Virgin Falls Trail In Tennessee

Here is everything you need to know about the Virgin Falls Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Tennessee
  • Length: 8 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: Tennessee State Parks
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The Virgin Falls Trail, located in the heart of Tennessee, holds a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. The trail is situated within the Bridgestone-Firestone Centennial Wilderness, a protected area that encompasses over 10,000 acres of pristine wilderness. The history of the Virgin Falls Trail is intertwined with the Native American tribes that once inhabited the region.

Before European settlers arrived, the area surrounding the trail was home to the Cherokee and Creek tribes. These tribes relied on the abundant natural resources provided by the dense forests and flowing rivers. Evidence of their presence can still be found along the trail, such as ancient artifacts and remnants of their settlements.

During the early 19th century, European settlers began to explore and settle in the area. The trail itself was likely established by early pioneers as a means of transportation and trade. It is believed that the name “Virgin Falls” originated from these early settlers, who were captivated by the untouched beauty and pristine nature of the waterfall.

In the late 20th century, the Virgin Falls Trail gained recognition as a popular hiking destination. The trail’s unique geological features, including the 110-foot waterfall and the underground cave system, attracted outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers from far and wide. Today, the trail continues to be a cherished natural landmark, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich history and natural wonders of the region.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Virgin Falls State Natural Area Parking Lot: This is the main access point for the Virgin Falls Trail. It is located off Scott’s Gulf Road and provides parking facilities for hikers.

2. Martha’s Pretty Point: This is a popular trailhead along the Virgin Falls Trail. It offers a scenic overlook of the surrounding area and is a great spot for photography.

3. Sheep Cave: Another access point along the trail, Sheep Cave is a unique geological feature that hikers can explore. It is located near the Big Branch Creek.

4. Caney Fork River: The trail crosses the Caney Fork River at one point, providing a refreshing spot for hikers to take a break and enjoy the water.

5. Virgin Falls: The trail ends at the stunning Virgin Falls, which is the main attraction of the area. Hikers can witness the 110-foot waterfall cascading into a cave, creating a breathtaking sight.

6. Lost Creek Campground: Although not directly on the trail, Lost Creek Campground is a nearby camping area that serves as a starting point for some hikers. It offers facilities such as restrooms, picnic areas, and campsites.

7. Scott’s Gulf Road: This is the main road that leads to the Virgin Falls State Natural Area Parking Lot. It serves as an access point for hikers coming from different directions.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Virgin Falls Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or side trails along the way.

Transportation Available

1. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service.
2. Lyft – Ride-hailing service similar to Uber.
3. Taxi – Traditional taxi service available for transportation.
4. Car Rental – Various car rental companies offering vehicles for hire.
5. Shuttle Service – Scheduled shuttle service for transportation to and from the trail.
6. Bus – Public transportation service with designated routes.
7. Bike Rental – Rental service for bicycles.
8. ATV Rental – Rental service for all-terrain vehicles.
9. Horseback Riding – Guided horseback riding tours for transportation and exploration.
10. Hiking Tours – Guided hiking tours with transportation arrangements.


The amenities available at the Virgin Falls Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at the trailhead or nearby parking areas.

2. Parking: There is parking available at the trailhead or designated parking areas.

3. Camping Sites: The Virgin Falls Trail offers primitive camping sites along the trail. These sites may have fire rings, picnic tables, and access to water sources.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack.

5. Water Sources: The trail provides access to various water sources, including streams, rivers, and waterfalls. Visitors can use these sources for drinking water or to cool off during their hike.

6. Scenic Overlooks: The trail offers several scenic overlooks where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

7. Trail Markers: The trail is well-marked with signs and trail markers to help visitors navigate their way.

8. Informational Signage: There may be informational signage along the trail, providing details about the flora, fauna, geology, and history of the area.

9. Wildlife Viewing: The trail provides opportunities for wildlife viewing, allowing visitors to observe and appreciate the natural biodiversity of the area.

10. Interpretive Programs: Depending on the season and availability, there may be interpretive programs or guided tours offered at the Virgin Falls Trail to enhance visitors’ understanding and appreciation of the area.

