Friday, June 12, 2015

SOMEthing to talk about -- Tallulah Gorge State Park

So, that’s what happens when I open Live Writer to start a blog post and walk out of the room . . . I come back to “I posted a blog!”

Contrary to his opinion, we had quite an adventurous day on Wednesday.  Directly north of us on St. Rt. 15 about 35 miles was Tallulah Gorge State Park.  We packed a lunch and waited for the fog to clear in the morning, and set out around 11:00, arriving shortly before noon.

Tallulah Gorge State Park

From the Georgia State Park website:

“One of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S., Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Visitors can hike rim trails to several overlooks, or they can obtain a permit to hike to the gorge floor (100 per day, not available during water releases). A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing spectacular views of the river and waterfalls.  Tightrope walkers have twice crossed the gorge, and visitors can still see towers used by Karl Wallenda.”

We stopped in the Interpretive Center first,

Interpretive Center

looked at the displays,

Interpretive Center Displays











and Bryce & I talked to the volunteer about the hikes while Tom finished up a conversation with the diesel mechanic who’s rebuilding our engine (all parts are in and he’s getting ready to start re-assembling it!).

Tallulah Gorge Trail Map

Permits are required to hike to the gorge floor, and they were all given out for the day already (darn! Smile ), but we still had two options for the day – we could take the North Rim Trail from the Interpretive Center (stopping at Overlooks 2,3,4, and 5), cross the dam and pick up the South Rim Trail to overlooks 6,7,8,9, and 10.  From the end of the South Rim Trail, option 1 would be to turn around and go back the same way, or option 2 would be to hike down 347 steps to the Swinging Bridge, and then up 310 steps to the North Rim Trail at overlook 2.

I was leaning toward option 1, but we’d see how it went . . .

Trail from the Interpretive Center


We met Tom at the car, transferred our lunch and water bottles to the backpack, and set out for the North Rim Trail.

Starting on the North Rim Trail

This first part of the trail is really comfortable to walk on – it’s made from recycled rubber mulch!     DSC_0006






This part of the trail is wide-open and easy

Overlook 3We arrived at Overlook 3 first, where we had a pretty good view of L’Eau d’Or Falls and Hawthorne Pool below the falls.





LaDore Falls


First glimpse of LaDore Falls (Overlook 3)

We back-tracked a little to Overlook 2, where we had a better view of the falls – L’Eau d”Or and Tempesta Falls.

Tempesta Falls


Overlook 2

Cascading Waterfalls

Across the Gorge, we could see a picnic shelter on the South Rim Trail – that looks like it’ll make a nice lunch stop.

Shelter on the South Rim

From Overlook 2, lots of people head down the stairs to the suspension bridge over the river – but we weren’t sure if we were doing that yet!

We continued along the North Rim Trail,

Continuing on the shady trail

past Overlook 4 (where we couldn’t see much of anything) and some really fragrant flowers,

Fragrant Flowers


to Overlook 5 – Tallulah Falls Dam.

Overlook 5


Tallulah Falls Dam

There were lots of warning signs along the trail,

Lots of warning signs

but maybe they need one stating that motorcycles aren’t allowed on the trail!  This guy came down the trail that connects the campground to the North Rim Trail!

Not sure motorcycles are allowed on the trail!










At this point, we had reached the end of the North Rim Trail, and had to walk over the dam to the South Rim Trail.  From the top of the dam, we could see into the Gorge,

View of the Gorge, from the top of the Dam


but we had to be careful not to get dirt in our eyes when trucks passed by on the highway!

Don't tip over, Bryce!

Our first stop on the South Rim Trail was the picnic shelter where we enjoyed our lunch while admiring the view of the gorge.  You can see the suspension bridge over the river in this view.

I wonder if they can see him from across the gorge?

Looking into the Gorge at Overlook 6

The South Rim Trail seems to be a little more developed, with structures,

Pergola on the trail


Mural of the Gorge

and benches.

Taking a break

Moving along, we reached Overlook 7,

Overlook 7

where we could see Hawthorne Pool flowing into Tempesta Falls.

Tempesta Falls

Tempesta Falls with fragrant flowers in the foreground

Overlooks 8, 9, and 10 are at the end of the trail, behind a stone wall at the edge of the gorge.

Overlook 9

From here, we could see the Interpretive Center,

Interpretive Center, from across the Gorge

Hurricane Falls,

Hurricane Falls

Interpretive Center and Devil's Pulpit


Overlook 8



and Overlook 1 on the North Rim Trail.

View of Overlook 1

Another view of Hurricane Falls.

Hurricane Falls

So, we had reached the end of the South Rim Trail – I thought we would turn around and go back the same way, but Tom didn’t want to.  We talked to several people who had just made the climb up the 347 steps on this side, and they survived . . .

So we decided to continue on!  More warning signs!

So I guess we're going down to the bridge!

These steps were pretty steep!

347 Steep steps!

We made it, and we could see where the water flowed over Hurricane Falls,

Above Hurricane Falls

and continued on after the falls.

Below Hurricane Falls

There was an additional 221 steps down to a platform at the bottom of Hurricane Falls, and Bryce did that one by himself!  221 down, and 221 back up – less than 10 minutes!!

Bryce going down the extra 221 steps to the Hurricane Falls platform!

Tom and I waited at the Suspension Bridge for him to return,

Hurricane Falls Bridge

It's a long bridge!

Crossing the bridge


then we all went across the bridge . . . there was quite a bit of sway and flex in that bridge!

Especially with Bryce jumping!!









On the other side, we rested some more before our big climb up 310 stairs . . . steep stairs!

Time to go back up -- 310 steps!!


I must say, it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be!  We took about 10 minutes to get down the 347 steps, and just under 30 minutes to climb the 310 steps!

Still climbing!

It helped that each landing was numbered, so we could see our progress as we climbed!  Back at the top, we made our way back along the trail to the parking lot and headed back to Commerce.

After an early dinner at Five Guys (Bryce’s choice), we relaxed in the pool back at the RV Park – a great way to end the day!


  1. We were at Tallulah Gorge last summer...very beautiful:o)) Way to go on the STEPS...we didn't have time when we were there!!

  2. Love the motorcycle guy..."if there isn't a sign..."

  3. We went there one day for a short visit when they had a water release. It wasn't as spectacular as we had expected but there was definitely more water flowing through the canyon. Its a lovely place. You are in our neck of the woods.

  4. I think they will need to install oxygen bottles at the landings for me to give that hike a try!

  5. I'd say that was quite a bit more than doing nothing. Of course if you'd have turned Bryce loose by himself he would have ran the entire thing in a couple of hours. Oh to be young again. Beautiful scenery!
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  6. What beauty! I wish we would have started out a long time ago. The body would never make that hike.


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