Lula Lake Land Trust
Over the past few years, Lula Lake Land Trust has become THE destination in Northwest Georgia. When I first heard about it, I stupidly assumed it was in Lula, GA and therefore reasonably close to where I live so I’d just pop up there one weekend. Well it’s not in Lula; it’s practically in Tennessee, so for me it takes a little more planning to get there. Lula Lake Land Trust has become so popular recently it reaches visitor capacity early in the day and if you live 2+ hours away like me, it’s hard to be sure you’ll be able to get in. That’s why when I had a very special opportunity to camp overnight with a private group of Girls Who Hike members, I jumped at the chance. Lula Lake Land Trust is unique in that it’s privately managed by a 501c3 organization and not typically open for camping like a state park, so I was very grateful for this opportunity.
Our trip took place in mid-November, so I also got to test out some cold weather gear (more on that sometime in a later post). We had a beautiful sunny day and since there was no one else on the property, we felt no pressure to hurry along. Since I was with a group and not leading the hike, I honestly didn’t pay much attention to the actual route we took. We did see the falls pretty early along the trail, though. The “first fall” is a smaller cascade, but honestly not very small at all. It reminded me of the cascades at Jacks River Falls and was beautiful. We then reached the main fall, which was absolutely stunning. The water level was high due to torrential rain the week before and we al had a hard time staying dry. Fortunately, there is a really good view from the trail up above, which allows you to take it all in without getting soaked. The “main fall” is a free fall with a long drop, typical to this part of Northwest GA and Tennessee. The trail down to the water was very steep and slippery, but beautiful and surrounded by gigantic rock faces.
After visiting the falls, we continued up the trail to a beautiful meadow overlook. This was a perfect spot for lunch, since there was also a picnic table and plenty of trees for shade. Several of our group members brought hammocks and we spent about an hour just lounging. The rocky overlook faced a relatively developed valley below, but this is to be expected since Lula Lake Land Trust is just a short drive from civilization and surrounded by houses and farms. I think if I lived up here, I’d visit every weekend!
After lunch, we headed back down the trail to our camping spot to get set up and relax (even more). We had a beautiful set up near the creek, but far enough away to follow Leave No Trace practices for camping near water. We also had some picnic tables and a fire ring. Making a fire was my top priority because it was really cold. When you’re surrounded by sky high trees and rock faces, the sun feels like it goes down really early. I’ve always enjoyed making a good campfire, a trait I definitely inherited from my mom. Some of the ladies hiked back to the falls around sunset, but I stayed by my post tending to the fire.
Of course, dinnertime is the best part of camping. For some reason, food just takes really good after you’ve been hiking all day. I was excited to try some new dehydrated meals I bought from Good to Go Foods (not sponsored, I wish). I bought 3 different gluten free, vegan meals from a local outdoor store and decided to try the mushroom risotto on this trip. Let me just say, it beyond exceeded my expectations. I have never had a dehydrated meal that tasted so good. Good To Go meals are also able to be cooked in the bag, which lessens the need for cook ware. I would definitely recommend them and I’m excited to try out some other meals soon.
The rest of the trip was pretty chill (literally and figuratively), filled with smores, good conversation, and maybe a little moonshine. I left feeling refreshed and inspired to seek out other “destination” places throughout the state. I don’t often get opportunities like this and I am truly grateful for Lula Lake Land Trust for allowing us to visit.