Mountain Traveler: Hike to the whitewater

  • Photo/Chamian Cruz Tallulah Gorge State Park is holding three whitewater-watching hikes in November, offering participants a unique experience to watch kayakers maneuver the Tallulah River. Shown is the river.
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Tallulah Gorge State Park (TGSP) is known for its gorgeous views, and hundreds of thousands of people visit the park year-round.

This fall, starting Nov. 2, TGSP will hold whitewater-watching hikes, where hikers can go down to the Sliding Rock Trail with a ranger, and watch kayakers maneuver over the rapids of the Tallulah River.

“The trail you go down is going to be the Sliding Rock Trail, where you see Bridal Veil Falls,” Jessica Weems, assistant park manager, said. “It’s a quarter of a mile, but it’s very steep, about a 45-degree incline down. You can bring a snack, bring your lunch and watch the kayakers maneuver over the rapids. You can stay for two hours and then hike back out.”

The water flowing through the gorge, Weems said, will be stronger than usual – Class IV and V rapids. She said TGSP has held the hikes for a number of years, and recommends experienced hikers participate. The hikes are not recommended for children under 10, and pets are not allowed.

“They get to see the whitewater boaters who are doing some pretty cool things,” Weems said. “It’s pretty exciting to see. We don’t typically allow people to go down there when we have that type of water release.”

The hikes are scheduled for Nov. 2, Nov. 10 and Nov. 16. All three hikes will take place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and cost $15 per person, plus the $5 parking fee. 

To sign up for the whitewater-watching hikes, call 706-754-7981. Those interested in participating may register until the day of the hike, or until the hikes fill up. Hikes may be canceled if weather conditions are not favorable.