Foster Falls

South Cumberland State Park, Tennessee, USA

About Foster Falls

Hiking Distance: 0.8 mile round trip
Suggested Time: 45-60 minutes

Date first visited: 2012-10-27
Date last visited: 2012-10-27

Waterfall Latitude: 35.18209
Waterfall Longitude: -85.6761

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Foster Falls was the last waterfall we saw on our Appalachians 2012 trip, and it was a fine way to cap it off!

Even though the Foster Falls Wild Area is better known to climbers looking for a thrill and a challenge, we didn’t have to do any technical climbing to experience this pretty 60ft plunging falls. In fact, there was an overlook that was only a few paces from the car park where we were able to get the view you see at the top of this page.

There was a steep hiking path that went down a combination of stairs and uneven rock-protruding trail leading towards a swinging bridge at the mouth of the large plunge pool of the falls before arriving at the shore of the plunge pool itself. On the opposite end of this plunge pool was the waterfall.

I noticed that there was the possibility of scrambling further to the left to get more angled views of the falls. The only catch here was that there were fallen rocks reminding me of the everpresent danger of chunks of the cliff falling at any moment. But the reward for this was a view of surprise second waterfall (though it wasn’t flowing too well during my visit) seen next to Foster Falls itself.

The skies were overcast and threatening rain during our visit, but it created great photo ops given the even lighting without the sun. We also heard a few loud booms, and we guessed there must be some hunting going on within earshot of this area.

It only took me an hour to see the falls from the overlook, hike to the base and take more photos, then return to the car. I’m aware there were longer trails such as the Fiery Gizzard Trail that may include other ways of experiencing the falls (don’t know for sure), but as you can see from this page, the way we experienced it was perhaps the best bang for your buck (figuratively speaking though time would be the currency here).


The Foster Falls Wild Area is off the US41 between Tracy City and Jasper. Since we came up from Chattanooga, we’ll describe the directions from there (though I’m sure there are many ways of getting here).

From the I-75/I-24 interchange in Chattanooga, we drove about 30 miles west on the I-24 past Nickajack Lake towards the Hwy 28 exit near Jasper. We then drove north on Hwy 28 for 1.6 miles before turning left onto US41. We then followed the US41 west into the town of Jasper before signs told us where to continue on the US41 going north. After about 9 miles or so on the US41, we saw the signposted turnoff for the Foster Falls Wild Area to our left. The large car park was at the end of this spur road.

For additional context, Chattanooga, TN was 112 miles (under 2 hours drive) southwest from Knoxville, TN, 135 miles (about 2 hours drive) southeast from Nashville, TN, and 118 miles (2 hours drive) north from Atlanta.

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View from the overlook platform then zooming in on the falls, but there was a loud boom in the background (which we suspect might be from a hunting firearm).

Panning along the edge of the alcove above me before ending at an angled view of Foster Falls

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Tagged with: south cumberland, state park, marion county, tennessee, chattanooga, waterfall, wild area, fiery gizzard

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