Formed by slow erosive action of the Tallulah River cutting through the Tallulah Dome’s quartzite rock formation millions of years ago, Tallulah Gorge is more than 2 miles long and 1,000 ft. deep and it has been a famous tourist attraction in North Georgia since the early 1800’s. At the lower end of Tallulah Gorge before the Tallulah River flows into the Tugaloo River, there are six waterfalls. The tallest is the 96 ft. Hurricane Falls and the second tallest is 76 ft. Tempesta Falls. Oceana Falls is 50 ft. high, L’Eau d’Or Falls is 46 ft. high, Bridal Veil Falls is 17 ft. high and Lovers Leap Falls is 16 ft. high.
After the Tallulah Falls Railway was constructed in 1882, visitors from Atlanta were able to reach Tallulah Gorge and it became North Georgia’s first tourist attraction. As hotels, restaurants and bars were opened to serve tourists, a town developed that was named Tallulah Falls on October 7, 1885. During the early 1900’s, the Georgia Power Company began building dams on the Tallulah River, purchased the town of Burton and flooded the area to create Lake Burton. In 1993, the 2,689 acre Tallulah Gorge State Park was created by the State of Georgia in partnership with the Georgia Power Company.
Tallulah Gorge State Park contains Tallulah Lake, a 63 acre reservoir with a white sand beach and a bathhouse for public use. In 1996, the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center was opened to the public in Tallulah Gorge State Park. The 15,000 sq. ft. Interpretive Center features exhibits that explain the history of Tallulah Gorge and the region’s natural ecology. The park also contains an 80 ft. high suspension bridge with spectacular views of Tallulah Gorge, the Terrora Campground, tennis courts and many picnic areas. Tallulah Gorge State Park is located at 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Drive on Highway 441 in the City of Tallulah Falls, and the park’s phone number is (706) 754-7970.
Real estate in areas near Tallulah Gorge
No real estate development is permitted in the areas of protected land around Tallulah Gorge and the closest homes are in Tallulah Falls, a small rural community with a population of 164 according to the U.S. Census of 2000. There are 71 households in Tallulah Falls, 48 of which are families, and the average home sale price was $133,900 in 2007. Other towns located near Tallulah Gorge are Lakemont, Turnerville and Clayton, and the nearest medium sized cities are Helen, Blairsville and Hiawassee.
Most homes in Tallulah Falls were built after 1986 and very few of them are sold because they are occupied by long term residents. Homes and properties in Lakemont, Turnerville and Clayton are located in beautiful rural areas where population densities can be as low as 650 people per square mile. Rustic vacation cabins, mountain cottages and private homes can be rented by the week or by the month through local real estate agents or directly from owners who advertise their properties in local newspapers and on the Internet.
Tallulah Gorge State Park has facilities for camping and picnicking but there are no food stores or restaurants in the park. The Terrora Campground contains 50 campsites, 5 of which are for tents only. The other campsites have hookups for RV’s, camper vans and trailers. Tallulah Gorge State Park also has a Pioneer Campground and a backcountry Adirondack Shelter. Visitors can enjoy swimming at Tallulah Lake, tennis at the tennis courts, fishing, whitewater canoe paddling, bicycling along the 1.7-mile paved Rails to Trails pathway, or hiking and mountain biking on more than 20 miles of trails.
The only approved trail into Tallulah Gorge is called the Hurricane Falls Staircase. Visitors can also hike along rim trails to several picturesque outlook locations and permits are required for all people who access the Gorge, especially those who want to practice rock climbing or rappelling. All the trails leading into and out of Tallulah Gorge are considered to be very strenuous.
While at Tallulah Gorge State Park, visitors can enjoy the work of Georgia artists at the nearby Georgia Heritage Center for the Arts. The Georgia Heritage Center for the Arts displays and sells arts and crafts made by local artisans and craftspeople, and also offers art workshops for children and adults. Each day visitors can watch artists demonstrating their crafts at the Georgia Heritage Gallery in the Georgia Heritage Center for the Arts.
There are no food stores, restaurants or gas stations in Tallulah Falls. The nearest hotels, stores and restaurants are about 10 miles north of Tallulah Falls in Clayton. Heading north out of Clayton on Highway 441, visitors can find intriguing restaurants serving North Georgia home style cooking such as Granny’s Kuntry Kitchen, Henry’s, Tomlin’s Bar-B-Q Stand and the Dillard House.
Driving north from Tallulah Gorge about 10 miles on Highway 23, visitors will find one of Georgia’s most scenic drives along Lookout Mountain Parkway & Scenic Highway. During August, shoppers come from all over Georgia to browse among more than 4,000 yard sale stalls and booths that have been set up along Lookout Mountain Parkway & Scenic Highway. This event is known as the World’s Longest Yard Sale. Lookout Mountain Parkway & Scenic Highway passes over mountains and descends through verdant valleys with deep canyons and waterfalls. Drivers will pass through quaint towns and villages where they can shop or dine, and find state parks, national parks and nature preserves to explore.