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hiking
4 hours ago

Amazing hike.

great hike, but be prepared. it is not an easy trail. this loop transitions from a well maintained trail to steep stone steps, to rock hopping across areas where no trail is defined. the stagecoach rd is amazing, when you think of how it was built, hiking up it, know it is a long steep grade on a rock road. the rim trail leaving the stagecoach rd is your typical trail, and easy hiking untill it gets back around to the point it has to cross Collins river. it becomes more difficult there with some rock hopping.

overall I liked it, the camp sites are nice, water is plentiful, while it is not an easy loop, it is not overly difficult. it is well marked.

Tough terrain but definitely worth the hike. It took 8 hours and we didn't stop for a long period of time to eat or break. We were trying to ensure we got out before dark. We parked at Foster Falls and had Dorothy take us to Grundy to begin our journey.

Not hard, moderate at best. No hard climbs, but a few of them add up. First one on the trail at 9:30 on a Sunday morning, lightly trafficked is accurate. I went after the leaves fell, so lots of crunching underfoot. I can see how it would be difficult after a solid rain, it was dry on my venture. No access to the lake unless you trailblaze a bit on your own. Different topography hiking along the ridge, but lots of time in the forest with not much to see. Lake is very pretty, but you’re never real close to it unless you go off trail.

trail running
7 days ago

Fun trail. I went clockwise and got lost pretty early on and agree that signage could improve a little. I cant wait to go back. I enjoyed the diverse ecosystems that you get to experience throughout the run.

hiking
7 days ago

Probably one of the more impressive waterfalls I've seen. It's easy to lose the trail in between Virgin Falls and Sheep's Cave, so heads-up. I did this on a Thursday morning, and I only saw a handful of people the whole time. I had my dog with me, and we stopped at each waterfall for a bit, so it took me 5 or 6 hours.

This is a strenuous hike. lots of rocks and boulders. if you love water falls this trail has plenty of falls.

hiking
11 days ago

Falls was well worth the hike. Being from Michigan where it is flat, I was pretty tired the last half of the hike on the way out as I was not used to the up and down. Was not as in shape as I thought either. Lol. Also did some geocaching along the way. Very much enjoyed this hike.

I've done the Fiery Gizzard to Raven's Point twice. It does not disappoint. I suggest you take the Fiery Gizzard trail out and return on the Dog Hole Trail. Your quads and knees will appreciate it.

I've also done the Savage Gulf trail referenced in the review below. I will agree that the climb out of the Savage Gulf is harder.

My last trip to the Fiery Gizzard was November 3, 2018. On my first trip, which was in early May, 2018, I only recall missing one turn and I quickly realized I was off trail, back tracked to last marker and picked up the trail again pretty easily. On this last trip the there were several large trees down on the trail and I missed several turns, At least twice I caught up with other people who had stopped to look around for trail markers. Maybe it was the downed trees, maybe it was because of all the leaves on the ground, I don't know. But something was making the trail disappear at times. This is not to say the trail isn't well marked - it is. You have to look for white tree markers. A lot of the trail is rocky. Full of rocks. boulder size rocks. If you don't feel like you are on the trail, go back to the last white tree marker and look again. It would be hard to get completely turned around on this trail. But the trail does seem to disappear at times.

This one's definitely worth the effort. The scenery is beautiful, but rugged. The terrain is very rocky through the gulf. I hiked down through the gulf and returned along the rim via the Dog Hole Trail after Raven's point, as the map here suggests. After climbing out of the gulf (this is the hardest part - pretty much straight uphill), the return trip is pretty easy. Be careful of loose rocks in the gulf, and pay attention to the trail markers. I hiked this trail alone and got turned around a few times. The trail markers are hard to spot in some places. The view from Raven's Point is magnificent. The point sticks out into the gulf, so you're surrounded by expansive views on 3 sides, and there's plenty of space, so it doesn't feel crowded even when other people are there.

If you've hiked through the Big Creek loop at Savage Gulf, this route is very similar. I think Savage Gulf is harder than Fiery Gizzard, but based on the reviews for both, it seems like there are mixed opinions on that.

