I was swallowed hours ago by a densely forested ravine carved into the Cumberland Plateau, which drowns out even the memory of city noise as it surrounds me with golden hickory and vibrant orange maple. Now, I’m navigating a boulder field previous the waterfalls of Massive Fiery Gizzard Creek as they tumble by way of the old development hemlocks. I’ll discover right here all morning ahead of climbing a handful of hundred feet back onto the plateau, exactly where I’ll gawk at the gorge twisting in vibrant ribbons of green, red and golden leaves south of right here. Tonight’s camp on the plateau promises yipping coyotes and a star-kissed sky tomorrow I’ll soak my feet beneath 60-foot Foster Falls. I can not assume of a much better way to devote my weekend.
Turn-by-turn from the Fiery Gizzard Trailhead
1. Take the Fiery Gizzard Trail (FGT) east .six mile to silken Hanes Holes Falls, a low but wide cascade that is the initial of 5 waterfalls on the trail. Descend 500 feet and navigate scree peppered along Massive Fiery Gizzard Creek.
two. At mile 1.two, turn left on the Dog Hole Trail for the .two-mile climb onto the plateau.
three. keep on the Dog Hole Trail for two.five miles, following the edge of the plateau. At the subsequent trail junction take a .five-mile spur trail appropriate to Raven Point, a rocky prominence overlooking a single of the deep, forested valleys cutting into the plateau, then return to the junction and continue straight. Dip down to a bridge spanning McAlloyd Branch ahead of returning to the plateau best.
three. At mile 9.four swiftly descend 200 feet into the Laurel Branch Gorge. Climb to the Laurel Gorge Overlook (mile 10.five), on your appropriate, for views across forested plateaus banded with sporadic sheer cliffs and lengthy streamers of cloud. Stroll one more .two mile to attain the Smaller Wilds Campsite.
four. Day two, hike 1.7 miles to the initial view of Foster Falls, plunging 60 feet from the lip of an overhanging cliff. Cross the bridge more than Tiny Gizzard Creek (mile 12.7) ahead of ending at the Foster Falls parking region.
Campsite: Small Wilds Campground
There’s practically nothing smaller about the view from Smaller Wilds Overlook, perched on the edge of a rugged ravine reduce into the Cumberland Plateau at mile 10.7 Views variety from the rocky slope just across the valley to a lengthy, winding gorge washed in fall’s red and gold. The six nearby campsites hardly ever fill up ahead of late afternoon no matter the season, but in fall solitude is practically assured. Wake up early to catch dawn rays bouncing off the fog that generally lifts from the valley beneath.
Whilst the nearby Smokies get most of the consideration, the Cumberland Plateau has an understated appeal all its personal. The plateau rises 1,000 feet above the surrounding landscape, stretching from Alabama to New York, as the outcome of a slow geologic uplift that started 285 million years ago. Inside its dense forests lie waterfalls, Class five rivers, and the abundant coal layers that fueled the area’s mining.
Higher-good quality sandstone with lots of cracks and jugs abound close to Foster Falls—there are a lot more than 100 sport routes ranging from five.9-five.13. The south-facing walls allow winter climbing when routes out west are iced up. Verify out Climbing’s Chattanooga Location Guide for beta.
DO IT Trailhead: 35.251804, -85.747537 Season: Year-round foliage peaks in late-October/early-November Gear Up: Rock/Creek in Chattanooga Permit: Reservations essential for backcountry camping ($13).