Experience the Best Tallulah Gorge Kayaking

Do you love the challenge of Class IV-V rapids and the adrenaline rush of a bustling river, mist in your face, and breathtaking scenery? Then you must experience Tallulah Gorge kayaking at the November water release in Tallulah Falls GA. Kayaking enthusiasts will come to the North Georgia Mountains from near and far for Tallulah Gorge’s Kayak Race each November.  This is guaranteed to be an exciting event in the Tallulah Gorge State Park, so learn everything you need to know and make plans to attend today!

History of Tallulah Gorge Kayaking

Tallulah Gorge kayaking dates back long ago, to a time when the Tallulah River carved its way through the Tallulah Dome rock formation and naturally created beautiful rapids and rushing waterfalls through the two-mile gorge. But in 1913, the river was dammed to create Tallulah Falls Lake and hydroelectric power. For more than 80 years, the Tallulah River was only a shadow of its former self, but in the mid-1990s, kayakers were given the opportunity to reclaim their North Georgia playground.

At that time, the Federal Agency Regulatory Commission was forced to look at alternate uses of the Tallulah River as part of the re-licensing process for the Georgia Power Company Hydroelectric Projects. This gave whitewater groups and conservation groups the chance to petition the Georgia Power Company to vary the amount of water released over Tallulah Dam. It was agreed that periodic releases would enhance the beauty of Tallulah Gorge and expand the possibilities for its uses. As a result, the river has seen an increased daily flow of water, intermittent aesthetic releases, and whitewater releases since that time.

Tallulah River Rapids

If you are interested in Tallulah Gorge kayaking, you are not alone. The April and November whitewater releases draw avid kayakers from around the world. Please beware that the rapids created by the release are not for the faint of heart. The normal water flow through the gorge is 35-40 cubic feet per second (CFS), but during a whitewater release, the flow can get up to 700 CFS. The water flow is typically 500 CFS on the Saturday of a release weekend and 700 CFS on the Sunday of a release weekend. The river deserves the respect and responsibility associated with the Class IV-V rating assigned to it during this time. It is said that, in reality, Tallulah Gorge kayaking requires Class-V skills on most occasions.

Observing the November Water Release

If all of this sounds exciting, but a little too risky for your taste, don’t worry! You can enjoy the experience of Tallulah Gorge kayaking without kayaking! Non-kayakers may observe the release for free from the roadside overlook porch at Tallulah Point Overlook, or onlookers may enter Tallulah Gorge State Park to hike the North or South Rim Trails and observe the release from there.

Tallulah Gorge Kayaking

Those participating in kayaking will take the approximately 600 steps down the south side steps to put in. Kayakers will then navigate their way through rapids with names such as Oceana, Gauntlet, Tom’s Brain Buster and Twisted Sister. After the whitewater subsides, there is about 1.5 miles of flat water to allow the racing pulse to stabilize, and then the takeout is at Tugalo Dam.

While you’re in this scenic area, make sure to enjoy some of the other activities as well.  Tallulah Gorge hiking and white water rafting in Tallulah Gorge are beloved pastimes of many visitors and locals alike.


Whether you are kayaking or cheering for those who are, you will need a place to stay during the Tallulah Gorge November release. Our North Georgia bed and breakfast is the perfect place to dry off and relax after a day of Tallulah Gorge kayaking. Book your stay at the beautiful Glen-Ella Springs Inn now!