Many options along this trail to circumnavigate, take steep short cuts and explore. Very rocky with railroad tie re-enforcements, swing bridges and scrambling. Beautiful falls, sunsets and foliage.
If you take the steeper route down, your knees will do the work. If you take the steeper route up, your lungs will take the brunt. The Falls are worth the challenge

backpacking
12 days ago

Had a great overnight backpacking trip along this trail over the weekend. Car camped on Friday and 7 miles in to campsite 2 on Saturday. 8 miles out Sunday morning back to the parking lot (we went off some side trails adding to what would have been ~6 miles on Sunday). Would definitely recommend going counter clockwise. Hiking down into the gorge and back up the other side is the biggest stretch of elevation changes. If you're going clockwise you'll have this nice long ascent for the tail end of the hike. Going counter clockwise lets you get all that out of the way near the beginning when you should be fresher.

Campsite 2 has a well pump for water. Still recommend filtering the water but it is very convenient. Outhouses were fine to use. Clean enough, considering. Definitely recommend site 2 over 1, it is much closer as a half way mark.

The trail can be a bit difficult to find when you get closer to the nature center. Lots of fallen trees over the trail and parts were not very clearly defined. Not a big deal though, just had to take a quick minute to find a marker a few times. I saw other reviewers taking a star off their rating because of this. I don't think it was that bad. Still a five start hike in my opinion.

100% recommend this for overnight trips or long day hikes. Will likely be back

Awesome trail. The views are excellent. We did the full loop clockwise, which I would highly recommend. Going down into the gorge was very steep and rock filled. The gorge itself was lovely, and the river was flowing pretty strong. The way back up to the rim was not near as steep as the descent (again why I would recommend clockwise). Overall a good challenge but very doable if you are active.

trail running
13 days ago

This is a legit 10 mile loop, I absolutely love it. Minus one star only because there are some parts where you can inadvertently go off trail because of some rogue trails blazed by lost folks thinking they were still on the correct trail. Some signage at these junctions would solve this problem.

We tried this last year starting at Grundy and heading towards Foster Falls. We didn't allow enough time and eventually turned back due to loss of light.

This year we tried again. We decided to start at Foster Falls and head toward Grundy. We actually think this was better as we were going down a lot more than going up (going from Grundy to Foster would be a lot more "up.") There are a few places the white trail markers on trees aren't easy to spot. And several more where the tree with the marker had fallen down. Just pay attention to where you are going. Piles of boulders do not scream "trail," but that was usually it.

This trail is gorgeous. Going in early Nov provided us with the lovely leaf color that got better with every bend. There are many waterfalls that aren't on the map and you even pass under one. That was a pleasant surprise (don’t worry, we hardly got wet.)

I would recommend having a hiking stick (or 2 if that's what you prefer.) It's helpful to have a little more stability in most of the areas.

The trail took us longer than we thought. We started at 7am and needed our headlamps by the time we finished at 6pm. (Needing these would depend on the time of year you go.)

All in all- prepare well and you can enjoy this beautiful trail!

(We took Foster Falls to Grundy Trail. We did stop and go down to Ravens Point (very pretty, but if you are short on time you could bypass since other overlooks have a similar view.) We took the Dog Hole trail back to the Grundy parking lot. (Its nearly the same distance as the other but the Fiery Gizzard trail goes along the bottom and climbing over boulders takes more time.) We bypassed the Grundy Loop trail (due to the sun setting) and made it back to the parking lot. We parked one car at each lot ahead of time.

It would be wonderful if the trail had mileage makers throughout as you truly have no idea where you are. Most of us had cell service throughout. Downloading the Alltrails map ahead of time is very helpful. The trail was incredibly clean.

*The Blue Hole falls are best seen in daylight as the hole really is blue.  

*Foster falls is also best viewed in the daylight. (Obviously)

Depending on where you start/end, which time of year you go, and how quickly you walk, one or the other may be in the dark. Both are worth seeing you may just have to choose which. The entire trail is filled with spectacular views and lovely reminders of how beautiful the world is.

Enjoy it!

[TL;DR: A good starter trail if you want to do long day hikes. the only tough spot is at the top (middle) of the trail. Useful as a gear-check and practice for scrambles and rapid ascents.]

Did this 3 weeks ago; didn't have the app yet, so here's a belated review.

This is a longish beginner trail with one short (~1 mile) tough spot between the two campsites. I went clockwise (left at the junction), so after Campsite 2 I had a scramble down to the bottom, with a rapid ascent to Campsite one. Neither is overwhelming, and will be a good place to get some practice and try out gear.

