Fiery Gizzard: Grundy to Foster Falls

HARD 66 reviews

Fiery Gizzard: Grundy to Foster Falls is a 12.5 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Tracy City, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and nature trips and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
12.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,758 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

forest

river

views

waterfall

rocky

scramble

Please note this trail is located in Grundy Forest State Natural Area at South Cumberland State Park.

hiking
1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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

1 month ago

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!

1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

Angela Jones and I had hiked over 10 of 13 miles at Fiery Gizzard yesterday before realizing that we were not gonna make it out before dark. We never thought it would take us that long but there were miles and miles of huge rocks we had to climb over so it took way longer. Last minute prep we bought these cheap little headlamps(lesson learned)which gave us just enough light to make sure we didnt fall off a cliff, in many places the trail was on the edge of a drop off, but it didnt give enough light far enough to see the markings on the trees. Thankfully we found someone to help guide us out the last 2.5 miles. So tough but so worth it. Just make sure ya have good headlamps.

hiking
2 months ago

Started in the trail at 8 am with full packs on an 80+ degree day. The first several miles of the trail were beautiful and peaceful. Light broke through the trees while walking along a stream. Next we began the boulder portion of the trail ( my least favorite ). It was hard to view the scenery due to constantly watching where you had to place your footing. We were moving at a mile per hour.
Once we passed the boulders we came to Ravens point which was awesome. We stopped for lunch and took in the views. Several other hikers were there and we all swapped stories of different trails we had taken in the past. Our next portion of the hike was the newer sections, the ups and downs of the stairs. Wow what a beast of trail on the legs. After we completed this section the trail began to smooth out and we were able to pick up our pace as we were worried about not reaching camp till after dark. We were able to get to Father Adams campsite just before dark and enjoyed a great meal then turned in for the night. This trail
Is amazing and I would recommend it as one of my favorites. I had been wanting to hike this trail for years and am finally able to check it off as completed.

4 months ago

I hhhhhhh

hiking
7 months ago

My favorite hike. Starting at foster falls going to ravens point and back is a wonderful challenge, about 16 mile round trip. This last time I went I took to much weight and decided to continue past ravens point and venture towards the grundy forest area, about 13 miles. Thank goodness for Dorothy. Such a great woman who really helped me when I was humbled by the forest.

backpacking
7 months ago

Started at Grundy and ended at Father Adamz campsite. This is the best trail we have ever done in regards to beauty and being a tough hike. About a 14-15 mile hike if you do everything. The plan was to hike back to the car the next day but we abandoned that idea before we even reached the campsite. We got a ride back to the car from Dorothy T. 423-208-5949 - $10 per person. Thanks Dorothy you saved our legs!

7 months ago

Hiked the entire upper trail including Raven’s Point (roughly 14 miles) last Sunday. Weather was perfect. Trail is one of the best I’ve EVER hiked. I loved the changes in scenery and intensity along the way. HUGE dogwoods in bloom along with numerous wildflower varieties. My favorite area is the Tracy City loop. The way the sun shines down through the trees and the sound of the mountain streams is otherworldly. The crew were all experienced hikers and every one of us was DOG TIRED by the end! This trail is NOT for the feint of heart, but worth the effort. I don’t recommend hiking after heavy rain as the rocks will be EXTREMELY slippery andascent/descent very treacherous.

hiking
7 months ago

This hike was great!

backpacking
8 months ago

This trail is awesome. Lots of payoffs: good views on rock outcroppings, waterfalls, beautiful forests. There is a ton of good stuff to see packed into 12 or so miles. There are some good backcountry sites to camp, although it is a shame that the midway campsites at Raven's Point are closed. On that note, hiking the trail end to end in a day, with a pack, is NOT easy. My wife and I are fairly active but not the athletes we used to be. At almost 40 years old the ups and downs of this trail will wear you out. There are also a few spots that are a bit scary, not bad, but take the packs off and pass them up as you climb. Awesome trail that you should definitely try. And SUPER nice and active park rangers, checking to make sure everyone made it to camp safely and not lost on the trail. If you don't have a shuttle car or don't want to hike all the way back (we didn't - too tired - haha) then call Troy @ Troy Transportation. He'll give you a lift from one end to the other for a small amount of dough - totally worth it! His number is listed at the trailhead. Enjoy!

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike, especially with walking next to the stream for the majority of it and having several waterfalls. Also, there is a local there that will give you a ride to the opposite end of the trail since it is a through hike and that makes it really convenient to get back to your vehicle.

hiking
9 months ago

One of a kind.

