Exploring North Georgia: Tallulah Gorge State Park
Are you looking for a beautiful place to explore in North Georgia? If so, look no further than Tallulah Gorge State Park.
To be honest I didn’t know the name of the park was Tallulah Gorge State Park. You see, I’d heard everyone reference the spot we were visiting as Tallulah Falls (if you watch the video below you’ll hear me refer to it as such). That name isn’t too far off considering the town where the state park is located is Tallulah Falls, however, there isn’t even a waterfall with the same name. Regardless of the name, one thing is for sure, it’s well worth the visit.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
After a week of what felt like non-stop rain, the sun made a brief appearance and we jumped at the chance to get outside. At this point, we didn’t care if it rained, we just wanted to experience the fresh mountain air.
Luckily it didn’t rain, but it was overcast for the majority of the day. Though I’ve got to say even if it had rained the beauty of Tallulah Gorge State Park would’ve still shown through.
While we typically like to research places before we visit, lately we’ve been just sporadically heading out and seeing what happens. We had no clue what to expect when we got there except everyone warned us our calves would be burning afterward. They were right.
Check out the video, Exploring North Georgia: Tallulah Gorge State Park:
As you make your way out of the visitor’s center you’ll run into a trail almost immediately. That trail will lead you to spectacular views before you go down a single stair. So if stairs aren’t your thing you’ll still be able to see nature at its finest.
This particular spot of the gorge is only 350′, though it certainly feels a lot deeper than that.
There are multiple trails that allow you to look down to the gorge and its various waterfalls, but they also have a gorge bottom trail. The trails that allow you to look down on the gorge are a bit easier whereas the gorge bottom trail is strenuous.
The gorge bottom trail is the route Katie and I chose to take or at least thought we would take. This particular trail is an extremely strenuous hike and requires boulder jumping and riverbank walking. In order to access the gorge bottom trail, you have to get a permit from the rangers at the visitor’s center. They give out 100 permits a day and stop handing them out at 3 pm. We were told most people come early and spend the entire day doing the trail. We showed up just a couple minutes before 3 but as we made our way down to the gorge trail we found ourselves in awe at the beauty surrounding us. The swaying of the suspension bridge accompanied by the rushing flow of the water below transported us to another world.
In order to get to the gorge bottom trail, you have to take stairs down. LOTS of stairs down, which also means LOTS of stairs up. Before you begin the descent they have posted signage that lets you know the stairs themselves can be daunting (especially on the way up), and that those with health issues shouldn’t take it. So keep that in mind if you intend to at least go down to the suspension bridge. If you’re up for it then you’ll get in a decent workout and enjoy amazing views along the way.
We realized we weren’t really prepared as we made it to the gorge bottom trail entrance. The first set of boulders needing to be crossed had quite a few larger jumps, but I didn’t get too concerned until I was almost fully across. At that point, we noticed a few people would make the jump and then have the person behind them toss their bags over.
After attempting to make it across the first set of boulders I realized we had way too much camera equipment. The backpack I was wearing messed with my balance enough that I thought I might accidentally go swimming and with our gear, in there it would’ve been bad. That’s not to mention we got our permits right at the deadline and took our time getting to the river because we were enjoying the scenery on the way down to the Gorge floor. I think it was around 4 and we heard the trail was a 4-hour hike but didn’t know if that would take into account our attempt to document and photograph it.
Ultimately we decided not to hike the gorge bottom trail. It was a disappointing decision (yeah we feel kinda lame about it) but ultimately the right one in our situation. If we end up back this way we’d love to come back and this time with slightly less crap.
We hadn’t anticipated taking this trail before we came, otherwise we would have been more prepared and left a lot earlier, but I can say wholeheartedly that stair trail and views were well worth the trip.
If you find yourself in the North Georgia Mountains we’d recommend you swing by Tallulah Gorge State Park and see what it has to offer.
Side Note: At the end of the trail you’ll reach Sliding Rock, which is a spot that sends flowing water into a pool where you’re able to swim and cool off. It’s the only place in the park where they allow you to swim, so if you make it that far you’ll have to let us know how it is. I’m sure it’s a pretty popular place during the summer.
Are you planning a trip to Tallulah Gorge State Park? Or have you hiked the Gorge Bottom Trail? If so we’d love to hear about your experience, maybe fill us in on what we missed.