The trails up to the 2 campsites are very smooth and easy. Near the Nature Center the signage and blazes go crazy, so I did the last bit on the road, as I kept getting directed to the wrong paths. I recommend parking at the Village. You've got some good connector trails and on return you've got all the food and facilities waiting on you.

This is another trail everyone I met was overnighing, but I did it in 7 hours, counting breaks, without pushing for speed at all. Very good beginner trail, but I may or may not do it again (the trails to the campsites are kind of dull).

[TL;DR: Solid trail, good workout. Varied terrain so you won't get bored. Watch out for false trails.]

First, if you're reading this close to the date of this post, go now. The leaves just started really changing color about a week ago, and now it is in full swing. Lots of pines, but in the deciduous areas it is all red and gold. The trail is casually beautiful, with the occasional stunner just laying nonchalantly in full view of the trail. Waterfalls, cliffs, boulder fields, etc.

Second, someone below said this is harder that Fiery Gizzard; I would disagree. I would say it is equal to Fiery Gizzard to Raven's Point Loop, but with a different kind of difficulty. I would compare it more closely to Lower Loop at Fall Creek Falls, but with rougher paths and more and longer scrambles.

You will have a scramble on either side of the trail head. The one to the right (counterclockwise) is more continuous, with no real flat spots until you're out of the scramble. The one to the left (clockwise) is not a continuous scramble, but seemed more difficult due to a number of odd angles and weird transitions. I would call them equally difficult, but in different ways. I would recommend going to the right from trailhead, though, if only because the left-hand side gives you a beautiful spot to appreciate once you get close to trailhead on the way back.

Outside of the scrambles the path tends to be very broken and rough, but nothing worrisome. You will need to cross 4-5 streams, so keep an eye on the rain and prepare accordingly.

The ascent on the way back is fairly rapid, but not too much so.

I will note that I cut the loop close to the end: I cut across the connector trail by the sawmill campsite instead of completing the last nub of the loop, trying to save 30 minutes to an hour as I was racing sunset (late start, thanks Google Maps). It was a good choice, as I made it back to the parking lot just in time for a golden sunset. I carry night gear, but doing a scramble in the dark on a new trail did not seem like a good idea.

One important warning I haven't seen anyone else mention: there are false trails everywhere. Some seen ike abandoned paths, some for locals, some seem natural, but it is very easy to go off trail here. I went down two false trails (one even had a wooden ramp along a cliff edge), and I ran into two groups that had lost members further back on the trail, which I hadn't seen. One very tricky spot is when you cross the suspension bridge when heading couter-clockwise. Once over that there'll be a small footbridge. At that point the trail will be slightly behind your right shoulder; take an immediate right. Someone has tried to block the false trail (immediately in front if the footbridge) with a wall of branches, but it just looks like trail debris. Lots of blazes down, so when in doubt, just stop and break out the app, otherwise you'll be off trail and have no idea.

All in all, a good day trail. I completed 13 miles in about 8 hours, counting breaks, without being in any great rush (cutting to the connector did help). Bear in mind with the varied terrain and scrambles your speed is not going to remain steady. Also remember that you've have a moderately long scramble wanting for you at the end of the trail no matter which way you go, so don't exhaust yourself. Everyone I met on trail was overnighting, but you shouldn't have a problem doing a day hike.

This was the most difficult hike I've ever done. I hike a lot of trails this length, but with this trail it's less about the length and more about all the climbs. lots of rocks, stairs, and mountain sides to climb up and down. This trail is a beast.

That said, there are beautiful views, valleys, and water falls all along the trail that make it all worth it. We also met a lot of really nice and helpful people.

Hard with some scrambles but the views are worth it.

Not for the faint of heart, but oh-so rewarding!!!

hiking
18 days ago

It’s a pretty easy trail. I like to do it clockwise and hit the ore pit trail at the end. Good overnight for beginners. Really like seeing all the creeks, lakes, beaver dams and such.

