Tallulah Gorge State Park is located pretty much in the northeast corner of the state of Georgia. The park centers around the Tallulah Gorge around the – guess what- Tallulah River (which starts in North Carolina and eventually makes its way to the Savannah River and the Atlantic Ocean). The river has a series of waterfalls in that part of the river which are collectively called -wait for it- Tallulah Falls! It is supposed to be the most scenic canyon on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. with a depth of about 1,000 ft.
I visited the canyon around mid-October, in an unusually warm October so the leaves had not begun to change yet for real. Driving to the park from Atlanta takes about 1.5 hrs, slightly less if you live or are staying at in the northern suburbs of the metro Atlanta.
The park has an Interpretive Center with information and exhibits for the young and the not-so-young about the history of the former resort town, local wildlife, and other topics. The staff at the center is quite helpful and knowledgeable about the park and its vicinity.
Going for an easy hike
For the non-hiker or those whose interest in seeing some of the waterfalls but not climb steep staircases, the park has natural paths along the north and south rims of the gorge that are pretty easy to walk through. These paths offer various vantage points, or overlooks, from which to soak in the view. Walking along the north rim you can see the tower that held the tightrope Karl Wallenda used when he crossed the gorge in 1970!
The north/south rim hike is about 3 miles long round-trip and, depending on the pace, should be doable in a couple of hours. From the first overlook, closest to the start of the trail at the Interpretive Center, there is a great view of the L’Eau d’Or (Ladore) waterfalls where yours truly had his pic taken!
Going for a deeper hike
For those wanting to get closer to the waterfalls, the river and the bottom of the gorge… there are stairs!! Over 1,000 steps!
From the first overlook where my picture was taken, you can proceed to the Devil’s Pulpit where you get a great face on view of L’Eau d’Or.
From this point the large staircase takes the hiker to the suspension bridge that connects the south and north rims of the gorge.
Once on the south rim, one can access the bottom of the gorge. On some days, it is allowed to go further at the bottom of the gorge but only the first 100 people get the pass that is required. However, because of the water release schedule for the upriver dam, the bottom of the gorge is not always open – and it was not when I went. I lamented that because I would have loved to jump into the pool!!
Once you reach the bottom, you can take a look at Hurricane Falls and dream of sliding down those rocks!
Read about these other great hikes in Georgia:
… and more to come!