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Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Shuttle
Distance
13.00 mi (20.92 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Fiery Gizzard Trail is a 13-mile hike that travels across what is arguably some of the best scenery in Tennessee. Waterfalls and streams abound, and several vantage points offer fantastic views of the valley below.

The trail is accessible from two trailheads: One is near Tracy City, and the other at Foster Falls. It is 13 miles one way, so plan ahead and figure out a shuttle or make it an overnight trip by staying at one of the several available campgrounds. There is one backcountry campground near the Tracy City Trailhead, and there are three campgrounds (two backcountry, one frontcountry) near the Foster Falls Trailhead. If you will be camping, please know that reservations are required and can be made here.

Starting from the northern Tracy City Trailhead, the trail begins as the Grundy Forest Day Loop. After less than a mile you’ll arrive at the official start of the Fiery Gizzard. The trail follows a stream until the next junction. Here you’ll have the choice of continuing to follow the stream or taking the Dog Hole Trail and following the ridge top. Following the ridge top makes for a much easier hike, as the Fiery Gizzard Trail along the creek is extremely rocky and tough going. 

The next junction offers the opportunity for a 0.4-mile side trip to Raven’s Point. This is a must see spot that holds one of the best views on the entire hike. After Raven’s Point, the trail continues on through varied terrain. Several waterfalls lie ahead as well as more ridge top vistas. As you near the end of the trail and Foster Falls, you’ll have the option to continue on the Fiery Gizzard or to take the Climber’s Loop. The Climber’s Loop takes you past many of the popular rock climbing routes and also comes out at the base of Foster Falls, whereas the Fiery Gizzard route takes you above the falls. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Multiple waterfalls. Scenic vistas.

Cons

Very rocky terrain throughout parts of the trail.

Trailhead Elevation

1,800.00 ft (548.64 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,500.00 ft (762.00 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Rock climbing
Waterfalls
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers

Location

Field Guide

Comments

05/04/2019
I'll make some comments on this trail. My wife and I came to Monteagle Tennessee for a weekend looking for some light hiking. Weather was not cooperating so we found a quick 3 mile hike called the Fiery Gizzard. Legend has it that it got it's name because Davey Crockett burned his mouth on a Gizzard at a camp there. I know that because I searched this trail on the internet looking for other survivors and wondered if there was perhaps a medal, or at least a badge or decorative headband you have to sign up for or whatever. Listen. Listen as hard as you can. There's a sign that takes you back out the way you came if you want the 3 mile hike. If you don't want that, if you want 6 hours of Navy seal training, you blow right past that sign and just keep on following the white rectangles. This is what my wife and I did. I'm what the hiking community would refer to as a beginner. My wife is I guess, more of an experienced novice. Now... The first mile and a half in the Gundy Forrest are a cakewalk, and gorgeous. Then you walk down these rock steps that pass by some house sized boulders. Then all hell breaks loose. Think of the most rocks you've ever seen. Not gravel, not pebbles, rocks. Rocks the size of tires. Now multiply that number by itself and break both your ankles and one elbow. These rocks look fine. They look safe and fine. They are slicker than a greased ice cube. But it's fine because there's only about 3 miles of them. Then there is some mud on a 30 degree pitch next to a switchback cliff that is easily 50 feet down. Did I mention we were carrying a puppy? We were carrying a puppy. I mean if you want to up the challenge, by all means, carry a puppy, or perhaps a Bengal tiger. Same thing. Anyway, this mud is not like regular mud. It has some alien ability to suddenly accelerate both your feet in opposing directions at dangerous speeds from a complete standstill. It's like sudden and also for some reason completely unplanned splits when you haven't stretched your hamstrings in 25 years. Which leads to a condition that I believe should be called the "fiery Gizzard." This goes on for a while and then you're rewarded with what looks like a prehistoric fern patch that I'll refer to as God's Blind Spot. Anything can happen in here. At this point my wife is looking to call the park ranger, the police, her 6th grade math teacher, anyone. But there's no cell service, and we havent seen another hiker for hours. The trail markers are hard to follow. Sometimes you have to look straight up and levitate to get to the next one. I didn't know how to do that. So I just slammed my ankles and elbows into every manner of hard object until I pinballed myself to the next area. You can pretty much reread this for the next section because it's more of everything I've listed. At this point we've been at it for 3 hours. We now know this isn't a 3 mile hike and we've gotten off trail. Worried to continue to the next hellscape, we do the unthinkable. We turn around. We turned around at what I now know was about 10 miles in because there was some horrible gorge that we were supposed to climb. So we walked all the way back out from that point. So if anyone knows where we get our medals or headbands or whatever, I mean shoot me a link? I'm totally rocking that thing.
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