What to do and see in Sparta, United States: The Best Places and Tips

December 10, 2017 Tonie Szymanski

Sparta is a city and the county seat of White County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 4,925 in 2010, and 5,075 according to a 2014 census estimate.
Restaurants in Sparta

1. Burgess Falls State Park

4000 Burgess Falls Dr, Sparta, TN 38583-6661 +1 931-432-5312
Excellent
76%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 304 reviews

Burgess Falls State Park

Burgess Falls State Park, located on the Falling Water River, is a day use park, noted for its natural beauty and four waterfalls that cascade down from over 250 feet in elevation. The last of these falls is the most spectacular, plunging more than 130 feet into the gorge. The area was originally populated by Native Americans of the Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw tribes. These tribes used the land as a hunting ground until the late 19th century when a gristmill and sawmill began operating on the river. The Falling Water River was used to generate hydroelectric power for the city of Cookeville from 1928-1944. In 1973, the territory became a designated Tennessee State Natural Area, protecting the diverse forest and aquatic habitats. The park offers several activities for family and friends to enjoy year-round. Fishing is popular below the dam and the main waterfall along the bank and at the fishing pier. There are no public boat ramps or canoe/kayak access areas in the park. A large covered pavilion equipped with grills and tables can be reserved for large groups and has a scenic view of the river. Additional picnic areas, most with grills, are conveniently located to restrooms and a playground is nearby. None of the picnic tables are equipped with water spigots and all are available on a first come, first serve basis. The 1.5-mile round-trip River Trail/Service Road Loop is a moderately strenuous hike taking visitors past the waterfalls and into the gorge. The waterfalls are 20’ cascades, 30’ upper falls, 80’ middle falls, and 136’ lower falls in height. A steep trail leads to the edge of the falls, and a rustic stairway leads into the gorge. This is not an easy hike; the trail from the main overlook to the bottom of the main falls is very strenuous. Most people prefer to hike back to the parking lot along the service road. The half-mile Ridge Top Trail is very scenic with views down the main canyon of Falling Water River. All trails are foot trails.

Reviewed By sadia_roti - Louisville, Kentucky

We have been there two times, the big fall is amazing! The middle falls and lower falls are very much beautiful as well, don't miss the chance to see all the falls. But I was little sad that the park rangers told that there is no way to go to the bottom of the big falls except kayaking.Because the storm last year smashed the staircases that lead to the bottom. I was looking for other ways to go to the bottom, but there wasn't any without kayaking.I saw a large number of photos of the big falls taken from downstream and it looked wonderful though seeing that big fall from the overlook wasn't that nice. The hiking to the big falls overlook is easy. The little fall and middle fall was good enough. I loved the view of little falls, you can go and sit there and hear the sound of falling water, it was so peaceful! Try to reach there by noon, because the park closes at 6 pm.

2. Rock Island State Park

82 Beach Rd, Rock Island, TN 38581-4200 +1 931-686-2471
Excellent
69%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 228 reviews

Rock Island State Park

Reviewed By Ann M - McMinnville, Tennessee

I went last weekend to experience Big Falls during a major Freeze. If you go down Powerhouse road to the north side of the river, you can park right next to a great overlook, get out and take a hike, or just take a picture...MoreWe are glad you are taking in the beauty of the Park at different times of year! Thanks for sharing your tips with future visitors and we look forward to seeing you in the spring.

3. Burgess Falls

Sparta, TN +1 931-432-5312
Excellent
85%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 75 reviews

Burgess Falls

Reviewed By Budd L

This is one of the most awesome "series" of waterfalls you'll ever see here in the U.S.. Sadly the observation decks have not been repaired yet from a major storm/landslide several years ago. You can still "see" the falls, but only get a really good view of the smallest ones.

4. Nortfield Vineyards Winery

515 Ray Cemetery Rd, Sparta, TN 38583-5209 +1 931-761-9463
Excellent
75%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 8 reviews

Nortfield Vineyards Winery

Reviewed By claude_monnier - Raleigh, NC

We had a wine tasting at Northfield. The setting is very picturesque with nice view of tje central TN rolling hills, and the building is nice.
The wines are all sweet wines, good with either cheese or dessert and better served chilled.
The store has a nice array of local products. It is a nice stop to pick up

5. Virgin Falls State Natural Area

Scotts Gulf road, Sparta, TN 38583 +1 423-881-5708
Excellent
75%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 8 reviews

