Sunday Hikes: North Rim Trail, Tallulah Gorge

Our home state of Georgia is mostly woods and farmland and that’s about the extent of some people’s view on Georgia’s landscape. Some people are surprised to find out we have mountains (small ones but mountains nonetheless). Even fewer people are aware that the state contains large canyons, three to be exact (Providence Canyon, Cloudland Canyon, and Tallulah Gorge). Obviously that is nothing compared to most western states but to a state of mostly farms and pines they are a big deal.

 

Tallulah Gorge is perhaps the most popular with it’s massive waterfalls, steep 1,000 foot cliffs, and unmitigated beauty. Tallulah Gorge State Park’s North Rim Trail is a great trail that takes you to six incredible overlooks above the canyon. The trail is mostly flat and only 1.5 miles round trip.

Overlook #1 is also originally named “Inspiration Point” and shows Oceana Falls and horseshoe bend rock formation.

Overlook #2 gives a slightly new view of Oceana Falls as well as Bridal Veil Falls (another unique name)

Overlook #3 shows off three more waterfalls; L’Eau d’Or Falls, Tempesta Falls, and Hawthorne Cascades and the Hawthorne Pool.

Overlook #4 is another view of L’Eau d’Or Falls and Hawthorne Pool. From here the ruins of an old water compressor plant can be seen. As well as the Tallulah Falls Dam.

Overlook #5 is an awesome view of Tallulah Falls Dam which was has been around since 1913. Georgia’s oldest living resident is 113 years old and would have been 8 years old at the time of the dam’s completion. It is likely that no one alive remembers or could recall this natural wonder’s natural state. Each overlook is no more than a fence or a small wooden porch built on the canyon’s edge except for 5. 5 has a large stone and concrete platform. When I went recently and took these pictures the whole thing had a giant pool of snowmelt in it.

Overlook #6 is another view of Hawthorne and also just a great view of the gorge.

Tallulah is an easy day trip from Atlanta, Asheville, or Chattanooga. There is also so much in that area that a weekend trip or even a weeklong trip could be spent in northeast Georgia. I love the western United States and there is no denying the the nature there is bigger and wilder than the heavily populated a long inhabited east but there is still wilderness and extreme beauty here in the east and I would encourage anybody to get out and explore it.

Thanks! – Josh

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is one of the newest US National Parks, established in South Carolina in 2003. It protects one of the largest tracts old growth bottomland hardwood forest in the United States. The park also contains one of the largest concentrations of champion trees (big, old, native trees) in the country. I visited the park in late September on my way home from a road trip to Canada and New York. The main feature in the park is a self-guided boardwalk tour that takes you through the park and allows you to learn about the environment and it’s history all without getting muddy. You can also canoe and kayak and there is decent amount of backcountry to explore. Camping is very inexpensive at $10 for the Longleaf campground or $5 for the Bluff campground that you have to hike to a little bit. The campgrounds are nice having been built fairly recently. Also being one of the least visited national parks you will have the park mostly to yourself if you go in the off season. I think Congaree is a great place to take the family and relax in a unique part of nature. Also don’t forget to bring bugspray, where some places have a fire danger meter, Congaree has a mosquito density meter. Thanks for reading! – Josh

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