Difficulty IV-V
Length Miles
Gauge TALLULAH RIVER AB POWERHOUSE, NR TALLULAH FALLS,GA
Flow Range 450 - 1200 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 4 hours ago 42.4 [CFS]
Next Release 2019-11-02
Reach Info Last Updated 04/08/2019 9:42 pm

River Description


Gauge Description:
Flows are typically 500 cfs on Saturday and 700 cfs on Sunday of release weekends.
The gage is included for those who want to check back after a run, especially for those days when a 700-cfs release was planned, but Georgia Power actually released 1000 cfs.


This is a CL IV-V run and deserves the respect and paddler responsibility associated with this rating. Follow the AW safety code and enjoy paddlin' this Southern Jewel.

Releases on the first two weekends in April and first three weekends in November.
The gorge is reputed to have a gradient better than 200 ft/mi.

Inflatable Policy for the Tallulah Gorge - Updated 2014

Volunteers needed

Tallulah Gorge State Park needs some help to manage the releases on the Tallulah.  Volunteering only takes a few hours, you can easily boat and volunteer in the same day.  If you are interested in volunteering contact Laura Dillon.

From StreamTeam Volunteer Don Kinser:
Here is the consensus list of rapid names from those discussions:
1. Last Step
2. Tanner's Launch
3. Oceana
4. Gauntlet
5. Bridal Veil
6. Zoom Flume
7. Lynch's Wrench aka Ticket Puncher
8. Amplitheater
9. Around the Corner
10. Tit
11. Tat
12. Tom's Brain Buster
13. Road to Aintry
14. Twisted Sister
15. Paddlesnake Ledge
16. Powerhouse
17. Maxwell's Last Drop
18. Damned lake

This is a river which requires Class-V skills. Most rapids can be read-and-run by V paddlers, though Oceana and some other rapids are usually scouted.

Directions: From Atlanta: take I-985 north and head for 365 north and Highway 23 and Highway 441. Tallulah Falls is located 12 miles north of Clarkesville on Highway 23-441. Just before the bridge crossing the river, take a left into the grassy field.
From the north: from Chattanooga, TN: Take I-775 north to Rte. 40 east, to US 64 east. In Franklin, head south on US Rte. 23/441 through Clayton. Tallulah Falls is 12 miles south of Clayton. Just after the bridge crosses the river, hang a right into the grassy field.
From Hendersonville, NC: Head west on US-64. Hang a left onto US-23/441, and proceed as above.

Camping: There is a campground at Tallulah Gorge State Park, and Georgia Power maintains a primitive campground near the takeout at Tugalo Park.

Taking out at Tugalo Dam (Not Tugalo State Park): American Whitewater has been asked by GA State Parks and GA Power to inform the boating community that take out access at Tugalo Dam closes at 5:00PM. Please plan to leave the take out area by 5:00PM on all Tallulah release days. GA Power and GA Parks are also concerned about partying at the take out post paddle. Apre' paddle activities are best taken to your campsite. The paddling community has a positive relationship with GA Power and the Park, thank you for your cooperation in maintaining the partnership.

Fun facts: It's a long walk to the putin, down something like 600 steps!
After the whitewater theres about 1.5 miles of flatwater across Tugaloo Lake to the takeout at Tugalo dam. From the parking lot to the lake is about 650 vertical feet. Parking lot is 1550ish and the lake is 900. Subtract 300 or so feet in steps, and that puts the gradient at close to 300 feet a mile. If anyone can give us an exact put-in altitude, please add it in the comments section.

Thanks to the AWA boaters have had releases in Tallulah Gorge since November 1997.
John Bell's account of the first decent of Tallulah Gorge, May 1993.
Tallulah has been permit free since the November 2001 Releases.

You can read some history of the area by clicking here and here.

Photo of paddler Ardie Olsen at Oceana, taken by Ken Strickland from the observation deck, 1998.

This page works best at 1024x768 resolution.
Last updated April 2014

Rapid Descriptions

Put-In

Class - 5.0 Mile - 0
592 stairs with a 45 pound boat on your shoulder.

Last step aka The Entrance Rapid

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.01
After sliding into the pool from the deck there is about 20 feet of flatwater before the first rapid. The first rapid goes about 30 feet before running into the cliff wall and taking a 90 degree left turn.
Its usually run by boofing off a three foot tall ledge in the center aiming between two rocks, then punching a pourover hole before getting typewritered to the left and punching another hole.
The first rapid is one of the more difficult on the river. Just below is a good cartwheel hole.