Virgin Falls State Natural Area

Reviewed By TryppAdams - Minneapolis, Minnesota

The trail starts out pretty flat for the first mile and half crossing a small stream every now and then and then you start to descend. First was Big Branch falls, which was pretty small but a nice diversion. You continue downward fairly aggressively crossing a stream that has a cable across it to assist with balance and at 2.5 miles or there about you end up at Big Laurel Falls. This is a much larger falls with a cave behind it. The stream flowing over it disappears in the back of the cave and the ground is dry from here on out. Would be interesting to be here during a storm. I hiked another mile and wasn't sure how far Virgin falls where as there was no signs at the trail head or along the way, then decided to head back as it was going to be dark before I reached the trail head. The worst part of this trail or of the first 3.5 miles is the 1.5-2.5 mile section.. it isn't that steep, but is really rocky, uneven and a fairly constant elevation change. Nice hike through the woods though!

6. Sparta Rock House

Highway 70, Sparta, TN 38583 +1 931-738-7305
Excellent
76%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 8 reviews

Sparta Rock House

Reviewed By YorkGardener - Rock Hill, South Carolina

Built as a two-room structure, now one large room with a fireplace at both ends. Filled with historic pictures and mementos. There is a docent with information concerning the house, the eras, and other important Tennessee facts. You get a lot of information in a short time and learn about the landscape of the area before man altered it.

7. Sunset Rock Overlook

Crossville Hwy, Sparta, TN
Excellent
33%
Good
51%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 6 reviews

Sunset Rock Overlook

Reviewed By Theresa M

I was surprised by the breathtaking view. Got to see some rock climbers up close. I only learned of this place by overhearing see locals talk about it.

8. River Watch Golf CLub

235 Harbour Greens Pl, Sparta, TN 38583-4289 +1 931-761-8124
Excellent
67%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
33%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

River Watch Golf CLub

Tennessee’s first 18-hole Championship Golf Course originally designed by PGA tour professional Peter Jacobsen and architect Jim Hardy. Featuring a full service pro shop, villas, bar and restaurant. Ranked one of the top courses in TN.

Reviewed By Lee C - Pewaukee, Wisconsin

This is a 2.5 star review (Trip Advisor doesn't have anything between 2-3).

The golf course has some really nice holes; in fact, it has many of them. What drags this down in my review are two very strong negatives. First, the routing is just stupid. After hole #7 you have a VERY LONG way to get to the next hole. Then after #9, you double-back across the street to locate the #10 tee. Even the start (#1) requires a walk and crossing the street. Secondly, the greens were not in good shape. I think they were Bentgrass, but if so, they need to be converted as Bent doesn't do well in hot summers in this location. Very bumpy and sparse in spots.

The course has some very good elevation changes and you will play up and down as you make your way across the property. The par 3's are tough, but I think they would have been better served by variety (many were 190-210 with carry's over a front bunker). One fine, but 3-4 of them? Some positives though, as I think the #10-14 stretch are very good golf holes. #11 is a drivable par 4, but is followed by a very reachable par 5 (#12). That killed the pace of play! #13 is a tough drive that required an even tougher 2nd shot over the rocks guarding the green.

River Watch had a good mixture of dogleg right/left. Bermuda fairways were in good condition. Bunkers needed edging work done, but the sand was good and consistent. The practice facilities were large and sufficient. The clubhouse had a small area to hang out in but wasn't made to host big outings (they must utilize a tent outside or something).

The key question is: Would I go back? Probably yes, as their pricing is very competitive and there's not too many options in the Sparta, TN area. Just know going in that the pace of play will be slow given the way the course is routed through the property.

9. Calfkiller Brewing Company

1839 Blue Springs Road, TN 38583 +1 931-739-2337
Excellent
95%
Good
5%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 35 reviews

Calfkiller Brewing Company

Welcome to Calfkiller Brewing Company! We set our brewery in the beautiful countryside of Sparta, TN. We strive to make our beers "Unparalleled Drinkabilty, Paradoxically Balance by Uncompromised Complexity", in other words, great drinking ales! With a gift shop on site which offers a few free beer samples and the chance to purchase growlers, we invite you stop in, look around and enjoy our wonderful beer garden. Tours are available most Saturday's by appointment only. Please email or call for available tours. See you soon!

Reviewed By TOMMYGD - Ringgold, Georgia

we have been to this brewery on several occasions and always have a good time in this relaxing and laid back place. The owners and staff are extremely friendly and very serious about their beer. We really love the many varities of their beer. It's...MoreThanks so much for taking a moment to give us a great review! We are happy to learn you've visited with us several times and really love our beer. This is what we strive for: "repeat offenders". We hope you will be back soon. Cheers!

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