Visits to Tallulah Gorge State Park and Toccoa Falls

Last year, I visited Amicalola Falls and Anna Ruby Falls during my North Georgia Road Trip, so this year I visited two Northeast Georgia waterfalls during my Northeast Georgia Roads Trip: Tallulah Gorge State Park and Toccoa Falls. Both visits were on a rainy day and although it wasn’t raining in Toccoa, it was in Tallulah Gorge and I did get wet. Both are beautiful, but very different from each other.

When I visited Tallulah Gorge State Park, it was raining and because of the rain, I only did the rim trail next to the visitors center, stopping at the five observation points to take in the sights. It’s easily the deepest geographic feature that I’ve visited. The gorge cuts through the Tallulah Dome rock formation, is approximately two miles long and almost 1,000 ft deep and it contains a series of waterfalls along the Tallulah River. Most of the time, the Falls are beautiful but don’t look very powerful because the river is diverted at the head of the gorge by a dam that redirect the river to a hydroelectric plant. The dam was originally built by Georgia Railway and Power in the early twentieth century to provide electricity for Atlanta’s streetcars. Several days a year, however, water is released from the dam turning the gorge into a powerful torrent. Unfortunately my visit didn’t correspond to one of those release days. Nevertheless, the Gorge is a sight to behold and I highly recommend visiting it.

Fortunately, the weather was better that day in Toccoa, where I visited Toccoa Falls. The falls are located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College, but getting onto the campus is no problem; you just tell the guard at the gate that you’re going to visit the falls then follow the signs back to the visitor’s center. At the visitor’s center you pay a two dollar fee and then it’s just a short walk back to the falls. At 186 feet high, Toccoa Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. Though not as majestic as say, Amicalola Falls or Anna Ruby Falls, it’s still spectacularly beautiful and picturesque. The viewing area also features a memorial to 39 who died in 1977 when the Kelly Barnes Dam, which was at the top of the falls failed and flooded part of the campus. If you know someone is disabled or has mobility issues and wants to see a waterfall, this is probably one of the most accessible there is.

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