Tanners Launch aka The Boof

Class - IV Mile - 0.02

Just after the first rapid is a short pool, followed by a horizon line. The common line is the auto boof on the right. There is a center line that feeds into a large hole, but I have not seen this line run often since the first week of releases.
After landing the boof the river necks down thru a 10 foot wide slot.

Oceana

Class - 5.1 Mile - 0.03

Playspot below Oceana

Class - III Mile - 0.04

Good cartwheel and loop hole.

Gauntlet aka The approach to Bridal Veil

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.05

A long convoluted rapid with some offset ledges and a nasty pourover. The general line is a little to the right of center, boofing off of the first ledge, then keeping it straight to punch the holes. The final move is busting the diagnol ledge/hole on the right and grabbing the eddy by the cliff. There is a piton rock after the first boof to be avoided, land flat. Too far left gets you close to an undercut. To far right and you might get typewritered into the eddy behind the pyramid rock and into the trees. Most people catch an eddy at the bottom right against the cliff before making the ferry over to the river left set-up eddy for Bridal Veil.

Second part of the Gauntlet

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.06

Final Approach

Class - III+ Mile - 0.4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
After peeling out of the river right cliffside eddy at the bottom of the Gauntlet, go to the right of the midstream stand of trees. Just below the trees is hole that keeps getting more sticky every year. A few years back a boat without floatbags washed into the hole and never surfaced until the water was turned off. Swimming out of the hole will probably lead to a swim of Bridal Veil. After the hole cut hard to the left to catch the Bridal Veil eddy. Its best to make sure there is not too big a crowd in the Bridal Veil eddy before peeling into this rapid - or you might wind up running Bridal Veil blind.

Bridal Veil

Class - 5.0 Mile - 0.5

A good sized slide with an evil hole. Bridal Veil is usually scouted (and portaged) from the left bank. From the river left set-up eddy there is a small but sticky river wide hole to punch. While the top hole looks harmless, people have swum out of it and ended up swimming the entire drop. The standard line down Bridal Veil is to punch the top hole about 5 feet off the left bank, then hug the left bank and punch the left corner of the hole at the bottom. While the middle line has been run, it is generally avoided because it feeds you into the meat of the hole.

In case of emergency there is a trail out of the gorge at Bridal Veil on river right.

Zoom Floom aka The Groove aka The Channel

Class - III+ Mile - 0.51

One of the most fun rapids anywhere!! After coming out of the Bridal Veil eddy follow the main current between the two large boulders, then cut to the left and follow the narrow channel back upstream. From there just drop into the narrow channel up against the river left bank. What you have is about a hundred foot long waterpark type slide that is maybe 4 to 5 feet wide. Big Fun!!

Lynch's Wrench

Class - IV Mile - 0.53

On the first decent Walt Lynch dislocated a shoulder here. Lynch's tends to separate a number of boaters from their boats. The top move is about a 7 foot boof, landing in some squirlly water with a major cross current and a good sized hole. After getting hammered here for years my preferred line is to boof right to left into an eddy behind the center rock, then peel out and run the rest of the rapid down the right. After the first boof there are three good sized holes to punch before the eddy above amplitheatre.

Amplitheatre

Class - IV Mile - 0.55
The top ledge of this rapid is the crux. Its not a tough move at 500 cfs, but at 700 cfs the hole gets a bad attitude. After the top hole the rest of the rapid is a wavetrain. There is a nice eddy river left that sets you up to play on two of the waves.

Around the Corner

Class - III+ Mile - 0.6

From a small leaky eddy you'll see a midstream rock. You can run either side of the midstream rock down a shallow bumpy sliding drop. On the bottom right is a minor hole.

Tit

Class - III+ Mile - 0.63
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Seen from above this drop is about 10 feet wide with a small rock bisecting the middle. Bang off the right side of the ledge, then go to the left of the trees growing midstream, from there work back to the right to catch the small leaky eddy above the next drop.
There is also a sizeable eddy on river left, but just over then next horizon line on river left is a pretty significant undercut.
At 700 cfs this drop and the next tend to become one rapid.

