Explore Tennessee's Foster Falls
Tennessee is certainly no stranger to beautiful waterfalls. From Abrams Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the lesser known Ozone Falls west of Knoxville, the Volunteer State is home to some of the most picturesque waterfalls found anywhere in the Southeast. One of its most spectacular falls rests just outside of Tracy City along Little Gizzard Creek in the southern reaches of the Cumberland Plateau. Plunging sixty feet over a crescent shaped sandstone ledge into a gorgeous pool of water, South Cumberland State Park's Foster Falls is a magnificent site to see. Maybe best of all, it's super easy to get to.
Trailhead elevation 1,754'
Water At waterfall
Don't miss Swimming behind the falls and viewing the seasonal waterfall from the plunge pool
Hiking to Foster Falls
The low effort, enormous reward Foster Falls Base Trail begins with a brief walk over a boardwalk before reaching an overlook to the falls. The view isn't overwhelming, but you get a glimpse of what's to come.
Here you'll notice the southern trailhead sign for the Fiery Gizzard Trail, one of the best point-to-point hiking trails in the state. Go right and you'll be on the Fiery Gizzard Trail. Instead, go left on the Base Trail. You'll soon enter a hardwood forest and descend roughly 150' along mainly stone stairs before reaching a small wire suspension bridge over Little Gizzard Creek and a decent view of the falls.
From there it's only a few hundred feet or so to the rocky edge of the plunge pool. The area surrounding the water is blanketed in tree roots with tons of great spots to hang a hammock, listen to the roar of the falls, and take in the gorgeous scenery. It's definitely one of those "could sit here for days" type of spots.
If you're up for it, we highly recommend swimming out to get behind the falls. If you do, look right once you get close to the falls and sandstone shelf. After a decent rainfall a second waterfall forms and cascades down from the cliffs above. Regardless of the second waterfall, the swim out to get behind Foster Falls is something everyone should consider. It's definitely a swim you'll never forget.
If a swim isn't in the cards for you, you can still view the second waterfall and get an amazing elevated view of Foster Falls from the Fiery Gizzard Overlook. To get there pick up the Fiery Gizzard Trail back at the Foster Falls Overlook and walk roughly a half mile, crossing over Little Gizzard Creek via footbridge along the way. The second waterfall can be seen in the photo below. When you're done taking in the views simply return the way you came.
There's a ton more to do in the area if you're interested. The Fiery Gizzard Trail is incredibly popular and for good reason. Tons of great views and waterfalls, especially along the northern end of the trail. The hike out to Raven's Point is excellent. The Buggytop Trail to Lost Cove Cave and Shawnee Natural Bridge Trail in the park are also well worth the time. Greeter Falls is thirty minutes north and has a great swimming hole as well as cliff jumping opportunities, Fall Creek Falls, the tallest waterfall in Tennessee at 256' is about an hour north, and Twin Falls, one of the more unique falls in the Southeast, is roughly an hour as well. If you get out to Fall Creek Falls, make sure to hike down to the bottom of the falls. The Caverns, one of the most jaw dropping concert venues in the country, is also about twenty minutes from Foster Falls.
If you're looking to camp in the area you'll find Foster Falls Campground near the parking area and backcountry campsites near the Fiery Gizzard Overlook. Those looking for a cozier retreat look no further than Lakeview Oasis at The Retreat at Water's Edge. Incredible place to post up for a few days, all the amenities you could ever ask for and more, and beautiful views in every direction. We can't recommend the spot enough.