Located about an hour and a half from Atlanta, Tallulah Gorge State Park boasts one of the most remarkable canyons in the eastern US. The gorge is approximately two miles long and 1,000 feet deep with roughly 20 miles of hiking trails. The north and south rim trails, 3 miles round trip (about 5,000 steps on the Fitbit), allows for 10 overlook points while walking along the top of the gorge and access to a suspension bridge and staircase to the very bottom.
This past weekend while in Clarkesville, GA for a wedding, a group of us decided to go on a Saturday morning hike around the gorge before the wedding festivities commenced. I was told that the hike would be less of a hike and more of a walking/sightseeing expedition which sounded great to me! I am always looking for way to get steps on my Fitbit. We piled into two cars and headed towards the gorge.
We decided to do the north and south rim trails since they were fairly relaxed and provided the lookout spots for great views and, of course, photo opps. We started with the south trail which lead us to a tower laying on its side from Karl Wallenda’s tightrope walk across the gorge in 1970. Fun fact: He did two headstands while crossing the gorge! Then we had to turn around to go back to where we started in order to do the north rim trail. This trail takes you to a bridge where you walk on the side of the highway in order to get to the north side of the gorge. The highway part scared me a little because eighteen-wheelers were barreling past us but it was only about 75 yards long.
From the north rim trail we took Hurricane Falls Staircase (approximately 600 stairs) down to the suspension bridge that crosses over the gorge 80 feet in the air. The views from there were amazing! I wish I had taken a picture on the bridge but the swinging terrified me and I got across as fast as possible. Luckily I got one picture of Doug and Kelsey on the bridge!
What goes up, must come down – or in this case, what comes down must go up! After walking down 600 steps, we had to climb up 600 steps. As someone who rarely works out this is quite an extraordinary task to undertake. 600 stairs does not seem like a lot but trust me, it is! I was shocked to see people passing us on their way down who were carrying kids because all I could think about was them carrying the kids back up it. We had to take several breathers while going up so I could only imagine how long it would take if you were carrying a child.
Eventually we made it to the top and back to where we started. It took about 2 hours for us to leisurely walk both trails with the add on of the treacherous stairs.
After the hike we drove to Clayton and rewarded ourselves with Chick-fil-A for lunch! My legs were shaking all through lunch from all of the stairs.
Overall, it was a wonderful hike with gorgeous views! I would love to go back some time and do the more intensive hiking trails. They also have passes to go down to the gorge floor which I think would be quite the experience. They limit the activity to 100 passes per day so if you plan a trip make sure to get there early enough to get a pass for the gorge. Luckily it is not too far where a day trip would be too difficult! Personally, I would love to go in early fall when it is still cool in the morning for the hiking trails and then go down to the gorge to cool off in the afternoon.
Have a gorge-ous day!