Lake Tugalo

Does anyone have directions to the boat ramp on the GA side of Lake Tugalo. There isn’t much info on the internet about Lake Tugalo, but from what I’ve read there are only two access points one in GA and one in SC.

I’ve read the GA boat ramp has sketchy roads to the boat ramp.

Also, which access point (GA or SC) have the most scenic views?

Any info would be greatly appreciated.



I remember taking a left at a fire

– Last Updated: Feb-01-08 9:59 AM EST –

department off of US 76 in Longcreek,SC. Probably headed west.Mapquest shows how to get there from the Ga. side.I'm sure a local can direct you from Longcreek.Don't stop if you hear banjo music.
The road in from SC is OK , but the parking is very limited.I had to park on the shoulder the last time I was there and almost slid off the side into a tree.The actual put-in is great.

Because of Lake Tugalos rugged terrain, bank fishing opportunities are not available. Boating access on the Georgia side of the lake is available through Tallulah Gorge State Park, which is located off Highway 441 in Tallulah Falls, Georgia. Motorists should be aware that four-wheel drive vehicles are strongly encouraged on this steep, rugged access road. Easier access is available a little further north on the South Carolina side of the lake. From Highway 441 in Clayton, Georgia, turn onto Highway 76 East. After crossing the Chattooga River Bridge, travel about three miles to Orchard Road. Turn right onto Orchard Road and proceed to the stop sign at the end of the road and turn right on to Battle Creek Road. In a couple of miles, the road forks. Bear to the right at this intersection. After passing Damascus Church, turn right onto the gravel road. This road will lead to the boat ramp, which becomes paved and very steep near the boat ramp. For more information about Lake Tugalo, visit the Georgia Power Company website at

As for scenery, the GA state park
access is much closer to the Tallulah Gorge arm of the lake. The SC access is closer to the Chattooga outlet.

The main reason GA state park encourages 4wd is they know that 2wd, especially FWD, is likely to cause more road wear when one is driving out the first, steep section above the lake. A lot of people go in there in their 4wd SUVs without ever bothering to engage their 4wd. We have been there in our Outback and in our FWD Accord, and didn’t notice much difference climbing out.

lake tugalo
To reach the Georgia put in traveling North on 441 you will make a right immediately after crossing the bridge over Talulla George in the town of Talulla Falls. There is a large sign directing to the Talullah George State Park and Jane Hurt Interpretive center. Travel past the entrance to the Interpretive center. The road will become a dirt road. Continue on, the road will wind through a scenic forest, about 1 1/2 miles you will see a right hand turn and a sign that says “stone place”. Take this right and it will dead end at the lake. There is a small boat ramp and primitive bathroom facility.

The road is steep in a couple of places and can be rutted. I have come up in my jeep several times and never needed to use the 4wd, but in my rear wheel drive truck I have had problems coming back up especially if the road is wet.

If you feel you can negotiate the road I would definitely recommend the Georgia side, there is rarely many if anyone there and you get the feeling that you have the entire lake to yourself.

Hope this is helpful.

Thanks everyone for the info…
…I appreciate it.


Lake Tugalo
was absolutely gorgeous. We paddled up the chattooga side of the lake until we reached the last rapid on section 4. As it happened, we saw a couple of guys paddle the last rapid. It was very beautiful. I’ve paddled section 3 1/2 and that part of the lake brought back memories of the chattooga.

We didn’t have time to explore the tallula side of the lake, but we paddled over to where it opened up.

The drive down to the put in wasn’t too bad. We had two subura forresters and a nissan frontier truck and we made it down and up without a problem. The ww boaters we ran into said it would take an additional hour to drive to the SC put in.

It was an excellent day and I’ll have to return in the spring when everything is in bloom.

We found a really nice sandbar about 1/4 mile downstream of the last rapid of section 4. Has anyone camped on the lake? Are there any campsites on the tallula side of the lake?

Thanks again for all the help.


I saw people camping in that area.
Don’t know if they were legal or not.

Did the folks…
you see camping there look like rednecks? I’m sort of concerned that it might be a redneck hang out. There was trash and lounge chairs laying around on the sandbar.

