hike.

The trail wasn’t that exciting, but it was fun. It’s pretty once you get around the water. The view from Welch’s Point is definitely the highlight of the trail!

Definitely the most beautiful hike I've been on in Tennessee! Babbling streams, lush forests, and the absolutely breath-taking Virgin Falls at the end, complete with a rainbow. I wouldn't rate this hike "hard", however I've hiked in Colorado extensively. There is nothing overly steep or technical but the distance will get you and the return hike from the falls is almost completely uphill. Just start early, stay on the trail, be safe, and enjoy the magic!

hiking
1 month 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!

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
2 months ago

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

camping
2 months 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.

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