Georgia’s Tallulah River has just one weekend left this year for paddlers to run its rapids on November 17-18. The waterfalls flowing through Tallulah Gorge State Park grow to more than 10 times their normal flows during releases, drawing kayakers from across the country.
On a typical day, the water flow through the gorge is 35-40 CFS, but during releases the flow is 500 CFS on Saturday and 700 CFS on Sunday. Camping and cabins are available nearby at Black Rock Mountain State Park.
Boaters are allowed on the water once the level stabilizes at about 9:30 a.m.; the water is turned off at 4 p.m. All boaters must start down the stairs by 3 p.m. to beat the flow down to the lake; and everyone must sign a waiver at the top of the stairs to be permitted to paddle. Continue to park across the road from the put-in for a $5 fee per vehicle, and go under the bridge to cross the road.
Here are a few things to remember on your trip to the Tallulah:
1. SHUTTLES & TAKE-OUT PARKING
New this fall, the $5 Park Use Pass will be required for both the Put-In and Take-Out parking areas and will only be available for purchase at the Put-In, so head there first and leave as many vehicles there as possible. Avoid overcrowding of the Take-Out Parking lot and, for safety reasons, please make sure everyone is off the water and out of the Take-Out area by 5 p.m.
2. VOLUNTEER INFORMATION
Tallulah releases are dependent on volunteers who help manage boater access. Those paddling the Tallulah can also help out as volunteers by taking the 8-12 shift and then go paddling in the afternoon. The third weekend, Nov 17 and 18, is sponsored by the Georgia Canoeing Association with Kate Wilkerson coordinating. If you have any questions or would like to sign up as a volunteer for any of the releases please email Laura Dillon: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. DON’T TRAMPLE THE TRILLIUM
Keep boats and bodies on the steps, bedrock, or water at all times, especially at the bottom of the stairs where some boaters jump the right rail or throw their boats vertically over the back of the platform. Also keep impact on the riverbank to a minimum when scouting rapids.
4. NO ALCOHOL IS ALLOWED
Remember that alcohol is prohibited on all Georgia State Parks property.
5. KEEP ALL DOGS ON LEASHES
All dogs must be kept on six-foot leashes. The owners of unattended dogs, dogs not on leashes, or of animals locked in cars that the park deems as hazardous will be ticketed.
Don’t forget, there would be no releases in Tallulah Gorge if it were not for the hard work of American Whitewater staff and volunteers.