Link to a popular map of the trail:
http://tnstateparks.com/assets/pdf/additional-content/so-cumberland-fiery-gizzard-map.pdf

Give yourself at least seven hours. And if you decide to hike down to Foster Falls at the end, give yourself another 1/2 hour.

Thanks to R. Keenan for sharing the info about Dorothy Thomas's shuttle service.

hiking
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Great trail, tough climb, beautiful views.

There is a local that offers transportation from one end of the trail to another for anyone doing the straight through and only one vehicle. Dorothy T: 423-208-5949 Cost is $10.

backpacking
Monday, December 04, 2017

Wow! I’m not sure any description could have quite prepared us for this! Amazing!

hiking
Friday, November 10, 2017

I hiked the old trail a few years ago when it crossed private property. Beautiful rugged and challenging trail..looking forward to seeing the new trail. Love south cumberland..

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

This trail is One of my favorites! I will say that it is pretty difficult at times. Be prepared for a challenge.

hiking
Sunday, October 22, 2017

Second time hiking Fiery Gizzard. This was so much better maintained and marked than when I went 11 months ago. Still my favorite hike hands down. Camped overnight which was perfect after a long day of hiking. Beautiful views! Love!!!

hiking
Saturday, September 30, 2017

This was my second time hiking the Gizzard. I started out doing a night hike to Raven's Point. Outside of my headlamp, it was pitch black. It was rather unsettling and I wouldn't recommend doing it regardless of one's skill level.

I made it to Raven's Point at sunrise. It was very pretty. I had a quick bite to eat then went back on the trail. I did not stop until I reached the trailhead at Foster's.

Difficulty? It is hard, but mainly due to traversing the rock/boulder fields and ascending/descending into a few gorges. Outside of those areas, the terrain is flat or rolling and can be traveled very quickly.

The main thing is to just take your time in the tough sections (they don't last forever) and enjoy a fabulous trail. If there are not any people on the trail, which was the case today, I some times listen to some music to help make the miles a little easier and keep my mind off of my sore feet and stiff legs.

Kudos to the individual(s) who marked the trail and maintains the blazes. The trail blazes were fantastic. It is much better than it was when I went in October 2016. There were only 2 small sections were I had to stop and walk a little bit to see a blaze. So, awesome job. Thank you.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

I literally don't know what to tell you about this trail. I'm a month shy of 39, smoked for 25 years, and have been quit 2 months.

One of my aims after quitting was to test my abilities now that I can breathe. This led me to trails like the Window Cliffs, GSD to Laurel, even doing 14 miles in Long Hunter doing 5 trails in about 5 hours. I have also done gizzard-raven-doghole loop. So I'm good to 3mph plus and then some including breaks. Hell I even did 3 miles barefoot in my neighborhood to toughen my old, barely walk in grass, feet.

That being said, I thought I was kind of prepared for this.

I WAS WRONG. LOL.

Having done the Gizzard before, I knew what to expect. The thing is though, I talked to one of the Rangers and he said the 8 mile from Foster to the Gizzard was kinda not that scenic. Which is completely correct, barring Foster Falls and a spot here and there. Let me mention as an aside, I'm unnaturally good on rock and besides going off course every once in a while, I skitter through there like my a$$ is on fire. With the exception of the ascent at the end of it.

I thought not scenic=easy. WRONG AGAIN! What I encountered after Raven was nothing less than human torture in the form of two immediate and consecutive down and back ups sponsored by Stone Staircase. (I'm working on the trademark for that)

After that it leveled out a bit. I feel like I'm missing something. Oh yeah! Hamstring cramps started around mile 6. Squats helped, but the damage was done. Eventually went away and shortly thereafter replaced by Quad cramping. During both of these episodes I had real fear that I might be that guy you hear about getting "saved" on the trail.

Thankfully I was able to power through. I missed the Falls because I was afraid that my leg issues might prevent getting back up.

All in all, I feel like this trail is a test. Both physically and mentally. There are times you may regret not taking the dog hole back. Probably even regret starting the whole hike at least once.

I would not recommed this for beginners, or for anyone who hasn't considered the risks involved. I went solo, and I do not recommend that either. Bring plenty of water, and don't forget your big girl panties. You're going to need them for this one.

hiking
Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hiked this trail from foster falls all the way to Tracy city on 07/09/17. Had someone pick us up to take us back to our vehicle at the end of the trail. Took my children and my grand baby. Yes we hiked with an 8 month old on our backs by taking turns. He was a gem the whole way. I'm 36, my oldest is 18 (the mom of baby) then had my 14 y/o and 12 y/o. It was definitely a very hard trail but worth every step. Took us a little longer because we had to be extra careful carrying a little one in a backpack carrier but I would definitely do this trail again. The views are breathtaking. So many waterfalls to see! Coming out of the gorges were the hardest but uphill with steps and rocks would be. Didn't matter, take that camera! You won't be disappointed. Don't forget extra water and food. Many good places to stop and take a break and eat lunch or a snack.

