Southern Georgia is relatively flat and has very few public recreation areas but northern Georgia is a different story. It’s pretty mountainous and most of the northern border is designated a National Forest. Plus there are several state parks. My favorite Georgia State Park that I’ve visited so far is Tallulah Gorge. It sits right on the border of South Carolina in the northeast corner of the state.
View of the gorge from above
The park is centered around the Tallulah Gorge canyon which is two miles long and almost 1,000 feet deep. There are several hiking trails that follow the rim of the gorge and take you down to the base. There’s also a suspension bridge that spans the entire gorge. If you’re feeling extra-adventurous you can get a free permit from the Visitor’s Center to hike the gorge floor. They only give out 100 permits per day so you have to get there early.
Me on the suspension bridge
In addition to hiking there’s a very nice interpretive center you can check out. Or you can hang out at the picnic/beach area, fish in the lake, or take a ride on the bicycle trail. On certain days of the year you can even go whitewater kayaking. If you want to stay in the park for a night or two to take advantage of all these activities, you have a few options available. There’s a campground with 50 sites for tents, RV’s, and trailers. There’s one group campsite and 3 backcountry adirondack shelters.
Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center
We didn’t have time to camp during my visit but we sure did a lot of hiking. We ended up doing the North Rim Trail and the South Rim Trail, which take you all the way around the gorge. There were some great photo opportunities and amazing overhead views. We also crossed over the suspension bridge and climbed down the 1,062 stairs to the base of the gorge. They had a sign posted warning people with any physical limitations from attempting the journey. I always love a good challenge!
Going down all the stairs was tiring and seemed endless. There were several benches along the way for people to stop for short breaks. I have to admit –I did take advantage of some of them. If you make it down there, though, you’ll be rewarded with the beautiful Hurricane Falls. It’s a good place to catch your breathe and relax a little. If you got a permit to hike the gorge floor, this is where you’ll start.
Now, after walking down 1,000+ stairs, we had to go back up. At first it was pretty easy but then it started to burn. Like everyone else on the trail, we had to take quite a few breaks. Lots of people were panting, sweating profusely, and getting very red in the face. It took a lot of effort, but we made it back up to the top. We actually walked down on one side of the gorge and then back up on the other side. It was pretty cool to be able to look out over the enormous gap in the earth and see the trail we hiked on the way down, from the opposite side.
Although tiring, I had a lot of fun hiking here and I’m glad we stopped in to check it out. If you live in the south it’s definitely worth a visit. You just never know what kind of awesome places are out there and I love discovering them!