Tat

Class - IV Mile - 0.66
A flattish pool leading up to a horizon line spit by a shallow midstream rock. The bottom left of this drop features a pretty nasty undercut.
Most people run right of the center rock for that reason. On the right side aim for the middle where there is a break in the hole at the base of the slide. At higher flows (700 cfs) the hole at the base of the slide gets pretty beefy. The break in the hole is still there, but being off line will lead to a surf. I've seen three boaters getting surfed in the hole at once. On Sundays there is a sneak far river right thru the trees.

Tom's Brain Buster

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.69

The standard line is to run down the far right hand side, punch the holes, stay upright, and go for the eddy at the bottom. I've also seen experts catch 5 eddies in this rapid. Lots of people have gotten hammered at Toms. Tom Jackson for one.

The Road to Aintry aka The Big Slide

Class - IV Mile - 0.7

The longest single rapid on the river. Most people tend to slide over a few small ledges to the river right eddy and boatscout. From there most head toward midstream and start down the slide. From the top you see a large midstream boulder at the base of the drop. That rock is not really a problem, you can go around either side of it, or if the river is over about 800 cfs boof right over it. What you can't really see from the top is the hole just in front of the rock. Its a big one!! The good new is that most of the time you'll be going so fast that you blow right thru the hole. Most of the time ;-)

Twisted Sister

Class - III+ Mile - 0.72
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
A long wave train with a couple of holes hidden along the way. At the bottom is an S-Turn move around a boulder with a good play wave/hole below that.

Paddlesnake Ledge

Class - IV Mile - 0.8
Another big sloping ledge rapid, but blind from the top. The standard line is to start in the top right eddy, ferry across the top, cut over the top curler wave then ride the slide from top left to bottom right punching the fluffy hole at the bottom. Its sorta like a reverse version of Jawbone on the Chattooga.

Below this is another wave that sees some play.

Powerhouse

Class - III+ Mile - 0.9
The powerhouse features a low head dam. The hole is strongest on the right. There is a break in the hole on the left center side of the dam. Just below the dam is the USGS gauge. Most of the water below the dam splats into a vertical cliff wall. Therefore lots of boaters tend to splat the wall too!

Maxwell's Last Drop

Class - III+ Mile - 1

A series of easy medium sized ledges just below the powerhouse. Its the last whitewater before the lake paddle. There is one hole of note, the entire river necks down and makes a 5 foot tall ramp into a squirlly hole. This one was knocking a bunch of people over recently. You can miss the hole by boofing off the ledge on the far right.

Comments

default user thumbnail
n/a
|
7 years ago

Tugaloo

default user thumbnail
Abel Valdes
|
7 years ago

Video of all the rapids with names and standard lines @ 700 cfs release. http://youtu.be/bOHzpFNdIQM

default user thumbnail
BradR
|
16 years ago

From the parking lot to the lake is about 650 vertical feet. Parking lot is 1550ish and the lake is 900.

Release Schedule

Date Start Time End Time Flow
11/02/2019 08:00:00 16:00:00 500-500
11/09/2019 08:00:00 16:00:00 500-500
11/16/2019 08:00:00 16:00:00 500-500
11/03/2019 08:00:00 16:00:00 700-700
11/10/2019 08:00:00 16:00:00 700-700
11/17/2019 08:00:00 16:00:00 700-700

Gage Descriptions

Flows are typically 500 cfs on Saturday and 700 cfs on Sunday of release weekends.
The gage is included for those who want to check back after a run, especially for those days when a 700-cfs release was planned, but Georgia Power actually released 1000 cfs.

Directions Description


From Atlanta: take I-985 north and head for 365 north and Highway 23 and Highway 441. Tallulah Falls is located 12 miles north of Clarkesville on Highway 23-441. Just before the bridge crossing the river, take a left into the grassy field.
From the north: from Chattanooga, TN: Take I-775 north to Rte. 40 east, to US 64 east. In Franklin, head south on US Rte. 23/441 through Clayton. Tallulah Falls is 12 miles south of Clayton. Just after the bridge crosses the river, hang a right into the grassy field.
From Hendersonville, NC: Head west on US-64. Hang a left onto US-23/441, and proceed as above.

Camping: There is a campground at Tallulah Falls State Park, and Georgia Power maintains a primitive campground near the takeout at Tugalo Dam.

