Tallulah, Georgia, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (for normal flows)|
|Max Gradient||231 fpm|
|TALLULAH RIVER AB POWERHOUSE, NR TALLULAH FALLS,GA|
|usgs-02181580||450 - 1200 cfs||IV-V||00h43m||183 cfs (too low)|
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
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
5. Bridal Veil
6. Zoom Flume
7. Lynch's Wrench aka Ticket Puncher
9. Around the Corner
12. Tom's Brain Buster
13. Road to Aintry
14. Twisted Sister
15. Paddlesnake Ledge
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.
Photo of paddler Ardie Olsen at Oceana, taken by Ken Strickland from the observation deck, 1998.
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Last updated April 2014
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Last step aka The Entrance Rapid||IV+|
|0.0||Tanners Launch aka The Boof||IV|
|0.0||Playspot below Oceana||III|
|0.1||Gauntlet aka The approach to Bridal Veil||IV+|
|0.1||Second part of the Gauntlet||IV+|
|0.5||Zoom Floom aka The Groove aka The Channel||III+|
|0.6||Around the Corner||III+|
|0.7||Tom's Brain Buster||IV+|
|0.7||The Road to Aintry aka The Big Slide||IV|
|1.0||Maxwell's Last Drop||III+|
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.
Good cartwheel and loop hole.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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 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 ;-)
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.