We were lucky enough to meet our best friends for a fun day outdoors while we were traveling last summer. With 6 adults and 8 kids, we needed something that would be easy enough for the youngest, a four year old, but entertaining enough for the 11 year old in our group. It was also important to do something that we could all enjoy together. We decided to spend some time hiking in Tallulah Gorge, a beautiful state park in north Georgia.
Our hike was a 2 mile loop, on a well maintained easy-to-follow trail. This hike was different than others we have taken, in that instead of steep paths or switchbacks down into the gorge, the park has constructed stairs that take visitors throughout the gorge. I mistakenly thought that this would make hiking here a piece of cake. I could not have been more wrong. Talk about a stair climber – there are 1,099 steps! And, while half of them take you down – the other half you have to climb UP. Although there were a lot of steps to climb up, the park has installed benches to catch your breath periodically throughout the hike.
The first part of the loop takes you along the north rim and down to a suspension bridge that sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom of the gorge. This is a spectacular place to view the gorge and one of the five beautiful waterfalls contained within the park. As we continued, we were able to stop at overlooks that allowed us to see three of the additional waterfalls. The loop had us walk up steps to the south rim of the gorge, cross the road over the dam, and circle back to the north rim. It took our group of 14 people about 2 hours to complete the loop.
For families with older children, the park issues 100 passes a day to hike the gorge floor. This is a much more strenuous hike and not recommended for children under 8. However, this hike will take you to Sliding Rock, a natural waterslide where the kids can play and swim. Passes to the gorge floor run out early in the day, especially on the weekends, so be sure to get there early.
There are also paths for mountain biking, accommodations for camping, and plenty of places for a picnic. Certainly, every family can find something to enjoy here.
We paid $5 per car as our entrance fee – a great price for a day so full of fun. Check out the video Matt put together from our adventure.