Virgin Falls Pocket Wilderness – Sparta, Tennessee - Atlas Obscura

Virgin Falls Pocket Wilderness

Visit this playground of waterfalls, caves and sinkholes. 


Set aside a day and put on your hiking boots for this stunning trail in the heart of Tennessee. This little slice of heaven is a 1,157-acre natural area, named for the Virgin Falls, which is formed by an underground stream that emerges from a cave then drops over 110-foot cliff before disappearing into another cave at the bottom of the sink. This ‘scientific state natural area’ boasts a series of unique geological features and several other waterfalls.

Hiking from the parking lot to the Virgin Falls and back is a five to eight hour hike depending on your preferred pace and whether you hike to the Caney Fork Overlook or River. Also, there are several camping spots nearby so you may be able to camp while in view of the falls. 

Because of the occurrence of bats with white nose syndrome (WNS) in Tennessee, caves on state owned lands are closed to the public until further notice. Cave closures are in effect at this and all other state natural areas where caves are located.

Know Before You Go

Virgin Falls is located southeast of Sparta and is accessible via Highway 70. Go to the community of DeRossett, 11 miles east of Sparta, turn onto Eastland Road and proceed six miles to Scott's Gulf Road. There, you will see a sign for the Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness. Turn right onto Scott's Gulf Road and proceed two miles to the parking area and trailhead on the right side of the road.

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August 31, 2011

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