Another place we visited on our weekend getaway a couple of weeks ago was Tallulah Gorge State Park. I grew up in this area, but I never tire of the gorgeous views all over Rabun County, Georgia. Get it? Gorge-ous? Never mind….
Once upon a time, the only way down into the gorge was a real hike over rocks, clinging to trees and sitting on your rear to stop your forward momentum. Now, there are wooden steps and hand rails- many, many steps. Something is lost in the experience, but the views are still amazing.
We walked to the first overlook at L’Eau d’Or Falls. We were fortunate that we visited during a whitewater release from the dam, so the falls were spectacular.
That stone structure with the tunnels is the remains of a water compressor plant used when building the dam in 1910.
We walked down a few more steps for a different angle. Hawthorne Pool is at the base of these falls.
A swinging bridge farther down the trail crosses to the other side of the gorge, but then be prepared for a long hike back up. Fortunately- um, I mean, unfortunately, the trail was blocked so we weren’t able to hike to the base of Hurricane Falls. 1062 steps down. There is a sign telling you that. That means 1062 steps back up.
I don’t think our friends Jerry and Sherry were disappointed in having the hike cut short, either.
You now need a permit to access the gorge floor. No gorge floor permits are issued during water releases, though. Crazy people were putting in their kayaks farther down the river, but we couldn’t get close enough to see them in the water.
One overlook area on the other side of the gorge is accessible by car, along the old Hwy 441. You can get an idea of the 1000-foot depth from here.
If you’d like more information, go to the Tallulah Gorge State Park website. Be sure and check the schedule for water release dates.
Can you see why I love the mountains and long to retire there some day?