Hiking Foster Falls Climber’s Loop Trail

Tennessee Hikes, Waterfalls

My AllTrails recording can be found here.

My daughter has recently gotten into hiking. I am one proud mama! I was hoping she would come around to it. So far I have tried to take her on easy(ish) hikes. She’s grown and could handle a hard hike, but I don’t want to scare her off. I decided to take her to Foster Falls and do the Climber’s Loop Trail. I have been to the falls several times, but this is the first time I have done the loop. And, of course, I left the good camera at home in a chair. So no super pretty flowing waterfall pics this time. I will just have to come back I guess.

Foster Falls is part of the Fiery Gizzard trail in South Cumberland State Park. It is an easy to moderate trail, barring a couple of up hills, that is just under three miles. The rest of the Fiery Gizzard is a brutally hard trail. This hike would be fine for kids, not too little, that can handle the climbs. It took us under two hours and that was even stopping a lot for pictures.

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The hike down is steep, but worth it. On this day, it was incredibly crowded and the trail was lined with people going down and coming back up. Very different from a few years ago when I went and there was hardly anyone there. It was also very slick. A couple of people slipped. Once you get down to the bottom it is absolutely gorgeous.

The bridge is a nice touch to the rest of the scenery. It isn’t a very high or long bridge, but fun just the same.

This shot gives you an idea of the terrain. It is very rocky, rooty and steep.

If you look in the top right hand side you will see a group of kids at the base. They are yelling up at a girl that is walking along a tiny ledge. It sounded like they were screaming at her to stop. It was scary. I don’t think she realized just how high up she was and if she had slipped it would have been bad.

Once you move on past the swinging bridge the trail cuts back to the left to take you on up to the climber’s loop. The greens and the rain that had just come through really made for a pretty hike.

As you can see, the terrain is very rocky. There is one section where you really have to boulder hop. It’s short though..very doable.

Eventually you will see this sign. Since I had heard that the trail was three miles long I knew this just could not be correct so we kept on. That was a mistake. Past this sign the trail ends at one of the climber’s walls. I would have taken pictures of that, but there were several climbers just sitting there talking and I didn’t want to bother them. We turned around and headed back to this sign and took the trail up.

This is the steepest part other then when you are actually going down to the falls at the beginning. It’s a bit of a climb over some rocks. It was very humid when we went and were soaked with sweat by the time we got to the top.

Once at the top it is easy going. You will stroll along and see some great views. In about six weeks or so this is just going to be fabulous with all the fall colors. We kept going and eventually came up to the Father Adamz campsite area. There were several really good camping areas that I will definitely be back to check out. Hopefully, in the next few weeks. We went in and checked out the sites and then came back and headed on down the trail.

Eventually, you end up at a great overlook of the top of the falls.

And then another bridge.

One last really pretty overlook before we get back up to the trail leading back to the parking lot.

Looking back at the area we just came out of.

All in all just a lovely hike and would recommend for those who are in relatively good shape. If you get there early enough you would have time to go do another short hike in the area. We got there around 3 in the afternoon, so it was a little late by the time we finished up.

Afterwards we went to Jim Oliver’s Smokehouse. It is my go-to after hike meal place. Highly recommend it. The food was delicious and my daughter loved her bbq and fried chocolate pie. You even get a free fudge sample when checking out.

That’s it for now!

Happy Hiking!

Lori

Ice Hiking Greeter and Foster Falls

Tennessee Hikes

The crazy low temperatures we have had for the last several days have made for some spectacular Instagram posts for frozen waterfalls and icicles.  And, as I am prone to do, I waited until the very last day that low temperatures were forecasted to go out and find me some frozen water.

I gathered together my closest hiking buddies (for the record, I have the BEST group of gals to hike with) and the four of us headed off into the cold, dreary Saturday morning in search of beauty and fellowship. We found it.

I have to admit I was taken aback by the number of cars that were in Greeter Falls parking lot when we pulled in. I mean, who is crazy enough to get out early with degrees in the teens and go hiking? Oh, wait!!! Nevermind.  I had really hoped that the hoopla was done and that I was the last person to decide to venture out and do this. I was so very wrong.  It was packed.  Packed with lots of people with cameras and equipment far better than mine. I suffer from LE aka. lens envy. I look at everyone else and figure why should I bother.

But I still do…..

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Not sure how I captured a pink sun flare. I did not add that in post.

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We stopped at Upper Greeter Falls first and were blown away.

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After seeing this we couldn’t wait to get down to the lower falls. The spiral staircase was clear of almost all ice. There was a huge frozen ice mass right next to them.

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Down the spiral and then down the long staircase to the base. It was ALL clear.

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treesccThere was even a husky running around. He was thrilled with the cold temperatures. His tag reads ‘Winter’. How cool is that?

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After Greeter we trekked on over to Foster Falls. I have to admit Foster is my favorite waterfall. However, my picutres did not do it justice. Unlike Greeter it was actually flowing quite well. I had accidentally left my neutral density filters at home ( I know, made me sick too). I was not able to catch the soft flowing water without them.

The hike down to Foster is very steep. It is not a long hike at all, just very, very steep. There is a little cave house right at the beginning of the descend and the ice was absolutely beautiful.

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Foster was creating a bowl at the base where the water had frozen when it splashed up.

It really was something to see.

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A little further up on the rock climbers trail there was a huge, frozen fall on the rock face. It was stunning.

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And, just like that, it was time to head back up the hill.

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Did I mention it was steep?

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And now, for the important part. I want to give a shout out to this awesome restaurant.

The post-hike meal. I mean, that IS why we hike isn’t it?

Whenever, and I mean with.out.fail, I am in the Savage Gulf area we stop and eat at Jim Oliver’s Smokehouse. I would describe it as Cracker Barrel’s redneck cousin. Their food is the best. I always get the bbq. They have a buffet as well that usually sports a gigantic iron skillet with bread budding. They have bbq sauce called “Blazin’ Rectum” and also have coffee and peach flavored sauces. You HAVE to stop there.  insert blurry iphone pic.

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That’s it!

Happy Hiking!