Please note that amenities may vary, and it is always recommended to check with the local park authorities or visitor center for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Virgin Falls State Natural Area – Offers primitive camping and hiking trails.
2. Fall Creek Falls State Park – Provides lodging, dining, and emergency services near Virgin Falls Trail.
3. Burgess Falls State Park – Offers camping, picnic areas, and emergency services close to Virgin Falls Trail.
4. Rock Island State Park – Provides camping, fishing, and emergency services in proximity to Virgin Falls Trail.
5. Standing Stone State Park – Offers camping, boating, and emergency services near Virgin Falls Trail.
6. Cumberland Caverns – Provides lodging, cave tours, and emergency services close to Virgin Falls Trail.
7. Cookeville Regional Medical Center – Nearby hospital providing emergency medical services for Virgin Falls Trail visitors.
8. Crossville Medical Group – Medical clinic offering emergency services for Virgin Falls Trail visitors.
9. Sparta-White County Hospital – Hospital providing emergency medical services near Virgin Falls Trail.
10. Smithville-DeKalb County Hospital – Medical facility offering emergency services close to Virgin Falls Trail.

Virgin Falls Trail Difficulty Notes

The Virgin Falls Trail is known for its challenging difficulty level, making it a thrilling adventure for experienced hikers. The trail spans approximately 9 miles and features steep inclines, rocky terrain, and multiple stream crossings. Hikers must navigate through dense forests, scramble over boulders, and conquer slippery slopes, adding to the trail’s difficulty. Additionally, the trail’s length and elevation gain require endurance and physical fitness. However, the reward for completing this challenging trail is the breathtaking beauty of Virgin Falls, a stunning 110-foot waterfall that cascades into a cave. Overall, the Virgin Falls Trail offers a challenging and rewarding experience for those seeking an adrenaline-pumping hike.

Features And Attractions

The Virgin Falls Trail is located in the Virgin Falls State Natural Area in Tennessee, USA. Along this trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Virgin Falls Trail:

1. Virgin Falls: The trail’s main attraction is the stunning Virgin Falls, a 110-foot waterfall that cascades into a cave before disappearing underground. It is a breathtaking sight and the highlight of the trail.

2. Caney Fork River: The trail follows the Caney Fork River for a portion, offering beautiful views of the river and its surrounding landscape.

3. Big Laurel Creek: As you hike along the trail, you will come across Big Laurel Creek, a picturesque creek that flows through the forest.

4. Sheep Cave: Near the Virgin Falls, you can explore Sheep Cave, a large cave system that is home to various species of bats.

5. Lost Creek: Along the trail, you will encounter Lost Creek, a scenic creek that disappears underground and re-emerges further downstream.

6. Historic Homeplace: Near the trailhead, you can visit the historic Homeplace, an old homestead that provides a glimpse into the area’s past.

7. Rockhouses: Throughout the trail, you will find several rockhouses, which are natural shelters formed by large rock formations. These rockhouses offer unique photo opportunities and a chance to explore their intriguing formations.

8. Wildflowers and Wildlife: The Virgin Falls Trail is known for its diverse flora and fauna. During the hike, you can spot various wildflowers, including trilliums, violets, and more. Wildlife such as deer, squirrels, and birds are also commonly seen along the trail.

9. Overlooks: The trail offers several overlooks that provide panoramic views of the surrounding forests, valleys, and mountains.

10. Mossy Ridge Trail: The Virgin Falls Trail intersects with the Mossy Ridge Trail, which offers additional scenic views and a chance to explore more of the natural beauty in the area.

These are just some of the highlights along the Virgin Falls Trail. The entire trail is approximately 9 miles long and offers a variety of natural and historical attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Virgin Falls Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Camping is permitted along the trail, but campfires are only allowed in designated fire rings.
3. Leave no trace: Visitors are required to pack out all trash and leave the trail and campsites clean.
4. Hunting and fishing are not allowed on the trail.
5. Motorized vehicles, including bicycles, are prohibited on the trail.
6. The trail is open year-round, but certain sections may be closed during extreme weather conditions or for maintenance.
7. Permits are not required for day hiking, but overnight camping requires a free permit available at the trailhead.
8. Swimming is allowed in designated areas, but visitors should exercise caution as there are no lifeguards on duty.
9. Respect wildlife and do not feed or approach animals encountered on the trail.
10. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
11. It is recommended to carry plenty of water and wear appropriate footwear and clothing for the trail conditions.
12. Visitors should be aware of their own physical limitations and hike at their own risk.
13. The trail is for recreational use only, and commercial activities or events require prior authorization.
14. Visitors are encouraged to check for any trail updates or closures before heading out.