Yes, serious rednecks.

Tugaloo Camping
There are a few campsites on the GA side. They are not very nice and they are usually full of trash. We often take out a canoe full of trash back to the landing before unpacking our gear. If you can deal with lightweight backpack style camping with no fire and not a lot of flat space there are a lot more options. Hammocks would be great, as you can sleep on a hillside as long as there are trees.

There are occasionally some rough-about-the-edges folks camped on the lake, but they are rarely unfriendly. They treat their campsite like they do their yard and living with trash is not a big deal for them. The trash doesn’t bother me as much as the careless placement of human waste. Some folks like to shoot at trees and cans now and then, so don’t be surprised about gun fire.

I would highly recommend camping in the cooler seasons. I have been on the lake a lot november-march and rarely see people.

Tugaloo Lake is a gem. Get back soon to see the Tallulah River arm of the lake. You can paddle right up onto the end of the gorge and the powerhouse is architecturally interesting.

I will have to get back to the tallula
arm of the lake. The next time I go up there we will paddle that section first. The power house looks really cool.

We could have explored both arms of the lake if we had a little more day light. Some of the folks I was paddling with sort of got tuckered out by a head wind when we turned to go toward the tallula arm of the lake.

I would really love to do a overnighter on that sandbar so maybe I’ll plan something between Nov-Mar or try to find a more secluded campsite on the tallula arm of the lake.

When we were beginning to go up the Tallala arm we noticed a tent tucked away on the hillside. I wonder if a homeless person was hanging out there. It was sort of weird seeing a tent out in the middle of no where.

Thanks again for the info.


Most of the GA side of the lake is Tallulah Gorge State Park jurisdiction. The very head of the Chattooga arm is in national forest. The state park folks are aware of the camping “problems” but really can offer no solution. Banning camping would require patrols by boat which is expensive. It is interesting that firearms are not allowed in GA state parks. I wouldn’t mind if they enforces that. I could see them developing a series of nice boat access campsites that required reservation and permit. Again, that would be expensive and they would have to charge a lot to pay for the system, maintenance and enforcement. Not likely to happen. I would simply choose to camp during the off season or use “non-traditional” campsites during the summer.

Winter is the best time to explore for campsite possibilities that are not easily visible in the lush summer vegetation. I really think the hammock option is great. Something like a Hennesy hammock would allow you to camp anywhere you could easily land.

Enjoy the lake! I always like to see paddlers out there.

Camping problems???
Seumas, by " camping problems" if you are referring to the trash I agree,but the fact that the camping is primitive and unregulated is what makes this place so special. Too much of the world is already over-regulated;having to secure a permit and be inspected by enforcement patrols would turn this into another Disney world type of activity.

There are quite a few really country people camped on this lake but they always seem quite friendly.I would prefer they all paddled instead of the little motor boats but to each his own.

My wife and I camped out on the Talullah side one weekend in July and really enjoyed ourself.What we did was camp really light with backpack equipment.It was wonderful paddling this lake for hours on end then returning to camp to relax and take in the scenery.I would avoid the sand bar you mentioned during warmer weather because it seems to be some what of a party spot.Also avoid the more obvious camp sites because they are frequented by people with small motor boats. Horizontal real estate is somewhat hard to find but if you paddle the shore line you will see a few smaller secluded campsites.These are not usually trashy and feel somewhat secluded. Also they are always alone so you don,t have to worry about having neighbors.

I agree
I am NOT promoting the idea of regulated camping on the lake. I like it just the way it is. I do not agree that regulated camping would be a “Disney-like” experience, however.

More than two…
I would probably feel more comfortable camping with more than just myself and one other…especially in such an isolated place. I would probably be looking for a campsite for at least three people.

I’ve had more than just one run in with rednecks while paddling and camping and prefer avoiding them. I’m from AL and grew up with them. I would just assume not have to deal with them now.

I’m not into the disney thing either, but I am into a safe paddling adventures. I will avoid the sandbar especially during warmer months…you know it is literally deliverance country ; )

deliverance was fiction
and does not apply to this thread