Foster Falls, Tennessee

Foster Falls from the easily-accessible viewpoint (December 2009)

On the list of Tennessee waterfalls, Foster Falls is a must. It’s not the tallest or the widest in the state, but it is one of the easiest to visit. It also offers a great study in how different viewpoints can lead to such different impressions of a waterfall.

There are multiple different ways to view Foster Falls. The closest to the parking area is a viewing platform that provides a more than acceptable viewpoint of the waterfall, though you are surprisingly far from the falls at that point. The second viewpoint, which I did not pursue, would be to hike to the base of the falls, the trail head of which is found near that platform. I’m guessing the hike down is not very simple, as you are dropping a considerable amount of elevation in a rather short distance.

The third viewpoint is found almost 180 degrees opposite the viewing platform, and requires a short hike to get to. This viewpoint is not advertised, though it is also found directly on the Fiery Gizzard Trail. From the parking lot, start out on the Fiery Gizzard Trail. You’ll walk directly over the creek that turns into Horsehair Falls, assuming there is water flowing. After that, you’ll cross the bridge that goes directly above the river that turns into Foster Falls. A short hike after that, and you’ll come across the third viewpoint. This viewpoint does NOT have any fencing or barrier, so be extremely careful. There is a 60+ foot drop involved. You can get surprisingly good views here, though, and you also get a double treat. Horsehair Falls can be viewed with Foster Falls simultaneously.

Directions:

  1. Travel along US-41 in between Jasper and Tracy City. Driving north from Jasper, the turn toward Foster Falls Natural Area will be on your left after about 7.5 miles. It is almost equidistant from Tracy City.
  2. The road will lead directly to the parking area for the natural area and the Fiery Gizzard trail head.
  3. From the parking lot, follow the sounds of the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (viewing platform), 9/10 (alternate viewpoint)
Height: 60′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Another view of the falls after hiking along the Fiery Gizzard Trail

Where in the World is Foster Falls?

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