Tallulah Gorge in North Georgia is a spectacular natural wonder, and I’m ashamed to admit that it took me 4 years of living in Georgia before I finally paid it a visit. Formed by the Tallulah river cutting into the rock, the gorge is now nearly 1,000 feet deep and 2 miles long.
For those looking for an active, cost-effective weekend escape in the south, visiting Tallulah Gorge State Park is a great choice.
Hiking at Tallulah Gorge State Park
The most popular activity at Tallulah Gorge State Park is hiking. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic who runs ultra-marathons or a couch potato who prefer TV marathons, you won’t have any trouble finding a trail that fits your needs.
Hurricane Falls Trail
Distance: 2.25 miles (and a LOT of elevation)
Hurricane Falls is one of the most popular trails at Tallulah Gorge, but it’s definitely not for the exercise-averse. Though not a long hike, it packs a hefty punch. You will descend a thigh-throbbing number of stairs to reach the suspension bridge, which spans the Tallulah River. From there, you can descend even more stairs to reach the base of the Hurricane Falls waterfall.
Of course, what goes down must come back up. After admiring the falls, you’ll have to psych yourself up to climb all those stairs back to the top.
And you thought CrossFit was hard.
Though challenging, we highly recommend tackling this trail. Not only is the scenery stunning, but you can also justify eating basically anything you want for weeks afterwards. Four s’mores? Yes, please!
North Rim + South Rim Trails
Distance: 2.5 miles
Unlike the Hurricane Falls Trail, the North Rim and South Rim Trails are flatter and mercifully stair free. For that reason, we found them much more enjoyable.
Both trails will offer several lovely vantage points of the gorge.
Inspiration Loop Trail
Distance: 1.5 miles
For more scenic overlooks, hike the Inspiration Loop Trail. Though there is some elevation increase, we found this trail to be less strenuous than the Hurricane Falls Trail. Be sure to check out the North Wallenda Tower Ruins, an overturned tower that tightrope walker Karl Wallenda used when he crossed a high wire over the gorge in 1970.
Sliding Rock Trail
Distance: 3.4 miles
The Sliding Rock Trail is also a popular choice, and it is the only trail with access to the gorge floor. Its primary draw is the sliding rock, which is basically a natural waterside. How cool is that??
A gorge floor permit is required to hike this trail, and only 100 are given out each day. If you plan to hike Sliding Rock Trail, you will need to be at the Interpretive Center before it opens at 8:00am to collect your permit. We didn’t arrive until 8:20am, and the line was so long I would have thought they were releasing the iPhone 8. Unsurprisingly, we didn’t get permits.
Camping at Tallulah Gorge State Park
Though there are a few hotel options (and basically nothing else) in nearby Tallulah Falls, we chose to camp at the state park. Not only is camping a lot of fun, but it is also cheaper.
We reserved an electric-hookup campsite because one of us was not a fan of hiking in to a pioneer site that doesn’t have access to plumbing or any of the other bedrocks of modern civilization. (I won’t tell you which of us that was, but it wasn’t Sam…).
The campsite we chose was gravel and had a fire ring, picnic table, water pump, and electrical outlet where we could charge our phones. Most importantly, it was only a short walk away from a proper bathroom. Hallelujah.
We found the campground to be on the “more developed” end of the spectrum than others we’ve visited, such as the Jekyll Island Campground where we stayed last summer.
The campsites are quite close together, so there isn’t much privacy. In our opinion, the campground caters more to RVs than tent campers. If you’re looking for a more authentic “camping” experience, I’d recommend choosing a backcountry or pioneer site.
Something we did really enjoy was having access to Tallulah Lake, which is an easy walk from the campsites and has a beach and designated swimming area. Georgia was more or less a blazing inferno when we visited in mid-July, so having a place to cool off was a gift from heaven.
If you head down to the lake, we recommend packing a lunch and eating it at one of the lakefront picnic tables.
We paid $32 per night for our campsite. You can make reservations here.
When to Go
The best time of year to visit Tallulah Gorge depends on your preferences, but we recommend going between March-June or September-November for the best weather.
Where is your favorite place to hike?
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