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Topic: Virgin Falls State Natural Area, Day hike in December< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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markweth Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 5:00 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Virgin Falls was on my list of Cumberland Plateau waterfalls to visit for several years, but it wasn't until this past December that I finally had the chance to visit. It was well worth the wait, especially since my friend and I did the 8-mile round trip hike after a day or so of steady rain, which was present during most of our hike.



A stream crossing on the way to the waterfalls.



Big Laurel Falls, the first significant waterfall on the trail to Virgin Falls. All the water disappears into a massive rockshelter with a sinkhole in it that is directly behind the waterfall. When this isn't the "main attraction" you know it's going to be a good hike . . .



Sheep Cave Falls, the second waterfall encountered on the way to Virgin Falls. Unfortunately, there's no one in this picture to provide a sense of scale but this is a substantial amount of water with an impressive vertical drop over a short distance -- also, it emerges from a cave and then drops into another cave.



Virgin Falls -- definitely a landscape feature where a picture is worth 1,000 words. Note the brave soul standing in the bottom right for scale. A stream emerges from a cave, runs for about 60 feet, then drops about 150 feet into another cave.

You can backpack in the Virgin Falls State Natural Area, but personally I found the designated campsites unappealing and poorly located. Two of the three were much to close to the waterfalls for my taste and the other one was right on the trail. If you were camping at any of the sites you would have people walking right through your campsite and you're directly in the viewscape of the waterfalls, which I think hinders the enjoyment of those visiting the waterfalls. Who wants to be standing in someone's campsite while taking pictures of a waterfall? Not me.

Regardless, this area is absolutely spell-binding and anyone capable of hiking the 8-mile round trip should do so, especially when the water is up.


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Owen571 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 5:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the pics! I'm all about the waterfalls, and saw Virgin Falls SP on the map, but hadn't read anything about it yet. Think that'll have to go on the list!
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ashepabst Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2013, 5:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

hey Mark -- that campsite can be miserable... lots of spray coming off the falls so it's humid as all getout, loud and there's really not much flat ground. near the falls you might've seen a sign pointing towards the Caney Fork River... if you follow that path no more than a tenth of a mile down there's a lovely campsite big enough for 3 or 4 groups right on the river. there's a great swimmin hole there, too.

the greater Scott's Gulf area (Bridgestone/Firestone Wilderness) is also worth the trip.


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Thatbakerkid Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2013, 3:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I did VFs Memorial weekend last year with a buddy. It's a beautiful area. We overnighted by VF which was a wonderful 70 degrees (90 outside the valley!), making it an ideal summer backpack for the area.

Big Laurel actually has a fire ring in it, I was meaning to go back and camp in their sometime this winter but never got the time. Photos from my backpack in the summer can be seen here;

http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....1157622


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Owen571 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2013, 11:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ashepabst @ Jan. 24 2013, 4:13 pm)
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near the falls you might've seen a sign pointing towards the Caney Fork River... if you follow that path no more than a tenth of a mile down there's a lovely campsite big enough for 3 or 4 groups right on the river. there's a great swimmin hole there, too.

Thanks for that, too. Going to head up there week after next, if all goes as planned. Hopefully the water will still be flowing well.
I'll probably stay out of the swimming hole, though!
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magicmomma Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2013, 9:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

LOL@ Owen on the staying out of the swimming hole. What you scare for? WHAT?   Brrr City.  

Thanks for the trip report markweth. You hit it at a great time!  Lots of water.  I've hiked here numerous times and enjoyed it in different seasons.  I kinda felt like I'd worn it out, but now I've gotten interested in actually going IN the caves so I want to go back soon.   Now that there are things to see and explore underground it opens up other possibilities.  I've been in two of the caves there, but not very far into them.  Ready to try again with new and better equipment and a renewed interest.   I had read or seen on maps that there were more waterfalls and caves just outside the boundary of VFPW. I have found a good many of those.  Kenny and I found the waterfalls on Dry Creek, but I plan to return when over there next. We only found the 1st one. There is at least one more.  Went swimming there in the Caney Fork in Summer. Something big was trapped in that swimming hole with me and kept bumping into my legs. Probably a big fish, but after awhile it gave me the heebie jeebies and I got out. Down there in Scotts Gulf at the ford.


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Owen571 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 28 2013, 8:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I ain't skeered. It does seem a bit chilly for that this time of year, though!

Stoked to see Virgin Falls. That really is a great pic.
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magicmomma Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 28 2013, 8:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well I'm dern glad sumbody ain't skeered coz I AM!

BATS!


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"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."~~Isaiah 53:5
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 Post Number: 9
ashepabst Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 29 2013, 9:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

skeered of a fuzzy little monster? :p  i'll see if i can dig up my photos of Virgin Falls at flood stage... scared me a good bit.

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 Post Number: 10
magicmomma Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 29 2013, 10:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I found out quick, fast and in a hurry that while I am not skeered of hibernating bats........ hundreds of awake bats flapping around my head is un-nerving! LOL

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"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."~~Isaiah 53:5
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9 replies since Jan. 24 2013, 5:00 pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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