This is a river which requires Class-V skills. Most rapids can be read-and-run by V paddlers, though Oceana and some other rapids are usually scouted.

No Accident Reports

Alerts

News

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Southeast Advanced Release Schedule Set for 2019!

12/4/2018
Kevin Colburn

It is looking like another great year to be a paddler in the Southeast! Over the past two decades American Whitewater has worked with affiliate clubs and partners to negotiate an awesome array of scheduled releases on river reaches previously dewatered by hydropower dams. Each year we help schedule these releases in an integrated manner that aims to maximize their recreational value. Read on to see the great line up for 2019! 

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2018 Advanced Southeast Release Schedule Set!

1/7/2018
Kevin Colburn

It is looking like another great year to be a paddler in the Southeast! Over the past two decades American Whitewater has worked with affiliate clubs and partners to negotiate an awesome array of scheduled releases on river reaches previously dewatered by hydropower dams. Each year we are part of a process to schedule these releases in an integrated manner that aims to maximize their recreational value. Check out the outstanding line up for 2018. 

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Cancelled 2017 Spring Tallulah Releases Rescheduled

6/22/2017
Kevin Colburn

Earlier this year, Georgia Power cancelled two weekends of recreational releases on Tallulah Gorge because of emergency mechanical repairs required on the dam's gates. Representatives of the Atlanta Whitewater Club, American Whitewater, Georgia Canoeing Association, Georgia Power, and the Tallulah Gorge State Park met in May to discuss rescheduling the releases. Agreement was reached and recently finalized, based on a suite of constraints, to make the lost releases up on December 9 and 10, 2017 and April 21 and 22, 2018.

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Spring Tallulah Releases Postponed (GA)

3/27/2017
Kevin Colburn

Southern Company announced today that they are cancelling (eg postponing) the spring recreational releases on the Tallulah Gorge. The cancellation occured because they decided to conduct emergency maintenance work on a spillway gate atop their 103 year old dam. Southern Company is required to reschedule these releases as soon as practicable by their federal license and the related settlement agreement with American Whitewater and other groups.

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Advanced Southeast Releases Set for 2017!

1/4/2017
Kevin Colburn

It is looking like another great year to be a paddler in the Southeast! Over the past two decades American Whitewater has worked with affiliate clubs and partners to negotiate an awesome array of scheduled releases on river reaches previously dewatered by hydropower dams. Enjoy these incredible opportunities, and be safe out there!

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Southeast Advanced Release Schedule Set For 2016!

12/1/2015
Kevin Colburn

Tis the season when American Whitewater works with power companies and other groups to schedule the coming year's dam releases in the Southeast. In addition to hundreds of releases on Class I-III rivers like the Nantahala, Tuckasegee, and Catawba, we put together an outstanding integrated schedule of Class IV and V opportunities. Check it out!  

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Fall Tallulah (GA) Information For 2014

10/18/2014
Mark Singleton

The first three weekends in November mark classic boating in the southeast with releases on the Tallulah River. Release weekends are November 1 & 2, 8 & 9, and 15 & 16. The river flows through Tallulah Gorge State Park, the Park has specific regulations for visitors.

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Fall 2013 Tallulah (GA) Release Reminders

10/10/2013
Mark Singleton

The first three weekends of November in the southeast are scheduled Tallulah releases, a stapel of dixi boating. Here are a couple quick reminders for Tallulah releases.

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Spring Tallulah Releases are Coming Up!

3/13/2013
Kevin Colburn

Tallulah releases for spring 2013 are going to be held on April 6, 7 and 13, 14. Releases begin at 9:30 am and all boaters must start down the stairs by 3:00 pm to beat the flow down to the lake. Releases on Saturday are 500 cfs and Sunday releases are 700 cfs.

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Spring 2012 Tallulah Releases

3/9/2012
Mark Singleton

Spring Tallulah (GA) release are on track for the first and second weekends of April. Release dates are April 7, 8 and 14, 15. Releases on Saturday are 500 cfs and Sunday releases are 700 cfs.

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Tallulah (GA) Releases Are Scheduled For Fall 2011

10/13/2011
Mark Singleton

Tallulah releases are scheduled to happen this fall! American Whitewater received notification that fall whitewater releases on the Tallulah River will occur the first three weekends of November.

