“Super easy hike to the falls which are pretty awesome!” – Sharon Lester, All Trails Reviewer of Foster Falls/Climbers Loop
Well, Sharon and I agree on one thing: The waterfall is awesome. This trail is not easy.
Foster Falls is in South Cumberland State Park. To get there, you can either drive to the Fiery Gizzard trailhead or hike the 12.5 mild Fiery Gizzard Trail from Grundy Forest. You can take the two-mile loop or just hike to the falls and back out, the way we did.
I hit up this trail Memorial Day weekend on the Annual Camping Trip of Horrors. At the time, this was the most strenuous trail I had done post lung-damage. Even at full lung capacity, this trail would have been difficult. Still, I’d totally do it again.
To get to the falls, we hiked down a steep gorge. The trail snakes its way over large rocks and around trees. It’s not difficult to find or follow, but it can be difficult to navigate. You need to be coordinated. Clutzes like me need not apply.
Once you get to the bottom, there’s a swinging bridge that spans a creek. Just getting down the trail created some muscle burn for me, so I knew getting back up would be difficult.
We stopped at the falls and played around the water for a while, enjoying watching a black lab play the best fetch game of his life.
And then we began the ascent.
Picking my way down piles of rocks wasn’t too bad. Climbing back up over them was rather difficult. Along the way another hiker was complaining about handicapped parking at the trailhead. I guess she didn’t think people with handicapped placards liked to hike? She looked at me and stopped talking. But hey, I get it. You don’t see someone on oxygen on a hiking trail everyday.