Northern Georgia Adventures: Tallulah Gorge

Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, Tallulah Gorge State Park is a wonderland for adventurers. Carved by the roaring Tallulah River, The Tallulah Gorge is one of the most dramatic canyons in the United States…Nicknamed ‘The Niagara of Georgia,’ Tallulah Gorge is two miles and 1000 feet deep. The drama of chiseled canyon walls literally takes your breath away as a series of six falls topple over 500 feet over one mile.

We first visited Tallulah Gorge on American Nomad in 2020 – and I fell in love. Tallulah Gorge is a MUST-VISIT that could rival a National Park for its history, scenery and unique geology.

I recommend starting your tour at the Jane Hurt Yam Interpretative Center. This amazing center provides interactive exhibits from the unique flora and fauna in the gorge; human history from Cherokee to modern era.

Tallulah is a Cherokee word in origin, but there is dispute about the exact meaning of the word. It certainly evokes majesty and mystery.

Tallulah Falls became a popular tourist destination in the Victorian era, when tourists came from across the US via train to experience the wonder of ‘The Niagara of Georgia.’ The state park was established in the 1990s and continues to be one of the most popular destinations in Georgia. Click here for more history.

Seeing the falls:

Tallulah Gorge has six waterfalls that tumble thunderously down the gorge in quick succession. The waterfalls can be accessed via a series of hiking trails and overlooks.

The trails leading to various lookouts range from easy to strenuous. Make sure to stay hydrated if you are tackling one of the intermediate to strenuous trails to avoid dehydration.

If you are willing for a challenge hike with heavenly views – I recommend the 2-mile Hurricane Falls Loop. Be warned – this hike is not for the faint of heart, you have to scale 1099 steps (going down is easy, going back up makes your lungs gasp and heart pound). The reward is you see AMAZING views of Tallulah’s majesty including Hurricane Falls.

  • This trail also passes through an eighty foot Suspension Bridge that sways above the rocky depths of the gorge below

In the summer months, Sliding Rock is a popular trail to a natural ‘slide.’

If climbing 1099 steps is too much on your knees – fear not! An accessible hike near the visitor center will allow you to see dramatic views within a few hundred feet.

Maps of the trails and access points are available at the Interpretative Center.

Water recreation:

In the summer months enjoy a swim in Tallulah Lake – a 62 acre dammed lake that offers a sand beach and tons of fun for the family.

Where to stay:

Tallulah Gorge and the surrounding communities offer tons of options for accommodations from state park campgrounds, to nearby rustic cabins to top-flight luxury resorts. Click here for options. On a personal note, I highly recommend The Lake Rabun Hotel and Restaurant.

Also in the area:

I was on a finite timeline this trip, but in 2020 we paired our Tallulah Falls adventure with a visit to nearby Black Mountain State Park.

Black Mountain State Park offers spectacular views of the highlands of Georgia. Black Mountain is the highest elevation state park in Georgia.

Adjacent to Black Mountain, be sure to tour Foxfire – a living history museum with over twenty history log cabins telling stories of Appalachian life.

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