The Fiery Gizzard Trail, Tennessee Waterfalls

Located in Grundy State Forest, TN, the Fiery Gizzard Trail is a highly rated 9-mile loop that

rewards its tough terrain with spectacular views throughout. The trail follows the Big Fiery Gizzard Creek

for the first half of the loop, with the second half taking you on top of the gorge that follows the creek

back to the beginning. When I got there, it was unusually crowded for February, with the main lot almost full

and people already starting to park in the overflow parking. So, I found a parking spot as quickly as I

could and gathered my things to start the hike.

Fiery Gizzard Trailhead
Fiery Gizzard Trailhead

Starting the trail you’re immediately greeted with a large rock overhang that

dominates the eyes. As I continued on the trail, I found myself testing my balance with all the rock beds

that followed the creek. Scattered throughout the first half of the hike, the rock beds each last about a

hundred yards or so, making it imperative that you take your time going through them. Between each

rock bed, the trail gives you time to catch your breath with easy, flat, non-rock infested sections before

giving you another rock bed to traverse.

Fiery Gizzard Stream
Fiery Gizzard Stream

After three to four rock beds, the Fiery Gizzard gives you a climb. Most hiking trails that I have been

on offer a long, but gradual climb to the top. This is not the case with the Fiery Gizzard. While the climb

is long, it is anything but gradual, burning your thighs with each step. I would be lying if I said that I

wasn’t out of breath after climbing it. The climb itself lasts for about a quarter of a mile and takes you to

a T-intersection; left taking you back to the parking lot, right taking you towards the camping site that is

around 4.5 miles off the loop.

If you decide to take a right, the trail takes you on private property and offers you a few extra

views that are worth your while. I went right and was not disappointed. After making a rather steep

descent, there is a waterfall that spills in between a gorge of its own, making a wonderful place to have

lunch (that’s where I had mine.) A bit further on, there is another waterfall that is slightly off the trail,

but in my opinion, the best waterfall on the trail. It was around 50ft-60ft tall and looked like something

out of a movie. While it might not have been the most powerful of the waterfalls on the hike, it was the

most picture worthy.

Fiery Gizzard Falls
Fiery Gizzard Falls

Continuing past that waterfall leads you to an overlook that commands the view of the area. To

the right of the overlook, you can see rock bluffs in the distance and to the left, you can see the foothills

in the area. This part of the hike is worth the stop just to soak in the view, even if it’s about a mile off the

main loop. The last major waterfall of the hike is just past this overlook, and if you want to continue

towards the campsite, you have to go under the waterfall. For me, that was a pretty unique experience

and I recommend that if you ever get the chance to walk under a waterfall, you should do. For lack of

better words, it’s pretty cool.

Fiery Gizzard Waterfall
Walking under a waterfall at Fiery Gizzard Falls

Overall, this is a great hike for anyone looking to challenge themselves while taking in some

extraordinary views along the way. I would recommend that you build up to this hike though, as it does

give some challenges that may be too much for some. The trail itself is pretty well marked with the

exception of the T intersection that you come to after the climb to Raven’s Lookout. It says the Fiery

Gizzard continues right, which is technically true, but gives you no direction that the parking lot is to the

left. Other than that, take a day, and hike this trail. You won’t regret it.

 

This post was guest written by a good friend of the RealestNature crew, leave a comment below and we’ll pass it on to him!

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