Tallulah Gorge State Park: hiking the Hurricane Falls Loop Trail
Hike Tallulah Gorge State Park's most popular trail. The view-packed Hurricane Falls Trail skirts the gorge rim, descends to the gorge floor and crosses a suspension bridge to the thundering Hurricane Falls waterfall.
Tallulah Gorge State Park is one of Georgia’s most stunning and popular hiking destinations. The turbulent flow of the Tallulah River carved this enormous, steep-walled gash in North Georgia’s Rabun County. The gorge stretches an astonishing two miles long and dives 1000 feet deep. Deep inside Tallulah Gorge, the river cascades over enormous rock outcrops, creating Tallulah Falls, a stunning set of six waterfalls.
Sheer drops, colorful rock outcrops, blooming mountain laurel and thundering waterfalls: Tallulah Gorge is an equally stunning sight from the towering rim and the deep recesses of the gorge floor.
The Hurricane Falls Trail packs the best of Tallulah Gorge’s scenic beauty in a relatively short, but steep, just-over-two mile loop. The trail explores Tallulah Gorge’s north and south rims, visits the enormous Hurricane Falls waterfall, and catches dizzying views from ten scenic overlooks that peer deep into the gorge’s waterfall-filled depths. It’s a well-groomed, easy-to-follow trail, hiking alternating stretches of boardwalks, a suspension bridge, pavement, mulched trail, and long stretches of unforgettable metal stairs. It’s a moderately difficult trail, but it’s absolutely worth the effort.
NOTE: Before you go, be sure to check the Tallulah Gorge State Park dam release schedule. Hiking in the gorge is not allowed on water release dates.
Talluah Gorge Hurricane Falls Trail: the hike
This adventure departs from the Tallulah Gorge Interpretive Center (view maps and driving directions). The hike hangs a left at the first trail intersection, trekking eastbound to catch its first gorge views from the north rim. From Overlook 1A, the hike peers down to see the Tallulah Gorge suspension bridge far below in the depths of the gorge. Continuing eastbound, the hike crosses a small creek before reaching Overlook 1, catching views of Tallulah Gorge’s Bridal Veil Falls and the steep-walled, eastern sections of Tallulah Gorge.
The hike backtracks toward the park’s interpretive center, passing the trailhead and descending elevation to Overlook 3. The hike turns left (southbound), catching stunning, picture-perfect views from Overlook 2. Peering deep into the gorge’s depths, this vantage point offers lofty, dizzying views of the Tallulah River’s spilling waterfalls hundreds of feet below.
The trail begins a steep descent into the gorge, descending a series of metal stairs and platforms to a suspension bridge, hiking the bridge to cross the Tallulah River. The bridge sways with every step – an adventure itself – but pausing on the bridge calms the sway and offers views of upper Hurricane Falls.
The suspension bridge crosses to the gorge’s south rim. The hike turns left at .8 mile, descending a final series of stairs and platforms to the Tallulah Gorge floor. The trail reaches a wooden platform at .9 mile and catches stunning views of Hurricane Falls as it crashes down into the boulder-filled depths of the gorge.
Departing Hurricane Falls, the hike trails a stair-filled climb to return to the suspension bridge. The hike veers left at the bridge, climbing an extended stretch of stairs, grabbing a great cardio workout and ascending to the gorge’s south rim.
Reaching the Tallulah Gorge south rim at 1 mile, the hike turns left, hiking east to catch stunning rim views from Overlooks 8, 9 and 10. #9 offers exceptional views, and a stone bench set into a cave alcove provides some shade near #10.
Departing #10, the hike retraces past numbers 8 and 9, passing a pavilion at 1.4 miles. The trail catches one last view of Hurricane Falls at Overlook 7, and a far-distant view of the Tallulah Gorge suspension bridge at Overlook 6, before crossing the gorge just below the Tallulah River Dam along Highway 441.
The hike turns right after crossing the bridge, descending to Tallulah Gorge’s North Rim Trail and turning left to trek northeast along the gorge rim. The trail peers into the western edges of the gorge at Overlook 5 before catching views of the Tallulah Dam at Overlook 4, then trails through a shady, fern-filled creek valley. The trail completes its loop at 2.1 miles, reaching Overlook 3. The hike veers left at #3, returning to the Tallulah Gorge Interpretive Center at 2.25 miles and completing the hike.
More Tallulah Gorge hiking adventures
Tallulah Gorge State Park offers over 15 miles of fantastic hiking trails, ranging in difficulty from easy to extremely difficult. Arrive early at the park’s interpretive center to request a gorge floor permit (limited to 100 per day and not available on dam release days; check the park’s schedule). Then hike the difficult Tallulah Gorge Sliding Rock Trail to the Bridal Veil Falls waterfall downriver from Hurricane Falls.
And don’t miss the park’s former rail trail, the Tallulah Gorge Shortline Trail. It’s a paved trail that explores the banks of the Tallulah River just north of the gorge, visiting historic remnant’s of the trail’s railroad past and crossing the river by a suspension bridge.