Seasonal Information

The Virgin Falls Trail, located in the heart of Tennessee, offers a breathtaking adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. While the trail is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting. Spring, from March to May, is a popular time to explore the trail as the weather is mild, and the surrounding forests come alive with vibrant blooms and lush greenery. The waterfalls are often at their fullest during this time, creating a mesmerizing sight for hikers.

Another great time to visit the Virgin Falls Trail is during the fall season, from September to November. The foliage transforms into a stunning array of red, orange, and gold, providing a picturesque backdrop for your hike. The temperatures are cooler, making it more comfortable for longer treks, and the trail is less crowded compared to the peak summer months.

It’s important to note that the Virgin Falls Trail does have seasonal closures. During the winter months, from December to February, the trail may be closed or inaccessible due to snow, ice, or hazardous conditions. It is always recommended to check with the park authorities or visitor center before planning your trip during this time. Additionally, heavy rainfall can cause the trail to become muddy and slippery, so it’s advisable to avoid visiting immediately after heavy rains.

Overall, the best times to visit the Virgin Falls Trail are in the spring and fall when the weather is pleasant, and nature is at its most vibrant. However, each season offers its own unique charm, and with proper preparation, you can enjoy this stunning trail year-round.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Virgin Falls Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its rugged terrain and steep inclines.
2. ADA Accommodations: The trail does not have specific ADA accommodations, such as accessible parking, ramps, or designated accessible restrooms.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Virgin Falls Trail is rated as moderate to difficult, with steep and rugged sections that require proper hiking skills and endurance.
2. Length and Duration: The trail is approximately 9.3 miles long and typically takes 6-8 hours to complete, so plan accordingly.
3. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail can become slippery and dangerous during rain or snow.
4. Proper Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots with good traction to navigate the rocky terrain and creek crossings.
5. Water Availability: Carry enough water for the entire hike, as there are no reliable water sources along the trail.
6. Navigation Tools: Bring a detailed map, compass, or GPS device to ensure you stay on the correct trail, as some sections can be confusing.
7. Wildlife Encounter: Be cautious of snakes, spiders, and other wildlife commonly found in the area, and give them space.
8. Creek Crossings: Exercise caution when crossing creeks, as rocks can be slippery and water levels can rise quickly during heavy rain.
9. Camping Regulations: If planning to camp overnight, obtain the necessary permits and follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize impact on the environment.
10. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a first aid kit, whistle, and extra food in case of emergencies, as cell phone reception may be limited.
11. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for safety and assistance if needed.
12. Leave No Trace: Respect the natural environment by packing out all trash, staying on designated trails, and avoiding damage to plants and wildlife.
13. Trail Conditions: Check for trail closures or warnings before starting your hike, as the trail may be temporarily closed due to weather or maintenance.
14. Physical Fitness: Ensure you are in good physical condition before attempting the trail, as it involves steep ascents and descents.
15. Inform Others: Let someone know your hiking plans, estimated return time, and emergency contact information in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

Conservation Notes

The Virgin Falls Trail, located in the Virgin Falls State Natural Area in Tennessee, is considered to be in good conservation status. The trail is managed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and is protected as a state natural area. This designation ensures that the area is preserved and managed in a way that protects its natural resources and biodiversity.

The conservation efforts for the Virgin Falls Trail focus on maintaining the ecological integrity of the area. The trail passes through diverse habitats, including forests, streams, and waterfalls, which are home to a variety of plant and animal species. Conservation measures include regular monitoring of the trail and its surroundings to identify any potential threats to the ecosystem.

To protect the natural resources along the trail, visitors are encouraged to follow Leave No Trace principles, which include staying on designated trails, properly disposing of waste, and respecting wildlife and vegetation. Additionally, the trail is subject to seasonal closures to protect sensitive areas during critical times, such as nesting seasons for birds or periods of heavy rainfall.

Overall, the conservation status of the Virgin Falls Trail is actively managed to ensure the preservation of its unique natural features and the protection of its diverse flora and fauna. The efforts put into conservation help maintain the trail’s ecological balance and provide visitors with the opportunity to experience the beauty of this natural area while minimizing their impact on the environment.

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