Route Guide - iPhone / Android - Partners - Forum - Photos - Deals - What's New - School of Rock
Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
Tallulah Gorge

Select Area...
Main Wall 
Slab Area 

Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Tiger Rag Loop
A fast loop that is harder than it seems Near Central, SC
Dam Road Trail
A fast flowy downhill to the lake. Near Central, SC
Tour of Issaqueena
This covers most of the popular trails in Issaqueena Near Clemson, SC
Waterfall Area
Lots of climbing, lots of solitude. Near Clemson, SC
Daniel Ridge Loop
A great, classic little Pisgah loop. Near Brevard, NC
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Tallulah Gorge 


Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 34.74, -83.3931 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 100,516
Administrators: saxfiend, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: saxfiend on Dec 15, 2006
Forecast:
Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon
Partly Cloudy
92° | 71°
Clear
92° | 71°
Chance of a Thunderstorm
89° | 70°
Chance of a Thunderstorm
82° | 68°
Partly Cloudy
79° | 63°
You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Dinosaurs climbing in Tallulah Gorge

Description 

When you're ready for superb trad climbing in Georgia, you may be ready for Tallulah Gorge. Don't let the touristy Interpretive Center fool you -- when you leave the parking lot and hit the trail into the gorge, you're in wild country and serious climbing territory. This is not a place for beginners or toproping; apart from a handful of moderate lines, the routes at Tallulah are hard multi-pitch trad or mixed aid/trad. The rock is high-quality quartzite, the scenery is beautiful and the exposure will raise your pulse rate.

Climbing at Tallulah Gorge began in the 70s, when southern legend Rich Gottlieb and partners established early classics like Flying Frog. But the top first ascentionist here has been Atlanta climber Shannon Stegg, whose name is stamped on most of the Main Wall routes. Along with partners Greg Allen, Chris Wilson, Larry Myers, Stan Glass and others, Stegg put up stellar lines like Punk Wave, Primitive Paradox, Heaven and Hell and many others. Another noted route pioneer is North Carolina's Jeep Gaskin, who gets the credit for such stout climbs as Cracker State and War in the Gulf.

Because this is a state park, activities other than climbing sometimes take precedence. There are periodic weekend water releases from the dam to facilitate white-water kayaking competitions, at which time Tallulah Gorge is closed to climbing. Unfortunately, these closures are in late fall and early spring, which is prime time for climbing here (like other south-facing crags, Tallulah is not a great summer destination). So wait until kayaking season is over or take a day off during the week. The park will issue a maximum of 20 climbing permits per day, but it is almost unheard of for this limit to be met; Tallulah Gorge is never crowded.

Camping is available on the grounds of the park.


Getting There 

From Atlanta, head north on I-85, then exit to I-985 north. Follow 985 to where it ends, then continue north on US 441 to Tallulah Falls. Cross a bridge that is the dam to the Tallulah River, then watch for the Tallulah Gorge State Park Interpretive Center and turn right into the center. Pay the parking fee, then go to the main building and fill out a climber's permit.


Climbing Season


18 Total Routes


['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',11],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',2],['5.9',2],['5.10',8],['5.11',6],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Tallulah Gorge:
Mescaline Daydream   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Main Wall
Digital Delight   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 4 pitches, 300'   Main Wall
Into the Country (aka Out in the Country)   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   Main Wall
Primitive Paradox   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Main Wall
Punk Wave   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   Main Wall
Flying Frog   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 200'   Main Wall
The Diagonal   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Main Wall
Flying Squirrel   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 180'   Main Wall
BT Express   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 90'   Main Wall
I Yam What I Yam   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Main Wall
Browse More Classics in Tallulah Gorge

Featured Route For Tallulah Gorge
Tough, sustained stemming gets you through this one.

BT Express 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a  GA : Tallulah Gorge : Main Wall
Amazing route with really thin and funky stemming. Crank a V1 start over a not so great landing to the first gear pretty high up, then climb the thin crack/corner to the P1 ledge of Primitive Paradox. Do it!...[more]   Browse More Classics in GA

Photos of Tallulah Gorge Slideshow Add Photo
Stephen at top of first pitch of Punk wave .10a with me following. Final of 3 shots to show size of Main wall. Photo by Lauren
Stephen at top of first pitch of Punk wave .10a wi...
Another of the many scenic falls.
Another of the many scenic falls.
Tallulah Gorge from the 3rd pitch of Digital Delight.
Tallulah Gorge from the 3rd pitch of Digital Delig...
One of the many falls. Photo by Lauren
One of the many falls. Photo by Lauren
tallulah gorge from punk wave
tallulah gorge from punk wave
Stephen at 1st belay of Punk Wave .10a with me following. 1st of 3 perspective shots of the Main wall.
Stephen at 1st belay of Punk Wave .10a with me fol...
The Center will you will have to get your permit to climb. Photo by Lauren
BETA PHOTO: The Center will you will have to get your permit t...
Stephen at top of 1st pitch of Punk wave .10a with me following.2nd of 3 shots to show size of Main wall. Photo by Lauren
Stephen at top of 1st pitch of Punk wave .10a with...
Oceana Falls, Talluah Gorge.
Oceana Falls, Talluah Gorge.
Tallulah Gorge from the top of the main wall. Photo by Lauren
Tallulah Gorge from the top of the main wall. Phot...
A view from the top of Tallulah Gorge, looking down on the river and falls several hundred feet below.
BETA PHOTO: A view from the top of Tallulah Gorge, looking dow...
Beautiful falls we passed on climbers trail less than 100 yards left of main wall.
Beautiful falls we passed on climbers trail less t...
Suspension Bridge lower down in the gorge.
Suspension Bridge lower down in the gorge.
Oceana falls, Tallulah gorge. This is why I don't post about climbing much anymore
Oceana falls, Tallulah gorge. This is why I don't ...
Comments on Tallulah Gorge Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 9, 2014
By Br'er Rabbit
From: The Briar Patch
Mar 12, 2007

