A few weeks ago → After approx. 5 miles, I finally reached Virgin Falls. In addition to the substantial volume of water flowing, an unusual outcropping of rock with a tree on top provided visual interest. So much so, that I made a video of it; as follows, my favorite recent video –
This black and white photograph was taken in the morning along the Middle Prong Little River, located in the Tremont section of the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee. Prints available.
Enjoy photography of the Smoky Mountains with fog in the valley – at Cades Cove, in Tennessee. Prints available. Thanks for visiting!
I shot this waterfall while exploring off trail on a recent hike in TN.
This photograph of morning fog in the valley was taken at Cades Cove, near Townsend, Tennessee. Prints available.
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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I recently hiked the Virgin Falls State Natural Area, located on the Cumberland Plateau – near Sparta, Tennessee. Along the trail, I stopped to enjoy Big Branch Falls, a 15-foot tall waterfall featuring a series of small terraces; thus, producing a cascading effect.
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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!
Layers of fog settle in the valley across a meadow, as morning sunlight warms upper ridges in the Smoky Mountains. Photographed at Cades Cove, Tennessee. See more.
This Smoky Mountains landscape photograph features a foggy morning at Cades Cove, near Townsend, Tennessee. See more.
After a short hike, I arrived at the scenic Jack Rock Falls. Standing 25-feet tall, I’d seen this waterfall on two previous occasions, each of which during relatively drier times. Following recent rains, it seemed that a return visit would be appropriate.
After taking photographs and enjoying this peaceful setting for a spell, I wondered…
…this waterfall is at a much higher elevation than Clear Creek, below. Might there be additional points of interest downstream worthy of exploration?
It seemed like a good bet, and so it began. I traversed along a steep hillside, weaved in and around trees and plants, and, when possible, climbed atop boulders hoping to glance what lay ahead. I could see some indication of an area where the rocks ended – a drop – but wouldn’t know with certainty until I arrived.
Moving downhill and around a cluster of moss covered rocks, I would soon see that which I’d hoped to find – another waterfall. Awesome! While I’m sure that others have enjoyed this spot, it was challenging to access without a trail, and I was grateful to have found such a beautiful place to enjoy.
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Located in the Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee, Debord Falls stands 12-feet tall and is an easy hike of 1.5 miles out and back, along the Emory Gap Branch.
The trailhead is located at the end of the park, where the road stops at a parking area. You’ll find an informational placard which details a plethora of local flowers, and restrooms are available at the visitor center along the drive.
While it’s no surprise that I’ve discovered most waterfalls in Tennessee depend on rainfall to bolster water flow, guests may want to plan their visit in accordance with current weather conditions – many falls can be dry during summer months.
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