Sunday October 31st, we headed out to Clayton for our annual fall colors road trip. Of course, we left early to have plenty of time to explore along the way.
On the way we stopped at Tallulah Gorge State Park. Our plan was to hike the North Rim and South Rim…but we end up crossing the swinging bridge to get back to the North Rim instead of walking the long way.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
North Rim Trail
Access this trail behind Interpretive Center. It is approximately 3/4-mile one-way, moderate with some inclines and stairs. This trail has five Scenic Overlooks described below
1. Best southern view into the gorge. Oceana Falls is below, with Bridal Veil Falls at the far end of the gorge. Tightrope walker Karl Wallenda walked from this overlook to his tower on the south rim in 1970. Another aerialist, Professor Leon, made a similar walk from the north to the south rim in 1886. Gorge depth is 750 feet.
2. View of L’Eau d’Or (pronounced Ladore) Falls, top of Tempesta Falls, and Hawthorne Cascade and Pool. Gorge depth is 350 feet.
3. View of L’Eau d’Or Falls, Hawthorne Pool, and remains of a water compressor plant used in building Tallulah Falls Dam.
4. Good view of Tallulah Falls Dam (completed in 1913) and upper portions of the gorge.
5. View of upper gorge and southern view to Hawthorne Pool and Overlooks 2 and 3. Gorge depth is 250 feet.
There is also inspiration point that is past overlook 1. It is worth the hike to get there (there is about 200 ft elevation gain and some stairs).
If you continue past Overlook 5, you can continue on and then cross over the overpass to get to the South Rim trail.
South Rim Trail
Located on the opposite side of the gorge from the Interpretive Center and is approximately 3/4-mile one-way, moderate with inclines. This trail has five Scenic Overlooks described below:
6. View of Hawthorne Pool, North Rim Trail Overlooks 2 and 3, top of Tempesta Falls and down gorge towards Hurricane Falls. Gorge depth is 350 feet.
7. View of Hawthorne Pool, Tempesta Falls and Pool. Gorge depth is 400 feet.
8. View of Hurricane Falls and Pool, “Devil’s Pulpit” outcrop below, and the Interpretive Center is across the gorge. Gorge depth is 500 feet.
9. View of Hurricane Falls, Oceana Falls, Caledonia Cascade (600 feet), and North Rim Overlook 1. Gorge depth is 650 feet.
10. View of Caledonia Cascade and the Wallenda north tower area. Bluff to far right is approximately 1,000 feet high.
Once we finished all the overlooks on the South Rim, we went down into the gorge (from South side) via stairs to the swinging bridge and back up the stairs into the North Rim of the Gorge.
Tallulah Gorge State Park was packed. It was really hard to ever get to see and take a photo at each overlook. You had to wait your turn to get into a position to view into the Gorge.
After hiking, we checked into our AirBnB. We stayed at the Little Red Roof Tiny House in Clayton. You can stay here too!! Click here to see its listing on AirBnB.
After we checked in, we went into Clayton to eat dinner at Fortify Pi. We had the Van Helsing Pi. If a pizza could taste like fall this is it. It had butternut squash, garlic, onion, mozzarella, ricotta and herbs.
Be sure to check out Wander North Georgia in Clayton too for anything related to hiking and exploring! They have a ton of novelty items too.
Minnehaha, Panther and Angel Falls
Monday, we woke up and headed to Minnehaha Falls. It was just as beautiful as I remembered and the fall colors were showing through. Minnehaha is a very short hike at .4 miles round trip and worth every second. We were the only ones on the trail and at the falls, so it was very nice! I had all the room and time to be as creative as I liked.
After Minnehaha Falls we went to the Angel Falls Trailhead. We started at the Trailhead from the main road. We hiked in and first thing we came to was the campground. Once you pass the campground, there is a small footbridge and little cascade to the right. The hike to the first falls is relatively easy. The first falls you get to is Panther Falls. It was beautiful and the fall colors were popping. If you continue up the trail, you reach Angel Falls. Angel Falls is large but the rhododendron around the falls block a lot of the view of the falls. If you start heading up and it’s too tough, I honestly wouldn’t waste my time and energy to see these falls unless you just want the challenge. The whole way up to both falls, we didn’t see any other hikers. On the way down the trail, we passed maybe 6-8 people. This trail never got too busy while we were there.
We got grabbed a quick lunch and headed towards Highlands, North Carolina. We went to Dry Falls first. Dry Falls is located right outside of Highlands. You also pass Bridal Veil Falls on the way from Highlands to Dry Falls. Dry Falls is one of my must visits when in the area. Every season it looks so different so I take every opportunity to see it. Dry Falls parking lot was almost full when we got there; it was quite busy. When we left there was a line just to get into the parking lot. Plan ahead and go early if you want freedom without the crowds. We got there later and had to battle the crowds for good views.
After we left Dry Falls, we took a drive over to Franklin just to see the fall colors. We grabbed Starbucks and drove back to Highlands. We arrived before our dinner reservations, so we checked out Tug for a few pre-dinner drinks.
After our pre-dinner cocktails, we headed to Wild Thyme for dinner. I had the Fried Green Tomatoes and Pan Seared Trout. The trout is served with a compound butter that is to die for! After a delicious dinner, we headed back to Clayton.
North Georgia Wine Tour
Tuesday we woke up and grabbed breakfast. Our tour guide, Jason picked us up at 11:00 for our Wine Tasting Tour. Jason is the owner of Alpine North Georgia Wine Tasting and Tour; he takes great pride in offering a true experience for you. The route he drove to the first winery was so beautiful. He took a longer route, so that we could enjoy the colors. The colors were very vivid. Our first stop was Habersham Winery. We had been here before, so I knew it wasn’t anything special…but the next wineries were much more memorable.
Our next stop was lunch. We stopped at Clyde’s in Cleveland for lunch. Then we went to Cavender Creek Winery, the Cottage Winery and last Yonah Mountain Winery.
The cottage winery was our favorite, as far as the wines and views; it was also the most warm and inviting.
Mount Yonah had beautiful views and grounds. Mount Yonah Winery seemed to commercialized and somewhat cold though. The wine flight selections there were already picked for you too, so we couldn’t really personalize our tasting to our liking.
Our tour guide also took us by Universal Joint to pick up dinner…because we had been drinking wine all day, so we were in no state to drive. Then he took us back the the AirBnB and we called it a night.
Wednesday we woke up and headed home. We had a meeting with our builder to go over design selections for our new house, so we had to leave early.
We enjoyed our little fall getaway and are counting down until our next adventure. We are headed to Spain the day after Thanksgiving!
Until then, be sure to see something new right around you!