Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hiking Georgia’s Tallulah Gorge North Rim Trail

After viewing the Interpretive Center’s fifteen-minute film – an excellent introduction to the whole Park – step out onto the Center’s beautifully designed back patio.

Interpretive Center Rear PatioHere’s just one of the views you’ll find out there. Then walk down the short path that leads to the North Rim Trail itself.

Oh, and don’t forget the native plant garden on the other side of the patio. The Park’s Friends Group maintains it. You may be surprised by what is and what isn’t considered native here.

03 stairs to 1From behind the Interpretive Center it’s convenient to turn left and walk a quarter-mile or so to these stairs. They’re really not as steep as they look in this photo. They’ll take you over to Outlook Number One. About the best place for ElderHikers to view the Gorge.

North Rim Wallender Tower SiteOn the way, you’ll pass the remains of an iron tower used in 1970 by 65-year-old Karl Wallenda to anchor his tightrope across the gorge on the north side. The highwire stunt drew quite a crowd, and was credited with increasing tourism in this area. Why in the world this beautiful place would need such a boost is beyond my comprehension. But here are the remains of the tower, anyway.

Once you’ve looked up and down the Gorge from the Outlook Number One viewing platform, give serious thought to hiking up to the benches you see above. I resisted the temptation, in the event. But imagine the view from there! Said to be the best in the Park.

This brings up an important feature of this trail. Especially for those of us no longer quite as mobile as we once were. Tallulah Gorge’s North and South Rim trails offer opportunities for most every visitor. From those of us who now need wheeled vehicles to get around — scooters or wheelchairs — to those intense exercise enthusiasts with carabiners clanking from their belts who pass us by in search of slippery vertical rock faces to climb.

Comfortable part of North Rim TrailQuite near the Interpretive Center on this North Rim trail you’ll even find a section paved with recycled rubber tires! This creates a surface that’s easy on ElderHikers’ knees, but solid enough for scooter or wheelchair tires.

An Unexpected Resting SpotEasy access doesn’t end with this rubberized section of trail. There are plenty of areas with smooth hard-packed dirt surfaces like the one you see above. All to the advantage of the ElderHiker.

There’s plenty more to see on this North Rim Trail. So, have a look at more photos in the Picasa slideshow below.

Tallulah Gorge North Rim Trail

So there you have it. The North Rim Trail of Tallulah Gorge in Northeast Georgia. A beautiful place to visit. Especially in the fall.

Stay tuned to this channel, since we’ll visit the South Rim Trail in the next post.

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