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Take a 3-mile hike to this hidden Georgia gem this summer

Lula Lake, a tranquil spot near Cloudland Canyon State Park in North Georgia, is known for its lake, trails, two waterfalls – including one that's 120-feet tall and a smaller one – and a beautiful pool of water that's often described as looking emerald or turquoise. Even though you'll need a reservation to visit this hidden gem, it's worth the planning and trip from Atlanta.

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The land is protected by the Lula Lake Land Trust, which was established by Robert Davenport Sr.'s will when he died in 1994. His children have continued his legacy of conservation and have helped double the size of Cloudland Canyon State Park and conserve thousands of acres on Lookout Mountain, among other projects.

Lula Lake has two waterfalls you can see after a short hike.
Photo: From walkercountyga.gov/For the AJC

The lake and falls area is only open on the first and last weekends of the month or the first and last Saturdays of the month, depending on the time of year. Since Lula Lake has become increasingly popular, these limited days — as well as a reservation system — have been implemented to minimize the impact on the land while still allowing visitors. And with smaller crowds, you're more likely to have an enjoyable experience.

What to do

  • Hike to the lake and falls — You can pick up a trail map for free, download maps online or check out large maps on information kiosks located through the preserve. The easiest way to see both the lake and falls is via a 3.2-mile round trip trail. In addition to these sights, you'll also get to follow along Rock Creek, crossing over a stone and wooded bridge, according to atlantatrails.com. Keep an eye out for a sandstone dome that rises 35 feet over the emerald water.
A turquoise-colored pool is a highlight of visiting Lula Lake.
Photo: From Lula Lake Land Trust's Facebook page/For the AJC
  • Enjoy a picnic — You can picnic at the lake, on the bluff and near the footbridge in the meadow area. Grills are also available if you'd like to have a cookout.
  • Take part in a special event — Special events such as an outdoor yoga class are held occasionally. Lula Lake is also hosting the Timber Roots Music Festival on Saturday, Aug. 10.
  • Plan a field trip or group visit — Larger vehicles can be accommodated for group visits, which can include a hike, lessons in water quality and invasive species as well as a popular scavenger hunt.

What else you need to know

Lula Lake's Core Preserve is located at 5000 Lula Lake Road in Lookout Mountain, GA. You'll need to make a reservation in advance to enter, and if the date you'd like to go is full, you can be placed on a wait list.

The area is open on the first and last weekends of the month from May through November and on the first and last Saturday of the month from December through April. Saturday hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday hours are noon-5 p.m., but the entrance gates close at 3:30 p.m.

You'll have to pay a $15 fee per car, with the money going to help preserve Lula Lake. Your vehicle will need to fit into one parking space, so it can't be a bus, passenger van or other very large vehicle.

For more information, call 706-820-0520 or visit https://www.lulalake.org/.

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