Virgin Falls has been on my adventure list for a while, so when some friends wanted to take a hike, I knew exactly where to go. I tried to go once before, but realized that it was a 10 mile hike, and didn't have the food and water to make the entire hike. If you're planning on going to Virgin Falls, be sure you have the essentials! I went through about two liters of water and a couple bags of dry goods on this hike. What turned out to be a 12 mile hike, was well worth the adventure and the community.
The day started at 8am with a coffee soda from Steadfast Coffee (like always), and we were on the trail by 10:30am making our way on a path through mountain laurels and fields of ferns. We opted for the overlook trail, which led us on an extra, but rewarding mile hike. The overlook was a great resting spot and campground where we took our first break, taking in the views.
After another mile or two, we hit the halfway point, Big Laurel Falls. We took time and cooled off in the cool water and enjoyed lunch in the shade. At Big Laurel Falls, the scenery started to change from what felt like familiar Tennessee scenery, to a jungle-like atmosphere where green was everywhere. After a half hour, we stretched out and continued our adventure through the second half of the hike until we got to Virgin Falls.
Virgin Falls is the most unique waterfall I've been to in Tennessee. The water flows from a cave, down a few cascades, onto the rocks, and into a sinkhole behind the waterfall. The sinkhole creates another waterfall, where the water just falls into, what looks like, a bottomless pit. The waterfall sits in what looks to be arena seating with the falls at center stage, surrounded by trees and an open sky to sit and enjoy the sun.
After exploring the caves around the falls, we made our 4.5 mile hike back to the car, with a quick halfway pit stop back at Big Laurel Falls. Needless to say, we were happy to be back at the car, and off our feet.
Virgin Falls kicked our butts, but it was well worth it. If you love doing long hikes in a day, this is your spot. It's also very easy to set up camp along the way and make this into a two day trip.