You'll Love Lula Falls, But Don't Even Think About Exploring This Georgia Geological Wonder Without Reservations

DeanLand

Since moving to Georgia and pursuing waterfall hiking as a hobby, we’ve been taunted and tantalized by wonderful pictures from Lula Falls, a Georgia geological gem. Located in the Northwest corner of the state, wedged between Cloudland Canyon’s twin falls to the South and Chattanooga’s natural, commercial and Civil War attractions to the North, Lula Falls remained on our “to-do” list, but never seemed to get checked off.

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Rock Creek plunges 160-feet into the deep, rocky canyon as Lula Falls.Photo: DeanLand / Our Travel Cafe

Finally ending our procrastination, we made the required reservations (yes, this waterfall requires reservations, even without COVID restrictions!) and piled our seven family members and two dogs into the minvan for our waterfall odyssey to this long-awaited destination. (You also can find a video version of our visit here on Newsbreak videos!)

Yes, Reservations are Required

About those reservations, Lula Falls is owned by a land trust, and generally is open to the public on the first and last weekends of each month. Advance reservations can be made online only, with payment due at reservation time. A reservation is good for a parking space for a family vehicle, but NOT for passenger vans, busses or extra-large vehicles. No one is allowed without a reservation — believe this, as we saw the friendly volunteers cheerfully guide several reservation-less visitors back to the exit!

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Our biggest decision: what route to follow on the waterfall hike. We had a solid plan, until we spotted this stream and footbridge.Photo: DeanLand / Our Travel Cafe

Our biggest decision of the day now faced us: what route should we follow to the falls? Our hosts and the printed trail map provided to us recommended following the access road trail down for 1.5 miles to Lula Lake, then continuing down another 1/10th mile to the Lula Falls Trail, where we would begin a short descent to the base of the falls.

And that WAS our plan — until we had walked approximately 8/10ths of a mile, spotted a stream to our right and saw a footbridge leading off into the woods. Like dogs distracted by a squirrel, we immediately veered off our planned route for a different adventure. You can find the highlights and details of our detour -- which included a rope-assisted descent and a skyline walk -- at our blog, OurTravelCafe.com, which includes some links where the author/website may earn a fee for advertising

Descending to the Base of the Falls

By far, the easiest route is to follow the wide, crushed rock surfaced road to the falls. Then, you'll descend approximately 150 feet on stairs and a natural trail. If you don't want to descend, there are observation points along the way to view the falls.

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We watched the boys climb the rocks at the bottom of the falls, aided by nervous, instructional yelling from mom and grandmother.Photo: DeanLand / Our Travel Cafe

The descent into the canyon at the falls base is rocky and can be slippery, so be mindful of your footwear. If you descend to the base (and at 65-years-old, we did it!), a 150-foot stair-aided climb back up is required, so beware of endurance limits for those with different physical abilities. The natural, rock and wood stairs don’t have rails, so those with balance issues may find walking sticks or hiking poles helpful here and elsewhere in the preserve.

We descended to the base of the 160-foot promontory where Rock Creek plunges as Lula Falls into the canyon. Directly in front of us, a small group of 20-somethings spread out on a large rock, enjoying the scenery just beyond the reach of the mist created by the falls. To our left was the falls, and more people taking cautious steps on wet, slippery rocks while attempting the compose the perfect photo. We chose the middle ground, and our son-in-law carefully guided the younger ones out onto larger rocks, while mom and grandmother aided the effort with nervous, instructional yelling.

In our blog, we also include some tips for tasty treats and other options after you complete your visit to Lula Falls.

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What to do after your hike? Well, you are close to Chattanooga. We give other tips in our blog.Photo: DeanLand / Our Travel Cafe

Follow DeanLand on Newsbreak

Don't miss the video version of our trip to Lula Falls, also on Newsbreak!

We write mostly about Georgia topics -- outdoors, family activities, fun local finds, and outings. Occasionally, we venture further, too. To enjoy more articles about fun, family-oriented Georgia activities, follow DeanLand on Newsbreak. On your phone, select the FOLLOW button below this feature. On your computer, select FOLLOW on the left side menu. You can also find more from DeanLand at OurTravelCafe.com, which may contain advertising where the website or author may receive payments.

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I'm a trained journalist, global traveler and retired business executive who worked for more than 20 years with some of the world's best and largest restaurant enterprises. I left the business world behind, living in Northwest Georgia and writing about avocations including outdoor excursions, family-friendly travel, road trips, exploration ideas for active seniors and some of my community passions. I've traveled to 47 states and nearly as many countries, and I'm still counting up. I'm a traveler, hiker, cyclist, blogger, marketing consultant, community volunteer and local high school band nerd who previously has lived in Florida, Ohio, Indiana and Mississippi. I'm a South Louisiana-born French Cajun whose great-grandparents were sugar farmers, bar owners and reputed bootleggers. My upbringing in food-rich Louisiana and my restaurant industry career affirmed my status as an over-qualified eater. That also inspired the name of my blog, OurTravelCafe.com. There, I offer up a complete menu of our my own experiences, explorations and adventures, organized by geography and always sprinkled with some spicy, tasty tidbits and food notes.

Acworth, GA
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