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Tallulah Gorge

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Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

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Tallulah Gorge Rock Climbing 

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Location: 34.74, -83.3931 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: saxfiend, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: saxfiend on Dec 15, 2006
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Dinosaurs climbing in Tallulah Gorge

Climbing Permit Needed-Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


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.

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

Weather station 8.8 miles from here

18 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',9],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Tallulah Gorge

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing 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
Primitive Paradox   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Main Wall
Into the Country (aka Out in the Country)   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   Main Wall
Punk Wave   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches   Main Wall
Wings of Wallenda   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 180'   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 Rock Climbing Classics in Tallulah Gorge

Featured Route For Tallulah Gorge
Rock Climbing Photo: Gary Latimer extends his placement before making t...

Mescaline Daydream 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  Georgia : Tallulah Gorge : Main Wall
An outstanding route, probably the finest for the grade at Tallulah. It's well protected with some interesting roof moves on great rock. Don't miss Mescaline Daydream!P1 - Starting under a small roof, move up and left of the roof into a short squeeze chimney that ends under a huge roof. Undercling the roof out left and escape up using a corner at the left end of the roof. Move up the corner to a spacious ledge and belay. 80'P2 - Climb to an alcove, then move up and right pulling a small roof...[more]   Browse More Classics in Georgia

Photos of Tallulah Gorge Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Stephen at top of first pitch of Punk wave .10a wi...
Stephen at top of first pitch of Punk wave .10a wi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Another of the many scenic falls.
Another of the many scenic falls.
Rock Climbing Photo: Panoramic from the approach
Panoramic from the approach
Rock Climbing Photo: Oceana falls, Tallulah gorge. This is why I don't ...
Oceana falls, Tallulah gorge. This is why I don't ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Oceana Falls, Talluah Gorge.
Oceana Falls, Talluah Gorge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Beautiful falls we passed on climbers trail less t...
Beautiful falls we passed on climbers trail less t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tallulah Gorge from the 3rd pitch of Digital Delig...
Tallulah Gorge from the 3rd pitch of Digital Delig...
Rock Climbing Photo: tallulah gorge from punk wave
tallulah gorge from punk wave
Rock Climbing Photo: Suspension Bridge lower down in the gorge.
Suspension Bridge lower down in the gorge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Stephen at top of 1st pitch of Punk wave .10a with...
Stephen at top of 1st pitch of Punk wave .10a with...
Rock Climbing Photo: Stephen at 1st belay of Punk Wave .10a with me fol...
Stephen at 1st belay of Punk Wave .10a with me fol...
Rock Climbing Photo: One of the many falls. Photo by Lauren
One of the many falls. Photo by Lauren
Rock Climbing Photo: The Center will you will have to get your permit t...
BETA PHOTO: The Center will you will have to get your permit t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tallulah Gorge from the top of the main wall. Phot...
Tallulah Gorge from the top of the main wall. Phot...
Rock Climbing Photo: A view from the top of Tallulah Gorge, looking dow...
BETA PHOTO: A view from the top of Tallulah Gorge, looking dow...

Comments on Tallulah Gorge Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 13, 2017
By BirminghamBen
From: Birmingham, AL
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
From: Decatur, GA
Oct 5, 2007
All water releases for October and November have been cancelled, per the Tallulah Gorge State Park web site: 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
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.

By yetibreath
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 Jethro Bodine-Clampett
From: Hixson, Tn
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 John Roark
Jun 6, 2014
Where can I find out about bolting regulations in Tallulah?

By Stephen Felker
From: Boulder, 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.
By Christopher Lopez
Apr 27, 2015
Be sure to call the Park and ask if they are issuing climbing permits before you head up here: Tallulah Park 706-754-7981

I highly suggest calling the day before and again the morning on your way there. I was recently (April 2015) denied a permit due to rain 36 hours prior. The Park service can deny permits at their discretion, in our case it was general wetness. We were very disappointed at this. I know a lot of climbers spent an incredible amount of time negotiating with the Park service to even allow climbing here, and to them: thank you. However, in my limited experience (2 visits), I've had to wait 1 hour for their determination and provide an extensive verbal climbing resume before I was given a permit 1st visit, and denied 2nd visit.
By John Roark
Feb 7, 2017
Climbing will be closed starting February 16 for peregrines according to rangers.
By John Paul Floyd
From: Atlanta
Apr 13, 2017
I just checked with the rangers on April 13th 2017 and access is still closed due to the nesting falcons.

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