Located in Tallulah Falls, Georgia, Tallulah Gorge State Park is home to one of the most gorge-ous canyons in the eastern United States! Just under 2 hours from Atlanta, this is a must-see Georgia State Park.
I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the history of Tallulah Gorge State Park, what there is to do in the park, and more important tips for visiting.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park is named for the 2 mile long, 1,000 foot deep canyon that carves its way through the park. The major attractions of this 2,739 acre state park are the six waterfalls known as the Tallulah Falls.
The state park wasn’t established un 1993, but the gorge itself has been popular since the 1800s and is considered North Georgia‘s first tourist attraction.
In 1882, Tallulah Falls Railroad was built to service all the tourists from Atlanta and South Georgia. In 1883, tightrope walker Professor Bachman crossed the gorge as part of a publicity stunt for a hotel. And in 1970, Karl Wallenda became the second person to tightrope walk across the gorge.
When the dam was being created, Helen Dortch Longstreet, widow of a Confederate general, led an unsuccessful campaign to have Tallulah Gorge protected by the state, becoming one of the first conservation movements in Georgia. Tourism declined after the creation of the dam, but the state park still draws plenty of visitors to marvel at its natural wonder.
You can explore the state park’s history through the exhibits at the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center.
Located in Tallulah Falls, Tallulah Gorge State Park is about 97 miles from Atlanta and only about a 1 hour and 40 minute drive.
Dogs and pets are allowed at all Georgia State Parks as long as they’re leashed.
Parking at Tallulah Gorge State Park costs $5. The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to dark. The park’s office is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tallulah Gorge was formed by the Tallulah River cutting through the Tallulah Dome rock formation; this left at 2-mile long, 1,000-foot deep canyon that is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.
The river creates a series of six waterfalls, known as Tallulah Falls, throughout the gorge: l’Eau d’Or, Tempesta, Hurricane, Oceana, Bridal Veil, and Lovers Leap. Above the falls is the 63 acre Tallulah Falls Lake. This lake was created in 1913 by a hydroelectric dam that was used to run Atlanta’s streetcar.
Tallulah Gorge State Park Facilities
If you’re looking to stay overnight at the park, they have 50 tent, trailer, and RV campsites; 3 backcountry Adirondack shelters, and 1 pioneer campground.
If you just want to picnic for the day, they offer 1 picnic shelter.
There’s plenty of space for play at the park’s 2 playgrounds and sand beach.
You can also visit a gift shop at the visitor center.
Tallulah Gorge State Park Hikes
Tallulah Gorge State Park boasts 20 miles of hiking trails that include overlooks, suspension bridges, and more.
- The 2 mile Hurricane Falls Loop Trail takes you on a total of 1,099 stairs and is considered strenuous. You’ll cross a suspension bridge and make it to the base of the Hurricane Falls waterfall before climbing up to the opposite rim.
- The 2.5 mile round trip Gorge Floor Trail requires a permit to access and proper footwear. This trail branches off of the Hurricane Falls Trail and explores the gorge floor to Bridal Veil Falls.
- The 3 mile round trip North & South Rim Trails explores the rim of the gorge and offers overlooks to the may waterfalls and outcops.
- The 4 mile round trip Shortline Trail is a paved trail that follows part of an old railroad bed.
- The 3 mile round trip High Bluff Trail requires a permit and is also used for mountain biking. During hunting season, hikers on this trail should wear brightly colored clothing.
- The 10 mile round trip Stoneplace Trail requires a permit and is also used for mountain biking. During hunting season, hikers on this trail should wear brightly colored clothing. The trail explores an old road bed.
More Things To Do at Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park is a hot spot for adventure travelers.
Swimming is encouraged at Bridal Veil Falls. Kayakers have access to the river below Hurricane Falls. And whitewater boating and aesthetic water releases typically happen on select weekend in the spring and summer.
When Peregrine Falcons aren’t nesting, visitors can rock climb in designated areas and join the Canyon Climbers Club. Until then, bring your binoculars and watch for the birds.
There is also archery, biking, fishing, geocaching, tennis, and educational and interpretive programs to take part in.
Important Things to Know Before You Go:
- Gorge Floor Permits are required to access the gorge floor: These are free permits that can be obtained at the Interpretive Center. Visitors must wear proper footwear. Permits are not issued after 4 p.m. (or 3 p.m. during daylight savings time).
- Permits are limited to 100 per day: This means that on busy days, permits can run out early in the morning.
- Animals are not allowed on the gorge floor: Furry friends are not allowed on the gorge floor or on any trail accessing the gorge, but leashed pets are welcome on the rim trails.
- Weather, dam release, and water flow conditions can restrict gorge floor access: Always check for these things before you go.
Hotels Near Tallulah Gorge State Park
Find the perfect place to rest your head on your visit to Tallulah Gorge State Park, from the top rated accommodations to unique stays you can’t get anywhere else. Here are the hotels that are closest to the park:
- Lake Rabun Hotel & Restaurant — 3.2 miles away
- Glen-Ella Sprigs Inn — 3.9 miles away
- The Cascades Inn — 5.3 miles away
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations Apple Mountain Resort — 8.2 miles away
Tallulah Gorge State Park FAQ
You don’t have to go on a full hike to see Tallulah Gorge. You can easily access some Scenic Overlooks on the North Rim Trail just behind the Interpretive Center.
It’s about a 0.25 mile hike to the suspension bridge across Tallulah Gorge along the 2-mile-long Hurricane Falls Loop Trail.
Parking at Tallulah Gorge State Park costs $5.
Swimming is allowed at Bridal Veil Falls, which you will access via the Sliding Rock Trial. You will need a permit to hike this trail.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park is an epic Georgia State Park that shouldn’t be missed!
With 20 miles of hiking trails, breathtaking waterfalls, and endless outdoor activities, there is so much to explore in this natural wonder. From the history of the state park to the sheer beauty of the gorge, Tallulah Gorge is a must-see destination for any Georgia explorer.
Whether you’re looking to explore the six waterfalls of the canyon, take part in the adventure activities, or spend a night at one of the parks many campsites, you’re sure to find something to love in Tallulah Gorge State Park.
Things to Do Near Tallulah Gorge State Park
After your day exploring the gorge and waterfalls, check out these cool things to do near Tallulah Falls State Park.
Ready to visit Tallulah Falls, Georgia? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find accommodation: You can find top hotels in Tallulah Falls using Hotels.com.
- Get packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.
Have you visited Tallulah Gorge State Park? Let me know in the comments!