Monday, July 17, 2017

We hiked it on 7/15/17. We arranged for a shuttle to leave our vehicle at the Foster Falls trailhead and to drop us off at the Grundy Forest trailhead ($5 A person was well worth it). The first 1.5 miles was easy going but then the boulder fields started. This part if the trail will work your ankles, calves and quads nonstop. The trail went on like this for about 2 miles and then it turned into switchbacks up and down the gorges for 1.5 miles or so. This was a very challenging few miles and it was good to get it knocked early on with fresh legs and cooler morning temperatures. We had a few miles if relatively easy walking until we hit the last ravine which was one if the harder climbs right at the 10 mile mark. After this it was all easy walking high above the river below and past many waterfall tops. The hike was gorgeous, well worth the toll on the body. The many falls made it very unique and we were lucky to have so much water flow in July. Bring lots of water, carbs and proteins, and wear mid or upper hiking shoes to protect your ankles on the rocks.

The trail was changed about 18 months ago and is 13.4 miles now with an extra gorge or two to mess with. The track shown on this page is off a little but if you just follow the signs and the white trail markers you will be fine.

hiking
Thursday, June 29, 2017

WOW! We have hiked over 50 trails around here and this has by far been my favorite . It was easy access for our 8 year old and 2 dogs. The problems we have had hiking other trails is the trails not being cleared out . This is BEAUTIFUL , the ENTIRE walk was gorgeous every step was something else really pretty to look at . DO NOT PASS THIS UP. One thing I wish we would have done differently is get there way earlier . We got there mid afternoon and was only able to walk the 2 mile loop , we wanted to do the full 13 miles , I can't imagine how beautiful the rest is. Def not for beginners either if you have knee problems this will be difficult but if your up for the challenge you won't be disappointed.

backpacking
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

absoultely gorgeous trail. not recommended for beginners but worth every step. highly recommend hiking down through the gorge if you're up for a challenge

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

We just completed this trail and I have to say it was incredible. The trails are marked very well and the work put into making some of the steep trails passable are incredible. It has more waterfalls in the 13 mile stretch than any trail I ever hiked. It isn't a trail for a beginner thinking it will be an easy stretch. But the effort is well worth the views you will see. Great trail and I know for certain I will be back.

backpacking
Thursday, May 04, 2017

I begin with a late start . Around 1:00 and found that I didn't have enough daylight to reach the Small Wilds campground. I also decided to hike the lower creek trail and not the Dog Hole trail and found the trail along the creek to be very difficult terrain.. My normal hiking speed was cut in half as I traversed the rocky and windy path along the creek when finally reaching the small wilds camp I was so tired I pitched my tent and went to sleep instantly. The short and moderate hike to foster falls was not bad at all ..just a small taste of the trail with no deep gorges to climb in and out of ..
Now With the bad out of the way I'd like to say that it was among some of the most spectacular views Iv seen in Tennessee.. I live only a few hours away and Iv hiked a lot of trails and I have never been on a hike that gave you so much to look at and experience. With the overlook views and water falls it was like a post card photo around every corner .. One of the reasons I took so long to hike the first day was that I wanted to stop and take a photo every 100 yards .. Within the first mile from the Grundy trail head you will see Tennessee at its most beautiful. The trail altho hard to hike because of the steep climbs . The trail itself was very well maintained.. This is a hike you should plan and enjoy .. But you should have a plan it's not a hike to hike on a whim ..this trail is savage but beautiful

hiking
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I cannot believe this trail has so few reviews. I am partially to blame as I completed this hike a few years ago (time does indeed fly). I hiked it from Tracy City to the Foster Falls. While this hike can be done in a day I unexpectedly had more free time on my hands than I had planned for so I decided to hike from the start point to the Small Wild Camp Area and spend the night there, then finished at the Falls where my vehicle was parked the next day. The logistics of the car shuttle are fairly easy as there are local shuttle options but definitely need to be addressed or it would make for a long return walk. I purposely did this hike mid-week for the solitude and was not disappointed as I did not see a single person on the trail. I rate this true Tennessee Trail as a Five Fiddle trail and should not be missed by any half way serious hiker living within half a parsec of South Cumberland.

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