Destination: Virginia Falls State Natural Area

Why We Love It

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation showed this 1,157-acre natural area some serious love in November when it purchased the pristine land through public funds and private contributions after leasing the area from a private owner since the 1970s. The purchase by the state will assure that this treasure remains intact for generations to come and will lead to even more opportunities for the public to appreciate the land and the waterfalls.

The site features many waterfalls, but the king cascade is Virgin Falls, which is fed by a stream that magically appears from the mouth of one cave, only to plummet 110 feet before vanishing again into another cave. There are numerous falls along the way to Virgin Falls and throughout the natural area.

Caves are another of the fascinating geological features found throughout the Virgin Falls Natural Area, but due to the continued problems with white-nose syndrome among bats, the caves have been closed to the public.

Nearby Falls

» Big Laurel Falls » Sheep Cave Falls » Big Branch Falls » Polly Branch Falls » Wildcat Falls » Read more...

Hike It

The 8-mile round-trip hike to Virgin Falls and back is about a daylong undertaking, spanning from five to eight hours. The trail is easy to identify but it is considered moderate to difficult and the return trip to the parking area is tough as it is mostly an uphill climb.

The walk features forest scenery ranging from oak, chestnut and hickory to hemlocks, maples and birch. The trails traverse an assortment of interesting sights, from lesser waterfalls to boulder fields, sinks and caves.

There are designated campsites along the route, but weather conditions should be closely monitored for both changing temperatures and potential flash-flooding.

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