The Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Natural Areas will host two guided day hikes at Middle Tennessee natural areas on Saturday, January 26, including excursions to Short Springs in Coffee County and Virgin Falls in White County.
Short Springs State Natural Area Hike
Tennessee State Parks Area Manager Robin Wooten will take hikers on a three-mile hike via Busby Falls, Adams Falls and Machine Falls Loop trails. The trails have many ups and downs, creek crossings and beautiful waterfalls so hikers should be prepared for a slower-paced hike with gorgeous scenery. Following the main excursion, there will be an optional 1.5-mile Laurel Bluff Loop Trail hike. Participants should meet at 10 a.m. at the Short Springs State Natural Area trailhead parking lot, located approximately 3.5 miles northeast of Tullahoma.
Short Springs State Natural Area’s biological diversity includes rich forest slopes and ravines, low cascades, springs and waterfalls. The Upper and Lower Busby Falls on Bobo Creek are two prominent cascading waterfalls that can be seen from overlooks on the Bobo Creek Trail. The steep escarpment, with its numerous wet-weather seeps, is particularly impressive during the moist winter and spring months.
Hikers should arrive dressed for the weather. In addition to wearing layers of clothing and sturdy boots, participants should also bring lunch and plenty of water. Reservations are required by January 24 and can be made by contacting Robin Wooten at (931) 239-0065 or at Robin.Wooten@tn.gov.
For information about Short Springs, including a map of the area, please click here.
Virgin Falls State Natural Area Hike
Stewardship Ecologist Forrest Evans will take hikers on a journey through the scenic beauty of one of Tennessee’s best-loved hiking trails. The strenuous eight-mile trail to the falls descends off of the Plateau and meanders along a creek, passing caves, sinks and waterfalls.
Hikers will have lunch at the falls, which offers remarkable views. The trail then backtracks up and out of the gulf to the parking area. Participants should meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Nashville Kroger parking lot located at 5544 Old Hickory Boulevard (near Summit Medical Center) in Hermitage. Participants will carpool and caravan to the trail head.
“Virgin Falls’ forests and geologic features make it one of the state’s favorite destinations and a great place for a winter hike,” Evans said. “This strenuous backcountry hiking trip involves negotiating difficult trail situations and hikers should be in good physical condition.”
Hikers should arrive dressed for the weather. In addition to wearing layers of clothing and sturdy boots, participants should bring lunch and plenty of water. Reservations are required by January 25 and can be made by contacting Forrest Evans at (615) 532-0431 or Forrest.Evans@tn.gov. Consult a weather report before the trip, as the hike will be canceled in the event of rain or predicted rain.
Virgin Falls is a 1,157-acre natural area located adjacent to the Bridgestone Firestone Centennial Wilderness in White County. The natural area is named for Virgin Falls, which is formed by an underground stream that emerges from a cave, and then drops over a 110-foot high cliff before disappearing into another cave at the bottom of the sink. For information about Virgin Falls, including a map of the area, please click here.