Southeast Trip 2016 – Fiery Gizzard Trail Hike

Next up on our Southeast trip was taking on one of the top-20 hikes in America: the Fiery Gizzard Trail!

Day 5 – Wednesday (cont.)

The Fiery Gizzard Trail runs along the Fiery Gizzard Creek for about 13 miles, from Tracy City to Foster Falls in southeastern Tennessee.  We did not have time to do the entire 13 miles, and we determined that the Tracy City end of the trail was the easiest for us to get to in the car, so we started in the Grundy Forest State Park.

Day 5 – Wednesday (cont.)

Driving through Tracy City seemed like an adventure in itself.  It is a sleepy, rundown town of about 1,000 (none of whom we physically saw) that reminded me of a Criminal Minds episode.  Fortunately, we eventually made it to the park without being abducted by a serial killer, and at the trail head there a few families and couples getting ready to hike as well.

Lucky for us, the other groups were only there to explore the Grundy Day Loop, which is a short (maybe a mile or so) loop trail which, well, you can easily do in a day.  About a half mile into the loop, the real fun begins on the Fiery Gizzard trail.  We did an out and back about 4 miles each way, and in just those 4 miles we encountered all kinds of terrain.  Rocky climbs, creeks, woods, fields, falls – a little bit of everything!  The best thing was that we had the trail all to ourselves.  We only encountered one lone hiker for the four or five hours that we were out there.  And he looked legit, so we knew we had made a good trail choice.

The scenery on this hike was so great, I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves!

small waterfall on Fiery Gizzard creek
Creek scenery early in the hike.
reflection of red trees in the creek during our Fiery Gizzard trail hike
Some fall colors starting to show.
a small waterfall and creek on the Fiery Gizzard trail hike
Another small waterfall on the Fiery Gizzard Creek.
woods with trees changing colors for the fall
After a rocky climb up from the creek, the trail turns up a wooded hill where the autumn colors were more prominent.
a sign warning that the falls are dry and the trail is overrun by hornets
Thank you, previous hiker. We chose not to branch off the trail to see Yellow Pine Falls. Successfully avoided “So pain. Much stings.”
Rachel at Werner Point
We turned around at Werner Point, a beautiful viewpoint overlooking a valley of fall colors!
travel friends looking out over the trees at Werner Point
Travel squad taking in the view at Werner Point.

Next time I am in the area, I will be sure to set aside some more time to either go further down the trail, or perhaps try to start from the other end.  This was a fantastic hike, and exactly the kind of nature break we needed before closing the trip out with a few more days of urban exploring!

Stay tuned for the final leg of Southeast Trip 2016: Nashville!

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