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Tallulah Gorge, GA

Talullah Gorge
Shannon Stegg on Punk Wave (5.10).
Photo by Jonathan Hollada

As of August, 2016 the park has lifted the climbing closure! Climbers are welcome to enjoy the routes at Tallulah on open climbing days.

On certain dates, the park is closed to rock climbing for whitewater boating weekends and aesthetic water releases. To see these closure dates please visit http://www.gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge

Tallulah Gorge is a deep quartzite fissure located in northeast Georgia with many traditional climbs. The area offers fine quality stone and a unique setting and exposure. Best times to climb are late fall to spring. Summer climbing is not advisable. Climbing info is found in the Dixie Climbers Atlas by Chris Watford.

Tallulah Gorge Water Releases
Whitewater Boating Weekends (500-700 cubic feet per second) 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.:
Water thunders through the gorge as kayakers challenge their skills and spectators watch from the rim. Hiking and rock climbing in the gorge are not allowed on these dates. To see these closure dates please visit http://www.gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge

Aesthetic Water Releases (200 cubic feet per second) 8 a.m.- 8 p.m.:
This water flow is less than the whitewater releases but much more than the regular flow of water through the gorge. Hiking and rock climbing in the gorge are not allowed on these dates. To see these closure dates please visit http://www.gastateparks.org/TallulahGorge

The SCC performs trail work every fall at Tallulah Gorge during the Access Fund Adopt-a-Crag day. The SCC area representative for Tallulah Gorge is Jeff Mekolites -mekwise@bellsouth.net. If you are interested in helping out and attending trail days, or have questions or comments about the Gorge, please contact Jeff.

Recommended Routes at Tallulah Gorge:
Punk Wave (5.10)
Flying Frogs (5.9+
Mescaline Daydream (5.8)

Climbing Access Tips for Tallulah Gorge:
* Pack out all trash and any that you see
* Participate in the annual trail day
* Abide by water release closures (posted)
* Be courteous and respectful to all Park personnel

For additional access information on Tullulah Gorge go here:

Access Fund Adopt-A-Crag Trail Day Fall 2000 (writeup by Michael Crowder)

Tallulah Gorge, Tallulah Falls, Georgia
The Access Fund Adopt-A-Crag Trail day was a huge success. We got a lot accomplished at both tallulah gorge and Currahee Mountain. We built water bars on the climbers trail which was badly eroded. To date there has never been any trail work done on this trail ever. Park officials were so impressed with our work and enthusiasm that they agreed to open the g.i and blueberry jam areas to climbing two days a year. These areas comprise some of the finest climbing anywhere, even one of Georgias few four pitch climbs (short pitches). These will now be opened in conjunction with future trail days for a reward to the trail workers. If you want to do these climbs you have to do your time. This is a generous reward offered by the park as they will have to close and police two very popular tourist overlooks in order to make this happen at Currahee Mountain the old trail that followed the natural drainage down the mountain was abandoned and filled in with fallen limbs and rocks trucked in from a commercial source. A new trail with several switchbacks and water bars was established. This is perhaps the best trail work I have seen to date. As I was working mostly at Tallulah, I must give full credit to a wonderful group of volunteers. We also picked up an entire truckload of trash. We removed a large dead tree that was overhanging a popular section of cliff and added some fixed anchors where other trees were taking a beating. After a long hard day of work we grilled burgers and relaxed as a combined group in the Currahee parking lot. After the dinner which was sponsored by the Southeastern Climbers Coalition (SCC). The SCC gave me a food allowance and my lovely better half figured out how to fix seventeen people a hot and hearty meal. After the cook out we had a drawing for the prizes and because of the generous prizes, every volunteer each took something home. The park service allowed us put the Tallulah gorge banner right at the park entrance which has hundreds of visitors per day.
- Michael Crowder

