Maiden Voyage - Trip to Tallulah Gorge, GA: Part 2
Stonewall Falls Trail is about 12 miles from the campground and has close to 13 miles of trail. It was the closest mountain biking trails to us so we checked it out.
The trails were flowy. Short steep climbs, leafy downhills, and the scenery was pretty. It was fun but nothing extraordinary.
The lower section of the trails looked a lot like Pisgah - rhodos, rocks, and creek crossings.
And then Stonewall Falls appears.
We checked out Tallulah Gorge with the dogs after our ride. There is a trail from the campground that connects to the South Rim and North Rim trails. Since dogs aren't allows into the gorge at all we stayed up top. Which turned out ok because it's all steps to the bottom and they are metal steps with holes in it - it would have been horrible for the dogs. From the North Rim trail there is a view of the gorge and of the hydroelectric dam.
Tallulah Gorge visitor center gives out 100 free passes per day to go into the gorge, but a pass isn't needed to get to the suspension bridge. The next day we got up early to get our passes.
It's a lot of steps down into the gorge. 531 steps to be exact. We took the Gorge Floor trail down, rock hopped across the river, climbed over boulders, and hiked up the steep Sliding Rock trail.
It's beautiful in the gorge. It wasn't what we expected. For some reason we thought it would have a touristy feel in the gorge. But once you're inside the gorge it's just...wild. The stairs disappear and you have to figure how to get down the river. Lots of rocks and boulders to hop from and climb up and over. The scenery is breathtaking. Tallulah Gorge is about 2 miles long and almost 1,000 feet deep. Inside the gorge there are circular blue metal signs attached to rock indicating which side of the path you should be on if the dam is release. I guess you'll know if the dam is released because they will have loud horns blaring. The dam is released for whitewater rafters and kayakers in April and November. It's also released for aesthetic reasons in the spring and fall for visitors to see what the natural flow of the water is like in the gorge.
The park ranger said that we need to cross the Tallulah River when we got to Bridal Veil Falls, it was prohibited to hike beyond that. But crossing the river there wasn't easy as the upper section. The path across wasn't as clear, so we walked further downstream until we found something doable.
The short hike up Sliding Rock trail was as described - climbing over big rocks while going up hill.
Up at the top of the hike was a large red tower. The tower was used by Karl Wallenda in 1970 when he was 65 years old to tightrope across the gorge.
Even though the hike is on the short side it's worth the visit. Stop by if you're in the area.