Tallulah Falls & Gorge
This land of waterfalls and gorges was a fashionable resort with several upmarket hotels until 1913. But the construction of the Georgia Power Hydroelectric Dam changed the fate of the community, and the area became a bit of a ghost town.
At 600 feet, Tallulah Gorge is one of the deepest and most panoramic in the east. The Cherokees believed it was inhabited by a race of "little people" and that those who ventured inside never came out.
Hiking in the gorge is very strenuous. The recreational center is at the 300-acre Terrora Park and Visitor Center (tel. 706/754-7970), with picnic areas, 50 campsites with water and electrical hookups, a beach for swimming, a playground, a bathhouse, and tennis courts, along with several nature trails. Office hours are 8am to 5pm. For the campsites, call tel. 706/754-7979. Nightly campsite rentals cost $20 for campers with tents, $25 for those with RVs. Terrora Park is immediately north of the bridge over Tallulah Gorge on the west side of U.S. 441 in the town of Tallulah Falls.
About 5 miles from Tallulah Falls and some 20 miles from Alpine Helen, in Chattahoochee National Forest, Lake Rabun Recreation Area has camping sites, a fishing pier, a boat dock, hiking trails, a public beach, and picnic areas. For information about the area, call the National Forest Tallulah Ranger District at tel. 706/782-3320. The lake is also the site of one of the area's best-known hotels.
The mountain is Black Rock Mountain, setting of Black Rock Mountain State Park, so named for its dark granite cliffs. It's the highest state park in Georgia, at 3,640 feet in elevation, embracing some 1,500 acres. On a clear day, views extend for 80 miles. To reach the park, leave Mountain City and go 3 miles north of Clayton via U.S. 441. The park is open daily from 7am to 10pm year-round. It offers 48 tent and trailer sites, 11 walk-in campsites, and 10 rental cottages, plus a playground and a 17-acre lake. Campsites rent for $25, with cottages going for $110 to $130. There are six scenic overlooks and a 10-mile trail system. For more information, contact Black Rock Mountain State Park, PO Box A, Mountain City, GA 30562 (tel. 706/746-2141; www.gastateparks.org).
There's one good reason to come here: to eat. Dillard lies along Hwy. 441, 2 miles south of the North Carolina border, about a 2-hour drive north from Atlanta. It's Southern hospitality all the way here, especially at Dillard House.