Awesome place .We have been here several times but on this weekend we did a 3 day hike ..We started at the Randolf trailhead .Took the 202,209,and the 200 the first day .In which we figured was around 9.5 miles to where we camped for the night ..The next morning we finished the 200 to the 224,204,204b and then set up camp at the crossing with the 209..We figured this to be around 9.5 miles as well ..This spot next to the river is, in my opinion, the best camp spot Ive found In the Sipsey.. The next morning we packed up and followed the 209 to the 201...Finding the 201 is pretty tough if youve never been here.. Signs are not real clear here ..The trail ,once you cross the river an go right for about 40 yards , will actually go left straight up the hill on the other side ..The beginning of the 201 is a tough one too, but fun and beautiful like all the others here .The 201 took us back to the truck .For what we figured to be around 6 miles ,making the total trip around 24 to 25 miles and the end of an awesome weekend ..Each trail on this loop is unique in its own way..I would say of all these trails ,the 224 would be an easy trail (especially if you went south east on it..It all be down hill ) ..The 204b would be the hardest by far .It can test you for sure .One of my favorites so far . I will definately be back .And looking foward to doing more of the nothern trails ..

backpacking
19 days ago

The main to and from Virgin Falls is traveled a lot. I went backpacking on a rainy day and I passed 12 or so day hikers. The trail is rocky in portions and this trail is moderate, not sure why the trail is rated hard rating. "People" not backpackers, just can not leave TRASH at the falls, just plain lazy! I have found that short hikes, less than 10mile one way, are like this.

Truly a real gem. This was one of the best hikes. Tough but rewarding.

did this trail Oct 13. nice trail. not the best rim trail. there is a huge mistake on this trail map. I took the trail to the gulf first on advice from a hiking pro. saving the bolder field for last. better than a 3 mile up hill out of the gulf. If you do this route please note that when you get to Sawmill Camp take the connector trail to the right just past the foot bridge. The map on here shows you going on the river bed and making a large loop to the stagecoach trail. I tried to blaze this trail but lost track of the trail. Had to backtrack to the bridge. If there was a trail there it would add around a mile and a half. Which it did add 1 mile on my hike going in and back out. Just watch for the connector trail on the right past the bridge. It takes you to the Stagecoach.

Wanted a good workout and I got one. The trail is lovely and the blazes are solid (only had to check the map twice.)

Fiery Gizzard is smooth and easy til about a mile or so past the first bridge. After that you'll be doing a rock scramble until you get to the turn off for Raven's Point. One word: if you're out there in the cold and rain, take your break further back from the overlook, as the wind will break your heat bubble and hit you hard after being in the cleft.

Heading back on Dog Hole is easy, and a welcome cool down after ~3 mi. of scramble.

Only one bad spot right now: had no choice but to go into ankle deep mud due to what looks to be a mudslide and a fallen tree that took out a chunk of path as it slid into the water. Also had to cross several streams, but that was probably just the rain.

camping
23 days ago

We really enjoyed this trail and falls was gorgeous at the end!! Several of the camp sites were occupied but we were told of a couple alternate locations. The hike is fairly strenuous on the way back as most of it is uphill. We chose to set up camp earlier in the trail to reduce weight for the rest of our hike. Numerous places for swimming holes (if it were warm weather). Definitely coming back again!

A tough one in full packs. We were preparing for a long trek later in the fall. Rock fields are persistent. Wear solid boots and pack light.

However, worth the effort to see the river in those settings. At one point water disappeared into a karat feature only to return further downstream.

On balance - a challenging trail through beautiful place.

hiking
26 days ago

If you are looking for a solid overnight hike with friends I would check out this trail. We parked at the Overnight Trailhead parking and proceeded along the lower loop trail. There is a segment where you will take the paw paw trail to the remaining lower loop. As others have stated, doing this loop counter clockwise is the way to go. I would encourage anyone who is doing this loop to start here and follow the lower loop trail to campsite 1 and then down into the gorge. The gorge is absolutely treacherous so take your time here. The mileage to Campsite 1 is super flat and very quick, the gorge should take about as much time as the hike to it. On the other side of the the gorge that crosses Cane Creek, you will find Campsite 2. That is the campsite you want for your overnight trip. The hike out is about 7 miles and gets pretty dicey towards the Nature Center. Just follow the white blazes the entire time. It is very hard to find the rest of the loop, but stay with the Nature center on your left and you'll see the rest of the trail. The last 2 miles basically follows the road and pretty much sucks.

Campsite 2 has a working water pump and some dilapidated outhouses. It has great areas for hammock camping and open meadow tent camping. I would have given it 5 stars if it weren't for the terrible break down of the trail near the Nature Center.

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