Our first campout of 2023 will take place at Tallulah Gorge on February 17 – 19.
Thanks to Chris May, we have some helpful information to share about the campsite and the hiking trails available. If you are looking for additional details about Tallulah Gorge, check out there website [here].
Link to Pioneer Campsite: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Pioneer+Campgroundemail@example.com,-83.3962035,546m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m6!3m5!1s0x8858c7455a6b64e5:0x2c1b160a821da013!8m2!3d34.7441314!4d-83.3949047!16s%2Fg%2F11fhqnxvkh
Basic Driving Directions to Tallulah Gorge: From Atlanta: I-85 north to I-985 (I-985 turns into 365), 365 to 441 North, 441 to Tallulah Gorge. Follow signs to interpretive center either turn right or left onto Jane Hurt Yarn Drive: depending on direction of travel.
We can arrive as early as 1 pm on Friday afternoon. Patrece Keeter will be arriving close to that time to get the Troop checked-in, since there is no school in DeKalb on February 17. Please note there is a $5 fee (per car) to enter the park.
If you arrive at the campsite and no one is around, those who arrived early may go on an “easy” hike on Friday afternoon and check out the the park. Remember, eat before you come OR bring your own food for Friday night.
Here is what you can expect. Temperatures in February average a high 53 and a low of 29. Scouts and parents should prep for cold weather. The Pioneer Campsite does not have power or water. We will have access to a pit toilet (with no sink). However, the main campground is across the street from the Group Camp, and does have potable water and bath houses.
Currently, they are NOT offering any permits to the bottom of the gorge, and don’t expect to for a few weeks. From what we have been told, we need to ask at the Interpretive Center the day before (Friday upon arrival for Saturday hike OR Saturday afternoon for Sunday hike). The Interpretive Center opens at 8 am and would be the location to pick up the permits as well. Scouts and adults need to come in-person to get a permit; you can’t pick them up for other people.
Details about the available hikes are on the [map] and high level descriptions have been provided below. You can expect we will be hiking on Saturday afternoon, so bring comfortable hiking shoes/clothing.
- Gorge Floor / Sliding Rock Trail – 3 miles round-trip, 550 steps each way, very difficult – We are unlikely to get a permit for this one. Anyone taking on this one will need to be in decent shape or take a lot of breaks.
- Stoneplace Trail – 10 miles round-trip, moderately difficult – Requires permit from Interpretive Center before 10 am on the day of hike. Scouts and adults looking for an all day hike might be interested.
- North / South Rim Trails – These likely will be the best trails for most people on this trip. In total, they are about 3 miles, along the rim, with multiple overlooks on each side of the gorge. Getting between them can be done by going out the the highway and crossing the bridge on US-441 (suggested) or by taking the deep plunge on Hurricane Falls Trail.
- Hurricane Falls Trail – Sounds very strenuous, 1100 stairs – a connecting trail between the north and south rims of the gorge that crosses a suspension bridge. If people wanted to try this trail, it may be best to leave a car on the opposite side so they don’t have to go down and up out of the gorge twice. You do not need a permit for this trail.
- Inspiration Loop Trail (1.5 miles) & High Bluff Trail (3 miles) – You need permits for these and both are also used as mountain bike trails.
- Shortline Trail – 3 miles, paved, easy trail – along old railroad. Access by crossing over US-441 directly across from park entrance.
Another potential “to do” on this campout is a service day on Saturday morning. Jim Carey has shared that the Firefox Museum has a community workday on February 18, 9 am – 12 pm. Details can be found [here], but the locations is only about 15 miles from the gorge. This may be a good opportunity for any Scouts looking to earn service hours. We will discuss as a group about participating in this service project.
Deadline to sign-up has now passed, and we need anyone signed-up to pay for the Tallulah Gorge campout is February 7. The cost is $15 per person (Scouts and adults). Please note, we do not want anyone to ever miss out on camping due to the cost of food. If you have a financial hardship, please e-mail or call/speak to Jean Hilyard before the deadline for signing-up and paying.