Blue Hole Falls, Tennessee

I believe I recently had a question asking about the Fiery Gizzard Trail, and I’m here to say I’m not really sure I can tell you everything about the Fiery Gizzard Trail. Let me start by saying the trail is very beautiful and enjoyable, and if you’re in the area, you should definitely check out the trail. I’ve posted about a number of other waterfalls found along the Fiery Gizzard Trail.

But that’s where the problem arises: there are so many small to medium waterfalls along the trail. The brochure, which you should check out here, mentions many different waterfalls, but once I got to the falls, I have to admit I wasn’t really sure which one I was looking at. Was this the true Blue Hole Falls? Or does Blue Hole Falls just refer to some drop along this portion of the creek? Maybe someone out there can clarify this. Searching for Blue Hole Falls leads to pictures of other waterfalls that look like Hanes Hole Falls and another waterfall (all in the same general vicinity). And realize, this is only in a very small portion of the whole Fiery Gizzard Trail, which clocks in at 12.5 miles ONE-WAY. If you’re looking for Foster Falls, that’s on the other end of that 12.5 miles. (And there are a number of waterfalls in between…) I say all of this to urge you to visit the Fiery Gizzard Area in the Grundy Forest Natural Area. If you have the time available, you might be able to find more waterfalls than you originally expected.

Directions:

  1. As you enter Tracy City along US-41, you should notice a sign indicating the Fiery Gizzard Trail/Grundy Forest.
  2. Follow the signs to the trail, where you’ll find a sign-in sheet and other information.
  3. From here, follow either the Fiery Gizzard Trail or the Day Loop Trail, which can both lead to this falls, though you’ll pass by different waterfalls along the way.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 9′
Length of Hike: 1.8 miles round-trip

Blue Hole Falls (?) in December 2009

Where in the World is Blue Hole Falls?

Unnamed Falls #3, Fiery Gizzard Trail, Tennessee

An unnamed waterfall on the Fiery Gizzard Trail (December 2009)

The Fiery Gizzard trail is a treasure trove for waterfall hunters. Sycamore, Black Canyon, Hanes Hole, and Blue Hole Falls are all named falls found along the trail. There are at least three other unnamed falls, #1 and #2 discussed previously. Not all of them are particularly tall, but that’s made up for by sheer number of falls.

I visited in late December, and the hike was extremely enjoyable. It was slightly cloudy out, but the temperature was still nice (for a Michigander). This is one of the last falls that I found on the hike, which I couldn’t tell you the exact length. The Fiery Gizzard Trail as a whole is something like 13 miles long, though I stopped after Sycamore Falls. This specific falls might be more impressive after a lot of rain, though I still found it to be enjoyable.

Directions:

  1. As you enter Tracy City along US-41, you should notice a sign indicating the Fiery Gizzard Trail/Grundy Forest.
  2. Follow the signs to the trail, where you’ll find a sign-in sheet and other information.
  3. From here, follow either the Fiery Gizzard Trail or the Day Loop Trail, which can both lead to this falls, though you’ll pass by different waterfalls along the way.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 1.8 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Unnamed Falls #3?

Unnamed Falls #1, Fiery Gizzard Trail, Tennessee

It is fun to explore the Fiery Gizzard Trail. There are a number of waterfalls along the trail. Some of them have names, while others do not, at least not on the “official” map. I would say that maybe it has to do with being smaller waterfalls, but some of the named ones aren’t really any larger. This is the first fall I encountered along my hike that didn’t have a name, hence the title. I don’t think that I could get particularly close to this waterfall, though this may have been the best angle from the trail.

It is fun to explore the Fiery Gizzard Trail. There are a number of waterfalls along the trail. Some of them have names, while others do not, at least not on the “official” map. I would say that maybe it has to do with being smaller waterfalls, but some of the named ones aren’t really any larger. This is the first fall I encountered along my hike that didn’t have a name, hence the title. I don’t think that I could get particularly close to this waterfall, though this may have been the best angle from the trail.

Directions:

  1. As you enter Tracy City along US-41, you should notice a sign indicating the Fiery Gizzard Trail/Grundy Forest.
  2. Follow the signs to the trail, where you’ll find a sign-in sheet and other information.
  3. From here, follow either the Fiery Gizzard Trail or the Day Loop Trail, which can both lead to this falls, though you’ll pass by different waterfalls along the way.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 6′
Length of Hike: 1.8 miles round-trip

Waterfall along the Fiery Gizzard Trail in December 2009

Where in the World is Unnamed Falls #1?

