Tallulah Gorge: 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. This enormous, steep-walled gash in North Georgia’s Rabun County was carved by the turbulent flow of the Tallulah River, and it stretches an astonishing two miles long and 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 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 difficult, 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 is it worth the effort? Absolutely.
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
The Hurricane Falls Loop Trail departs the Tallulah Gorge Interpretive Center (view maps and driving directions). The hike hangs a left at the first trail intersection, hiking eastbound to catch its first gorge views from several north rim overlooks. From overlook 1A, the hike peers down to see the Tallulah Gorge suspension bridge far below in the depths of the gorge. Continuing its eastbound trek, 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. Turning left to hike southbound on the Hurricane Falls Trail, the hike catches stunning, picture-perfect views from overlook 2. Peering deep into the gorge’s depths, the overlook offers lofty, dizzying views of the Tallulah River’s spilling waterfalls hundreds of feet below.
The Hurricane Falls 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. Reaching a wooden platform at .9 mile, the trail catches stunning views of the Hurricane Falls waterfall as it crashes down into the boulder-filled depths of Tallulah Gorge.
Departing Hurricane Falls, the hike trails a stair-filled climb to return to the suspension bridge. Reaching the bridge, the hike veers left, climbing an extended stretch of stairs stairs (and grabbing a great cardio workout), 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. Overlook 9 offers exceptional views of Hurricane Falls, and a stone bench set into a cave alcove offers some shade near overlook 10.
Departing overlook 10, the Hurricane Falls Trail retraces the hike past overlooks 8 and 9, passing a pavilion at 1.4 miles. The trail catches a 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 hike 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 Hurricane Falls Trail completes its loop at 2.1 miles, reaching overlook 3. The hike veers left at overlook 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 suspension bridge.
Tallulah Gorge Hurricane Falls Loop Trail: Directions & Details
$5 (daily), or included with a Georgia State Parks annual pass
N34 44.413 W83 23.430