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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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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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!