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Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park
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The Tallulah Gorge State Park Destination is home to a variety of attractions, namely the Black Rock Mountain State Park, Blue Ridge Mountains, Panther Creek Recreation Area, Stanford Stadium, Bear Hollow Zoo, Georgia Museum of Art, and Tallulah Gorge State Park, the namesake of the destination.[2][1] Tallulah Gorge State Park is 2,739 acres of land that has hiking trails, a river that courses through the gorge, camping areas, and picnic areas, among other activities. The gorge is “bounded upstream by a hydroelectric dam,” and the river has scheduled release of water that typically occur in the spring and fall.[3] Weather in the area changes throughout the year, ranging between 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit on average. The best time to visit Athens for warm-weather activities is between the end of April to June, as well as the end of August to mid-October, according to a tourism score from WeatherSpark.[4] Athens' history dates back two centuries ago since it was first settled in 1801.[5] The city has grown since being established and currently has a population of 127,793 people.[6] 

What Tallulah Gorge State Park is known for

Tallulah Gorge State Park Destination is located primarily in the state of Georgia in the northeast corner of the state’s perimeters. Situated in the region is the Tallulah Gorge State Park, the destination’s namesake. This geographical feature is about two miles long, with some of the gorge reaching almost 1,000 feet deep.[1] Tallulah Falls and six additional waterfalls are some of the “major attractions of the gorge.” The gorge initially started to pick up traction as a tourist destination in 1882 after the completion of a local railroad.[3] Currently, the park offers various activities and things to do within the premises, including biking, fishing, geocaching, paddling, picnicking, rock climbing, swimming, and hiking. Swimming can be engaged in at the 63-acre lake that is adorned with a sand beach. Other park features are playgrounds, a visitor center, a suspension bridge, a picnic shelter, and 50 camping sites.[1]

Places that guests can visit that are relatively close to the state park are the Alpine Village of Helen, Black Rock Mountain State Park, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Panther Creek Recreation Area.[1] The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is an attraction found within the destination, mainly around the city of Athens. This garden is known for its “scenic trails and exquisite gardens.” The region also contains Stanford Stadium; Bear Hollow Zoo; Georgia Museum of Art, which features the American arts and Italian Renaissance paintings; Morton Theatre; and Taylor-Grady House, which showcases Greek Revival architecture.[2]

The city of Athens is the “5th-largest city in Georgia” in regard to population. Currently, the city has a population of 127,793 people. This current population has grown by 0.51% since the 2020 census. In terms of population density, there is an average of 1,125 people per square mile.[6] Athens is considered to be a “consolidated city-county and college town” and is known for being a “pervasive college town culture and music scene centered in downtown Athens.”[5] Other cities in the destination include Gainesville, Lavonia, Cornelia, and Jefferson, among others.


The city of Athens, located in the Tallulah Gorge State Park Destination, is located in a humid subtropical climate zone, meaning the area has “hot, humid summers and mild to moderately cold winters.” Average temperatures for Athens typically range from 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Between the end of May to mid-September, the average daily high is typically above 83 degrees, making this time period the “hot season.” As for the “cold season” for Athens, which is from the end of November to the end of February, temperatures are generally around 61 degrees Fahrenheit. For warm-weather activities, it is suggested that guests visit between late April to the beginning of June or from the end of August to mid-October. These time frames are said to be the “best times of year to visit Athens.”[4]

Atlanta, Georgia, is situated just outside the destination, near the region’s southwestern corner. Cities closest to Atlanta include Braselton, Winder, Watkinsville, and Athens. Another notable location is the Tallulah Gorge State Park, which is the destination’s namesake. In total, the park consists of 2,739 acres, making the park two miles long. The gorge itself reaches a depth of about 1,000 feet deep in some parts. With a permit, visitors can hike through the gorge’s floor. However, there are other hikes in the park one can do without the need for a permit. In total, there are about 20 miles of trails. The 63-acre lake in the area offers water activities, such as swimming and paddling.[1] The Tallulah Gorge is also “bounded upstream by a hydroelectric dam,” which has reduced the normal flow of water. With the intent to raise water levels, those who operate the dam schedule specific times in spring and fall to do “large releases of water[, which] are typically scheduled for kayaking and whitewater rafting.”[3] 

Tallulah Gorge State Park is home to “unusual and endangered species,” specifically the persistent trillium, monkeyface orchid, hairy mock-orange, green salamander, and grass-of-Parnassus.[7] Visitors typically spot the green salamander and monkey-faced orchid during hikes through the gorge. Deer, raccoons, different species of birds, fish, and foxes are all types of wildlife that live in the park.[8]


The Tallulah Gorge State Park, the destination’s namesake, was not officially established as a state park until 1993 by Zell Miller, the Georgia governor at the time. The development of the park was a “result of cooperation with Georgia Power.” However, talk of developing the park started nearly a century prior, in 1905. Despite the fact that the area wasn’t a state park until 1993, the gorge was still a popular attraction since 1882 when “tourism intensified.”[3] 

Athens, Georgia, a city in the Tallulah Gorge State Park Destination, was settled over two centuries ago in 1801. Initially, a trading post was established along the banks of the Oconee River. Before the town was officially settled, Georgia General Assembly granted Abraham Baldwin a charter for the University of Georgia, which also became “the first state-supported university.” After acquiring more land and donating it to the university, John Milledge named the area Athens “after the city that was home to the Platonic Academy of Plato and Aristotle in Classical Greece.” December of 1806 was when the region officially became a town. Athens continued to grow, mainly through cotton mills, which are attributed to “fueling the industrial and commercial development.” During the 1880s, Athens was starting to become more populated, resulting in more city services such as the Athens Police Department. Another notable part of Athens’ history was its involvement in the Civil Rights Movement due to Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes becoming the first black students to enroll at the University of Georgia.[5]

Athens has a relatively wide demographic of residents, with the primary race being white at 61.88%, while African American residents make up the second-largest racial group in the area at 28.24%. Other races in Athens include Asian (3.95%) and Native American residents (0.18%). Currently, the population has an annual growth rate of 0.17%.[6]