South Cumberland State Park: Collins Gulf Loop to Suter Falls, Horsepound Falls, Schwoon Spring, and Skinny Falls, Gruetli-Laager, Tennessee
One of three rocky gorges in the Savage Gulf State Natural Area sector of South Cumberland State Park, Collins Gulf features some of the most spectacular, wild scenery on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. The true star of the Collins Gulf hike is Suter Falls, a majestic 40-foot waterfall on Rocky Mountain Creek (a tributary of the Collins River) surrounded by cliffs in an awe-inspiring setting. Beside Suter Falls, the hike features as many as four other waterfalls (two are largely ephemeral). As the Collins Gulf Trail treks through the rugged gorge carved out by the Collins River, it passes a small but powerful block-type waterfall on the river called Horsepound Falls, as well as set of remarkable sinks on Collins River and Fall Creek. The second part of the hike follows the Collins Rim Trail, where the trail provides nice seasonal views into the gorge as it crosses countless tumbling streams before re-entering the gorge and crossing the Collins River on a mighty suspension bridge at a particularly gorgeous boulder-strewn section of the river. This hike occurred on Sunday, February 18th, 2018. My plan was to hike the Collins Gulf Loop clockwise from the 55th Avenue Trailhead.
South Cumberland State Park: Fiery Gizzard Trail (Grundy Forest to Raven Point), Dog Hole Trail, and Grundy Forest Day Loop, Tracy City, Tennessee
South Cumberland State Park is a state park with several tracts scattered throughout the south Cumberland Plateau in Grundy County, Franklin County, and Marion County. Two of these tracts - Grundy Forest State Natural Area and Foster Falls TVA Small Wild Area - serve as the starting and ending point for a dozen-mile long trail that is known as the Fiery Gizzard Trail. The Fiery Gizzard Trail has gained the reputation of being one of the most difficult trails in Tennessee, as it traverses several rocky gorges with rugged terrain. Backpacker Magazine has ranked the Fiery Gizzard Trail in its top 25 hiking trails throughout the US due to the beauty of the gorges encountered on this trail. On this hike, you're going to follow a route that will take you past several waterfalls on Little Fiery Gizzard Creek and Fiery Gizzard Creek before embarking on a very rugged scramble through the gorge. Then, you will ascend out of the gorge to a couple of panoramic vistas of the Fiery Gizzard gorge, before returning to the Grundy Forest Day Loop and seeing more waterfalls on Big Fiery Gizzard Creek. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 12th, 2016. My plan was to first hike the eastern section of Grundy Forest Day Loop. Then, I planned to take the Fiery Gizzard Trail south through the Fiery Gizzard Creek gorge to Raven Point. After visiting Raven Point, I would take the Dog Hole Trail back to the Fiery Gizzard Trail near Grundy Forest Day Loop. I would finish the hike by taking the western half of the Grundy Forest Day Loop.
South Cumberland State Park: Greeter Falls Loop, Greeter Trail, Stone Door Trail to Laurel Falls, and Big Creek Rim/Big Creek Gulf Loop, Beersheba Springs, Tennessee
South Cumberland State Park is one of the most beautiful and diverse areas in Tennessee. The park is not your regular state park. Spread over several counties and in many different land tracts, the state park protects some of the most scenic streams and waterfalls on the Cumberland Plateau. The Savage Gulf State Natural Area, one of the largest sections of South Cumberland State Park, houses nearly a dozen of these waterfalls, and on this hike, you'll get a chance to see five. In addition to the waterfalls, panoramic views abound at the Stone Door Overlook - get to see into the heart of Savage Gulf and hike through a narrow crack in the plateau rim known as the Stone Door. This hike occurred on Saturday, January 17, 2015. My plan was to start my hike at the Greeter Falls Trailhead, and hike the Greeter Falls Loop past Greeter Falls, Upper Greeter Falls, and Boardtree Falls, before taking the Greeter Trail. Following the Greeter Trail, I would take the Big Creek Rim Trail to the panoramic views at the Stone Door. From there, I would take the Stone Door Trail to Laurel Falls and return the same way to the Stone Door. From here, I would take the Big Creek Gulf Trail with a side trip to Ranger Creek Falls, before returning to the Greeter Trail junction and retrace my steps to the trailhead.
South Cumberland State Park: Fiery Gizzard Trail - Foster Falls/Climbers Loop and Laurel Gorge Overlook/Laurel Branch, Tracy City, Tennessee
The Fiery Gizzard Trail is one of the most beautiful and diverse trails in the state of Tennessee. Also, Backpacker Magazine lists it in the top 25 trails in the US. The nature in this part of the South Cumberland Plateau is beautiful. The Fiery Gizzard Trail starts on the southern edge of the city limits of Tracy City, and travels for 12 miles through rugged canyons in the Fiery Gizzard Creek watershed to Foster Falls Day Use Area. Foster Falls, a 60-foot single drop waterfall, makes for an exciting end to the trail. This hike occurred on Saturday, August 2nd, 2014. Starting the hike in the Foster Falls Day Use Area, I first checked out the Foster Falls Overlook. Then, I took the Fiery Gizzard Trail to pass above Foster Falls, and continued all the way to Laurel Gorge Overlook. My original plan was to stop here, but I decided to continue and make the rugged descent into the Laurel Branch Gorge. Then, I retraced my steps all the way back to the Climbers Access 2 to the Climbers Access Trail. This rugged trail descends down to Little Gizzard Creek and crosses just below Foster Falls on a swinging bridge, before ascending to the top of the rim and ending at the parking area.
Mark Oleg Ozboyd
Dear readers: I have invested a tremendous amount of time and effort in this website and the Georgia Waterfalls Database the past five years. All of the work that has gone in keeping these websites updated with my latest trip reports has almost been like a full-time job. This has not allowed me to pick up a paid job to save up money for college, and therefore, I I've had to take out loans. If you find the information on this website interesting, helpful, or time-saving, you can say "thanks" and help me out by clicking the button above and making a contribution. I will be very grateful for any amount of support you give, as all of it will apply toward my college tuition. Thank you!
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