Tallulah Falls Update for 8/2000 The following is a list of the water release dates and related access issues: Daily 35-50 cubic feet per second (cfs). This is an increase from an average of 5 cfs which was the flow up until 1997. People who have not hiked or climbed in the gorge since then will see a noticable difference in how they get around on the floor. Many of the old "dry" crossings are n ow under water. 100 permits are issued each day for hikers and 20 for climbers. First 2 weekends in April and the first 3 weekends in November are Boating releases. These flow at 500 cfs on Saturday and 700 cfs on Sunday. No access in the gorge except by boaters. All 120 permits are issued to boaters. Starting the third weekend in April and running up to but not including Memorial Day Weekend are aesthetic releases. This flow is at 200 cfs. Twenty Climbing permits are issued for the main wall only and climbers are not allowed to descend to the gorge floor/river. Hiking permits are issued only for the Hurricane Falls Trail (Staircase) and crossing the river is not permitted at this flow level. Starting the weekend after Labor Day and running to the end of September are also aesthetic flows. Same guidelines and restrictions are in place as those listed above for the Spring. In October, the releases are on Wednesdays and Fridays up to the l ast weekend of October, which is a weekend release. After the last Oct weekend aesthetic release, the November boating releases start again. Please call for Tallulah Gorge park more information.

Bill Tanner, Tallulah Gorge Park Superintendant

Access Issues at Tallulah Gorge, Georgia

"There is multi-pitch climbing in Georgia?!", the uninformed might ask. If you have not heard of Tallulah Gorge, you need to check it out. It offers enough bold lines and exposure to satisfy any Southern climbers wildest expectations. But with the access situation as it is you had better do it quick, because these high quality quartzite walls are threatened by groups that want to open the river in the bottom of the gorge, according to National Park Service Ranger Bill Tanner.

On December 7, 1995 a public meeting was held in Rabun County Courthouse to discuss the issue. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission held the meeting to hear public response to their Environmental Impact Statement. The statement is the result of an extensive study of all the factors involved in the consideration of relicensing Georgia Powers hydro-electric facilities in North Georgia. The plan calls for an increase from the current flow of 6-8 cubic feet per secon (c.f.s) to a rate of 35 c.f.s. which would no change any of the gorge manangement policies regarding access below the rim. It also suggest flows of between 500 and 700 c.f.s. on five weekends a year, two in April and three in November, for whitewater boating. In addition to the whitewater flows, certain remaining fifteen weekends of spring and fall (April, May, Sept., Oct., Nov.). Titled "Aesthetic Flows", the purpose of these would be to return some of the beauty of the whitewater to the Gorge, in order to increase local tourism. Anytime the flow rate is above 35 c.f.s., access below the rim of the Gorge would be eliminated: even if, as in the case of climbers, you do not plan on getting anywhere near the water. Most of the climbing starts 100 to 200 feet above the gorge floor.

The meeting drew a crowd of about 200 people from all over the Southeast representing many different interest groups. By far the best represented and most vocal group was the property owners on the three lakes upstream from Tallulah Gorge, who were concerned about fluctuating lake levels. The whitewater group explained that the gorge was a public resource and there must be some way a comprise could be reached. The local rescue teams spoke about their concern over the increase in the number and cost of rescues necessitated by opening the river. Several climbers were present at the meeting to represent our interests. Jerry Dodgen, Chris Watford, and I addressed the assembly our concerns.

The issue that is most important to us as climbers is the proposed aesthetic flows. These would close the gorge during the peak climbing seasons: Spring and Fall. Others affected by these restrictions would be tourists wishing to explore the gorge. The Park Ranger explained to me that these seasons are already the busiests for tourists. A new visitor information center will open soon as part of the State Park facility that opened in 1994. These aesthetic flows would mean that weekend visitors could be educated on the plants and animals in the gorge only to be informed that they will not be allowed to enter the gorge and experience what they have just learned. Chris Watford, Access Fund Regional Representative, discussed the damage that will occur to the gorge by opening the flow to 600 c.f.s. on the weekend, back to 35 c.f.s. for the week, up to 200 c.f.s. next weekend, and back to 35 c.f.s. and so on. It will continually shock the Gorge like pounding it with a hammer.

I think the five whitewater weekends may be approved by the commission, which will not me so bad. We can certainly share the Gorge. My concern is that we were the only ones speaking out against the ridiculous aesthetic flows, and our small voice may have been lost in the numbers of lake owners and kayakers who were battling over their issues. The aesthetic flows threaten our use and enjoyment of this spectacular gorge, and now I can only hope that the commission will reconsider. Their final decisions are scheduled to be released in the spring, so keep your fingers crossed. - Rich Farnham

Directions to Tallulah Gorge

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Published on: 2006-02-11 (12156 reads)
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