Black Canyon Falls, Tennessee

Black Canyon Falls in December 2009

Black Canyon Falls seems to be appropriately named. The sky was moderately cloudy on the day that I visited the Fiery Gizzard Trail, but there was still some sun. When trying to photograph this particular waterfall, it was rather difficult. The rock consistently showed up as being very dark in all of the pictures. The rock surrounding the falls seems to absorb light very well, hence the appropriate name.

The hike to the falls was enjoyable even for a late December. I lucked out because the weather in Tennessee turned not-so-nice just a few weeks later. Still, the temperatures were very comfortable.

Directions:

  1. As you enter Tracy City along US-41, you should notice a sign indicating the Fiery Gizzard Trail/Grundy Forest.
  2. Follow the signs to the trail, where you’ll find a sign-in sheet and other information.
  3. This waterfall is found near where a number of trails merge.

Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: 1.8 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Black Canyon Falls?

Sycamore Falls, Tennessee

The Fiery Gizzard Trail is about 14 miles long. I have only hiked a short portion of the trail, and Sycamore Falls represented the end of that hike. You can actually wander around many loops in the Fiery Gizzard Trail. They loop trails merge together rather early on.

I can’t remember exactly how far Sycamore Falls is along the trail, but it is essentially the last waterfall listed on the map for some distance. Later along on the trail, there is another waterfall, but it required a further 3 mile hike, which I wasn’t particularly interested in doing. Foster Falls is on the opposite end of the trail, and I visited Foster Falls separately.

Some of the other waterfalls are easier to visit along the trail, but Sycamore Falls does require some mountain-goat qualities. At one point, you hike up a moderately steep slope, which isn’t terribly bad, except that the trail below you is composed of large, moving rocks instead of flat ground. As you’re hiking along, Sycamore Falls is found along a side-trail, which was rather easy to find.

Directions:

  1. As you enter Tracy City along US-41, you should notice a sign indicating the Fiery Gizzard Trail/Grundy Forest.
  2. Follow the signs to the trail, where you’ll find a sign-in sheet and other information.
  3. For the quickest hike to this specific falls, follow the Fiery Gizzard Trail for a ways to the side-trail to the falls. You can also hike down the Day Use Trail, where you will reconnect back into the Fiery Gizzard Trail. Hiking on the Day Use Trail allows you to view other falls, but adds time to your hike.

Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate)
Height: 12′
Length of Hike: 2.8 miles round-trip

Sycamore Falls in late December 2009

Where in the World is Sycamore Falls?

Unnamed Falls #2, Fiery Gizzard Trail, Tennessee

As you’re hiking along the Fiery Gizzard Trail in Tennessee, you’ll encounter a number of smaller waterfalls and cascades along the way. The Little Fiery Gizzard Creek has multiple different drops, and this is just one of the smaller, unnamed waterfalls along the trail. It’s big enough to be considered a waterfall, at least in my mind. This specific waterfall is probably only about 3′ tall, but it’s still very pretty. The whole hike is beautiful, and can be a short as 1 mile or as long as 24 miles one-way, I believe.

Directions:

  1. As you enter Tracy City along US-41, you should notice a sign indicating the Fiery Gizzard Trail/Grundy Forest.
  2. Follow the signs to the trail, where you’ll find a sign-in sheet and other information.
  3. From here, follow either the Fiery Gizzard Trail or the Day Loop Trail, which can both lead to this falls, though you’ll pass by different waterfalls along the way.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 3′
Length of Hike: 1.8 miles round-trip

A waterfall along the Fiery Gizzard Trail (December 2009)

Where in the World is Unnamed Falls #2?

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?

Hanes Hole Falls, Tennessee

When searching for waterfalls, I don’t always have a plan. I visited Foster Falls in Tennessee, and then noticed at the site that the Fiery Gizzard Trail was nearby, and they listed multiple waterfalls near the beginning of the trail. I decided to go since the hike didn’t seem to be too long. While the waterfalls along the trail are not that large, the hike is extremely enjoyable, even in late December.

Hanes Hole Falls is only 5 or so feet tall. I really love the waterfall, though. It has a very interesting shape, and I remember thinking that the water was some of the clearest I had seen in a while. It had this almost icy sheen to it, though no ice was to be found any where.

Directions:

  1. As you enter Tracy City along US-41, you should notice a sign indicating the Fiery Gizzard Trail/Grundy Forest.
  2. Follow the signs to the trail, where you’ll find a sign-in sheet and other information.
  3. From here, follow either the Fiery Gizzard Trail or the Day Loop Trail, which can both lead to this falls, though you’ll pass by different waterfalls along the way.

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 5′
Length of Hike: 1.8 miles round-trip

Hanes Hole Falls in December 2009

Where in the World is Hanes Hole Falls?