Sipping on a hot cup of fresh coffee in my favorite chair, I watched restfully as an orange-glow cast from the morning sun warmed distant mountain peaks. Or, something like that.
Along the trail on my Hike To Virgin Falls, I came upon a few signs leading me to Sheep Cave – a cave in the side of a mountain from which Little Laurel Creek re-emerges, flowing over a series of waterfalls before disappearing into a deep cavern underground.
It’s always interesting to see water flowing from a cave – also observed at Lost Creek State Natural Area, an adjoining park. Here, it moved over two waterfalls, the top of which was accessible via cautious maneuvers along a muddy hillside. See below…
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At 40-feet tall, the water flows over a rock ledge and then vanishes underground into a large network of caves. The recessed overhang allows for easy access behind the falls, though rocks are damp and quite slippery – hikers should use caution!
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If you’re interested in taking the family for an easy & fun hike to see a waterfall, then visit the Frozen Head State Park – near Wartburg, Tennessee. The scenic 20-foot tall Emory Gap Falls is only a 3 mile out and back hike, and you’ll also pass Debord Falls along the trail.
See earlier post: Emory Gap Falls At Frozen Head
Like many waterfalls on the Cumberland Plateau, the best time to visit is when there’s water present. This was my second trip to the falls; though autumn foliage was gone, by comparison, recent rainfall bolstered the volume of water flowing.
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Finally, I hiked the trail to Virgin Falls!
Located at the Virgin Falls State Natural Area in White County, Tennessee, Virgin Falls stands an impressive 110-feet tall. Emerging from a cave, water flows over the waterfalls and then disappears underground into another cave at the bottom of the sink.
Situated atop a mammoth cavern system, other areas along the trail – Big Laurel Creek, Big Laurel Falls and Little Laurel Creek at Sheep Cave – also vanish underground. If in the future I ever feel compelled to explore these caverns, there are over seven miles of mapped passages to hike (with flashlights & headlamps). Hmm…
Because there were several areas of interest along my 10 mile hike, this blog post will focus on Virgin Falls, specifically. In the days ahead, I’ll also include links referencing these other areas:
Along the hike, you’ll be tempted to go off trail sightseeing, as I did. Beauty is everywhere and many spots are accessible, but be cautious – danger awaits the unsuspecting in various forms (damp rocks with a thin layer of moss, slick mud under a blanket of dead leaves along a hillside, loose rocks underfoot). I fell once – moss!
The main trail is marked with a white blaze. Just follow the signs –
Cables are provided in four areas to assist hikers along the trail –
Despite the ground being saturated from recent rain, and with total cloud-cover overhead, this was nevertheless a wonderful, scenic hike! Due to the volume of water falling, though, there was significant wind & mist generated (listen to the video, below) – thus, making it virtually impossible to photograph directly in the front of the waterfall.
I’ve added several of these photographs to my gallery at Pixels. If you’d be interested in a print for your home, office, or, as a gift for family members and friends, then stop by to select from a variety of print types – framed, canvas, art, metal, wood and acrylic. Framed prints may also be customized – size, frame, mat, paper and finish. Hope to see you soon!
Stay tuned…more to come!
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