Once down in the gorge, Tallulah offers some of the best scenery in the SE. Just be aware that permits are iffy following weather, you might be under surveillance, and there are commonly many loose rocks on the easier routes. Tallulah is a special place and worth preservation. Bring a double rack of cams and two ropes.

By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
Apr 1, 2007

Just a comment on the approach. You don't actually need to make a rap, so you can leave your harness and rope buried in the pack until you reach your intended line. The short scramble/downclimb is easy 4th class for about 15'. Dogs and kids will be screwed here, but climbers capable of climbing the routes in the Gorge won't have issues here.

By saxfiend
Administrator
From: Decatur, GA
Oct 5, 2007

All water releases for October and November have been cancelled, per the Tallulah Gorge State Park web site: www.gastateparks.org/info/tallulah/ This is due to the current drought. So there should be no climbing restrictions for the rest of the fall.

By Rob Culbertson
Dec 1, 2007

"Climbing at Tallulah Gorge began in the 70s," Actually, climbing there began in the '60s with a US Army unit nailing what we called Army Angle [the exact same route Bert Reynolds did "free" in the movie Deliverance] in '67 we removed 10 or more nice Army Angle pitons from that and another line - I still have one of them somewhere.

A group of five Ga Tech students "discovered" the gorge in '67 and made climbing trips there practically every [dry] weekend for the next several years. These included Mike Byorick, Steve Poulsen, Mike Kimball, Alan Vandeford and myself Rob Culbertson. We were not great climbers at the time so nailed/aided many of the lines. Three of the group also made the first ground-up ascent of Stone Mountain [immediately left of the carving] over July 4 weekend '69. I have many great photos from this.

[I also have quite a few slides & b&w pix of the gorge and climbs before it was "destroyed" by the circus.]

By saxfiend
Administrator
From: Decatur, GA
Dec 2, 2007

That's fascinating history, Rob. I'll pass it along to Chris for his next revision of the Dixie Cragger. I hope you'll post some of your photos.

Do you happen to know who did the FA of Mescaline Daydream? I've been dying to find out who that was.

JL

By Steve Poulsen
From: Nederland, CO
Jan 16, 2009

It's been over a year since Rob Culbertson posted comments about the early years of climbing in Tallulah Gorge, so I thought that I would throw in a photo to prove that we actually existed. The photo is by Mike Kimball and it shows us climbing a route near what is now called Punk Wave. Most of our climbs were probably first ascents, but we didn't name or document anything that we did, we just enjoyed climbing. Tallulah Gorge is a special place. I hope that generations of climbers will be able to enjoy it as we did. Have fun, be safe.

Steve Poulsen

By jeffinatlanta
From: Smyrna, Ga.
Aug 12, 2009

I consider myself lucky to have had the priviledge of climbing at the Upper Falls before it was closed. Now whenever I watch Deliverance it brings back fond and long ago memories...the John Voigt climbing scene, of course :)

By TomCaldwell
From: Clemson, S.C.
Jan 7, 2010

Make sure you call the office before you drive to see if they are even giving out gorge passes.

By s f
From: GA/CO
Feb 13, 2013

2013 Whitewater Release Dates:
- Weekends - November 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 & 17

2013 Aesthetic Water Release Dates:
- Wednesday & Fridays - October 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18 & 30
- Weekend - October 26, 27

No permits will be issued on the above dates.

By John Roark
Jun 6, 2014

Where can I find out about bolting regulations in Tallulah?

Thanks,
John

By s f
From: GA/CO
Jun 9, 2014

To my knowledge, no new routes have been put up in decades. Bolting new routes in Tallulah Gorge is complicated by (1) vague regulations, (2) limited access, and (3) high non-climber visibility: Defacing the rock is illegal, but how permanent climbing anchors fit in appears untested by regulators. Climbing at any areas witin the park other than the main wall is officially off limits; this includes previously published areas. Tallulah Gorge's walls are very visible to a large volume of hikers and are watched by park rangers, making it nearly impossible to keep a low profile when down there. The gorge overlooks even have coin operated tower viewers.

One-for-one bolt replacement projects have been undertaken under the radar. Safety/necessity support these actions, and the projects were conducted during low volume times in the park. As to new routes, bolting could endanger already sensitive climbing access and would likely not be received well by locals. The main wall is all but climbed out. On the other hand, there are still dangerous bolts and open, established (but overgrown) routes that need revitalization.