Tallulah Gorge: Rock Scrambling and One Epic Rock Slide!

Visitors enjoying a sunny day at the natural rock slide in tallulah gorge state park.

Tallulah Gorge State Park is about an hour and a half Northeast of Atlanta. Here you’ll find one of the country’s most epic natural waterslides. However, you’re going to have to put in the work to get there. The trail starts more than 1,000 feet above the floor of the gorge and includes countless stairs, an 80 ft suspension bridge, and a few miles of hiking/rock hopping. You can take a different way out of the gorge and skip the hundreds of stairs, but expect some near vertical rock scrambling for an adventure you won’t forget!

Photo by Matt Lightfoot

First Things First

This trail is popular. The sliding rock is so incredible that the park officials were worried about ruining the ecosystem. They have limited how many people can descend to the floor of the gorge each day to just 100. Permits are free, but they cannot be purchased in advance, so if it’s a sunny day, get there early!

Also, you’re going to want to check the whitewater release dates as they release the dam several times a year turning this quaint rock slide into a beautiful rapid called Bridal Veil Falls! Kayakers flock to the gorge for it’s remote scenery, fantastic rapids, and limited availability, but when the water is held back, you have the perfect flow to gently slide you down the 200 ft waterslide of your dreams!

Beginning the Hike

I won’t lie to you. This is not my favorite hike, but the reward at the end makes it completely worth it.

Because this hike is quite strenuous, I would not recommend bringing a child under the age of 8 onto the trail and good hiking shoes are not optional. The hike starts off with a series of man-made stairs descending to the gorge floor. You’ll have to go down over 600 stairs before you arrive at the Suspension bridge for your first reward. This 80 foot bridge will be your first views of the 6 different waterfalls you’ll get to experience during the hike. Fair warning, the bridge will sway a good bit if you have a rambunctious child or an obnoxious husband swinging from side to side!

Photo by Matthew Brodeur

Next, you’ll rock hop along the side of the river for a few miles, which is the easiest park of the hike. You’ll eventually get to this beauty and reach your reward. This 200+ foot natural rockslide is smooth as butter. At the bottom, you’ll drop into a gorgeous swimming hole that is plenty deep, so you won’t need to worry about hitting the bottom.

The Return Home

Once you’ve had your fill of fun for the day, you’re probably thinking about those 600 stairs that you went down to get to this wonderland. You can indeed return the way you came and climb up the stairs and for the less adventurous, I recommend this path.

However, there’s another way out. If you look at the left side of the picture above, you’ll notice some exposed rock. This leads to a trail that will take you out of the gorge. Do not expect a gentle hike out because this trail requires several near vertical rock scrambles. You’ll climb upward until you get to the rim of the gorge and can return to your car (most likely still wishing you were swimming in the cool waters below.)

Personally, I’d take a good rock scramble over 600 iron stairs any day!

To begin planning your trip, contact The Travel Byrds today! We’re eager to help you experience life!


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