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amazing trail if your up for a challenge

To echo other reviews, Fiery Gizzard is a rock festival almost the whole way through the gulf. You'll want to be sure footed and a trekking pole or two is a near necessity. This is mainly what makes it "hard" as the elevation changes are pretty minimal. After the climb up the boulders are fewer, and Dog Hole is pretty clear until it drops back down.
The trail is well marked by a combination of tree tags and paint. It gets a lot of traffic so pretty well worn as well.
There are some interesting rock formations, the river has several falls from medium to small, and a couple of good swimming holes. Not much in the way of views even with the leaves off until Ravens Point. Dog Hole has a couple of overlooks as well.

backpacking
5 days ago

Trail was pretty easy to follow and there are plenty of waterfalls to look at along the way. On the hike in, we went up to Martha’s Pretty Point from the junction just past the cable crossing (solid uphill but nice view and campground). We stayed for about 15 minutes and then left and went back down to the main trail. Finished the trail and at the Falls loop junction (past Big Laurel Falls) we continued straight (lower trail) and down the rocky ridge. Rocky is 100% correct. It’s a rough downhill but nothing terrible. At the “T” we continued to the right and on to Virgin Falls (to the left is Caney Fork River). Great waterfall and a nice camp area. We took the spur trail to the top of the Falls. Very short trip and an easy place to get water if you’re staying here overnight.
There is a junction here to continue on to Lost Creek Trail but we didn’t go that way. We stayed the night and then continued the loop (upper trail), past Sheep Cave, and then back to the main Virgin Falls trail. If you’re not planning to do the entire Falls loop....take the UPPER trail on the way in and out. It’s less rocky, more flat, and generally easier.

The trail itself could use more trail markers past Big Laurel Falls but if you take a little time you can find the trail if you look ahead.
Wood had been pretty well picked through if you’re trying to build a campfire but go a little further out from your camp and you’re sure to find something that has fallen.

Overall a good hike and one I would do again.

Lots of waterfalls in a short hike. Easy in harder out. Like a fellow said we met on the trail “it’s all downhill till you turn around”! He was pretty much on the mark. Slippery rocks and leaves in winter but spring and fall would be awesome!

hiking
11 days ago

Absolutely incredible. I live in Nashville, and this trail tops my list for hikes that are within reasonable driving distance. Spectacular scenery with every step.

We did this trail Fiery Gizzard up to Ravens Point and then Dog Hole Trail back down. There were areas of the trail that were not well marked due to down trees. Very rocky terrain. We definitely felt a sense of accomplishment when we finished in 7.5 hours. Beautiful scenery along the trail.

One of my new favorite trails! Challenging but the views DO NOT disappoint! Absolutely gorgeous.

backpacking
19 days ago

Our 1st overnight experience. Going in was easy. Coming out was another story. Trails needs to be marked better, especially heading up to Sheep Cove from Virgin Falls. Next time, we will set up camp closer to trailhead or enter via the other side.

Trail was awesome. Needs better trail blazes on the backside of the trail.

Went in counterclockwise with some nice rock scrambles but up on the rim the storm has almost made it impassable.We went about a half mile in a hour then just gave up on following the trail and went cross-country until we finally picked the trail up later.Made us late getting into Sawmill and we exited the River trail on Sunday which in a nice workout.Overall a good weekend but would have liked to have had a heads up on the storm damage on the rim trail

Wow. For me, it earns its hard rating. Did the down and back. In the morning cold and foggy, afternoon sunny. Almost like two different hikes. Only saw one other hiker the whole day. Offers up, down, water, outhouse, about all you could want. Kicked my butt.

hiking
26 days 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.

hiking
1 month 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.

Great hike

hiking
1 month 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

Amazing place to spend the day. Cold water and beautiful waterfall. Not very much during the summer though. We took a dog too and had no issues. Lovely place. Kinda hard hike down into the canyon though.

backpacking
1 month 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

backpacking
1 month ago

Great trail for day hike or overnight backpacking trip.

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.

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