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Tallulah (GA) Update On Status Of Dam Repair Work

6/9/2011
Mark Singleton

American Whitewater and AW lead volunteers that assist with Tallulah releases met with GA Power and the Tallulah Gorge State Park to discuss repairs that are taking place on the dam to repair gates damaged in a heavy rain event back in August of 2010.

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Tallulah Releases (GA) For May 2011 Are Cancelled

4/8/2011
Mark Singleton

American Whitewater received notice that GA Power is canceling May Tallulah boating releases due to ongoing repairs of dam gates.

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Tallulah (GA) Update for Spring 2011

2/20/2011
Mark Singleton

Spring 2011 releases on the Tallulah River (GA) are being rescheduled. American Whitewater received notice from GA Power that spring Tallulah releases are not likely to occur in the first two weekends of April.

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Fall Tallulah Releases Are Cancelled (GA)

9/30/2010
Mark Singleton

American Whitewater received notice from Georgia Power notifying us that the fall Tallulah releases are cancelled for 2010 due to a broken dam gate.

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Spring Tallulah (GA) Reminders for 2010

3/10/2010
Mark Singleton

Tallulah releases are on track for this spring. Scheduled releases occur the first two weekends in April. Release dates for April 2010 are 3, 4 and 10, 11. On Saturday 500 cfs is released and on Sunday 700 cfs.

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Fall Tallulah Season Reminders for 2009

10/16/2009
Mark Singleton

After a two-year drought in the southeast, Tallulah releases are on track for this fall. Scheduled releases occur the first three weekends in November. Release dates for November 2009 are 7 & 8, 14 & 15, and 21 & 22. On Saturday 500 cfs is released and on Sunday 700 cfs.

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New AW and LVM Video Podcast Up: The Tallulah (GA)

4/15/2009
Jeffrey Paine

American Whitewater Board Member Rich Bowers and AW's Jeff Paine talk with John Grace over at LVM about AW's work to secure releases on the Tallulah Gorge in Georgia.

Highlights include video from the past weekend's release and Rich telling the story of a power company official's change of heart the moment he saw Oceana with water in it for the first time. Check it out!

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Tallulah Fall Releases Cancelled Due to Drought

10/22/2008
Mark Singleton

Due to the prolonged absence of southeastern rainfall, American Whitewater received the following letter from the Southern Company (Georgia Power) dated October 22, canceling fall releases on the Tallulah River. The Southern Company letter is posted on the "read more" link.

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Time for the Tallulah!

3/27/2008
Ben Van Camp

With the Southeast struggling with one of the worst draughts of recent years last fall the annual relases for the Tallulah Gorge were cancelled.  With some recent rain in the Southeast AW has received the official nod that the there is enough water to run the releases in April.  The releases through this spectacular gorge are the first two weekends in April.  Here are a few reminders on the Tallulah releases in case we have forgotten anything in the past year.

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Inflatable Policy for the Tallulah Gorge

1/24/2003
Sutton Bacon

The Fall 2002 Tallulah season provided evidence that the policy is not clear enough in regard to what constitutes a "qualified inflatable," and that the inflatable policy must be clarified. Through the consensus of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Power, American Whitewater, Georgia Canoeing Association, and the Atlanta Whitewater Club, a new policy was created to alleviate any confusion surrounding the issue.

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Sutton Bacon

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Mark Singleton

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Jeff Paine

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Chris Gorman

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Steve McLuckie

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Kevin Colburn

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190300 05/10/08 Sutton Bacon n/a
1196258 10/16/09 Mark Singleton
1201662 11/12/12 Jeff Paine Updated Volunteer Name and Email
1203053 02/06/14 Mark Singleton drop noc shuttleinfo
1203056 02/11/14 Mark Singleton partying at take out
1203057 02/11/14 Mark Singleton spacing edits
1203058 02/11/14 Mark Singleton
1203060 02/12/14 Mark Singleton
1203270 04/15/14 Chris Gorman Updated Photos
1204516 04/14/15 Chris Gorman Updated Photos
1207198 01/26/17 Steve McLuckie unlinked dead link
1207199 01/26/17 Steve McLuckie edited links
1210499 11/05/18 Kevin Colburn directions
1210500 11/05/18 Kevin Colburn eliminated confusing "Tugalo Park"
1211877 04/08/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1211878 04/08/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1211880 04/08/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1211881 04/08/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position
1211882 04/08/19 Kevin Colburn updated image position