For hundreds of years, travelers have been braving the rugged terrain of Northeast Georgia to witness the beauty of Tallulah Gorge. One thousand feet deep, and made up of eight stunning waterfalls, the gorge stretches two miles, from the Tallulah Lake Dam to Lake Tugaloo. Tallulah George State Park offers a fifty site campground with accommodations for RV’s and trailers up to 50ft. The campground is near the park’s interpretive center, miles of trails, and recreation opportunities ranging from easy to extreme. Whether you are looking for a quick photo opportunity from one of the many viewpoints along the gorge rim, or want to venture all the way to the bottom and get your feet wet – there’s something for everyone at Tallulah Gorge State Park.
Since 1913, when the Tallulah River Dam was completed, water flows have been controlled and released on a schedule, creating class IV-V river rapids on some days and a stunning bedrock hiking path on others. The main attraction is Hurricane Falls and a breathtaking 200ft suspension bridge leading to a viewing platform. Full access to the gorge floor requires a mixture of planning and good luck as only 100 permits are issued each day, on a first-come-first-serve basis. The gorge is also closed for planned water releases and whenever the forecast hints at rain. But don’t let the uncertainty keep you away. Access all the way to the suspension bridge and the entire Rim Trail are always open and if you show up in the rain, you are likely to be rewarded with larger waterfalls to photograph.
The weather is typical for Georgia and the Carolinas. Rain is scattered throughout the year and temperatures are generally in the 50s-70s, except for mid-summer and mid-winter. It gets very muggy in the summer. Luckily a swimming area right next to the campground offers relief. Fall is a special treat, with a combination of good weather, lower humidity, and a fantastic display of leaf colors.
RV Rentals in Tallulah Gorge State Park
Transportation in Tallulah Gorge State Park
Big rigs make it up Hwy 441 every day to supply the nearby stores of Clayton and Mountain City (15min north). Though the roads are curvy, there are no significant hills or challenges to getting to the park. There is one hairpin corner in the campground to maneuver around, but even the diesel pushers manage it with tow vehicles. The one and a half mile Shortline trail is paved, making easy walking for strollers and cycles. The Inspiration Loop Trail and North / South Rim Trails are all easy walking on a mulch of recycled tires. The trails inside the gorge are hard-packed earth and bedrock and range from intermediate to very difficult.
Campgrounds and parking in Tallulah Gorge State Park
Campsites in Tallulah Gorge State Park
The Campground offers 48 sites for trailer and RVs. It is open year round and offers bathrooms, showers and firewood sales from the camp host. Some sites are particularly uneven, so levelers and blocks are advised. Spaces are available for up to 14 days and all have power and water. Pull-thru sites exist for larger rigs and class-A motorhomes, but note that these spaces are close together, and may feel a bit cramped if you need to extend multiple slide-outs to settle in. There is no Wi-Fi provided, but the cell coverage is good for most providers. The tree coverage can be thick, so even if you meant to get by on solar, you may need to plug in to keep the batteries charging.
Seasonal activities in Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Lake Swimming
The Terrora Day Use area is a short walk from the campground and provides a clean sandy swim area in Tallulah Lake. The area is roped off but does not have a lifeguard. There are several picnic tables and shady trees for summer days. Swimming is allowed in the Gorge, but requires lining up early for a pass and excellent physical condition for the hike to Bridal Veil Falls.
Hurricane Falls Trail Loop
Accessible from the campground via the Tallulah Gorge Rim Trail. A short hike from the dam, heading northeast, will bring you to the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center and the Day Use Parking Area. From here descend 310 steps to the suspension bridge. Across the gorge, and an additional 220 steps down, the must-see Hurricane Falls viewing platform awaits. Ascend out of the George on the South Rim Trail back toward the dam and campground, making about a two mile loop. Don’t discount the 1000+ steps in and out of the gorge – that’s more stairs than a 40 story building.
Sliding Rock Trail and Swim
Line up early for one of 100 access passes to the Gorge, issued by the visitor center each day. Trek down the long stairs to the Hurricane Falls Bridge and keep going all the way to the bottom. Follow the rocks along the edge of the gorge 1/4 mile to Bridal Vale Falls and enjoy. Good footwear is mandatory. This route is wet, slippery, steep and difficult. No access is allowed beyond the swimming hole.
Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center
The center is worth a visit. An award-winning film is shown, highlighting the historical, cultural, and natural significance of Tallulah Falls George. Learn the history of the area, including the founding of a nearby Victorian Resort and the construction of a major railroad, which used to bring tourists from all over the region. There are restrooms, a gift shop, and a classroom space.
The unique geology of Tallulah Gorge makes it an exciting destination for traditional style rock climbing. Difficult, multi-pitch routes like Digital Delight and Mescaline Daydream will keep you challenged all day. Bring lots of chalk and anchors - the quartzite is exceptionally tough and slippery. Late fall and early spring are ideal, but you’ll have to carefully schedule around water releases. Summer sun hits the climbing routes head-on. The park issues 20 climbing passes a day, but this is rarely a busy spot.
River enthusiasts have been braving the rapids at Tallulah since 1993. It’s 592 stairs down to the put-in spot, so make sure your legs are ready for a workout too. The rapids here require experience, and class IV and V rapids are to be expected. Paddlers will be rewarded with one and a half miles of flat-water across Tugalo Lake on the way to the pull-out. Water releases are in April and November and are well attended. If you plan to camp, make a reservation early.