Cloudland Canyon State Park! Real clever title huh? This has to be my favorite state park in Georgia. It’s such a fascinating place with a little bit of everything. It’s on the edge of a gorge that has beautiful overlooks, stunning waterfalls and excellent hiking rain or shine! This trip (March 15′) saw more rain but never a downpour which actually made the park incredibly more interesting after having visited again the next summer. I’ll post a blog soon with contrasting pictures. Once you see them you’ll want to go any and every day.
This time we opted to camp on the backcountry loop and set up camp a mile in. I was with a great buddy of mine and his dog and we were on a mission to see as much as we could in 2 days. It was 5pm by the time we finished setting up camp so we hiked to the nearby Bear Creek Trail. It’s a long trail but only a short distance to reach Bear Creek. You actually need a permit to go past it so we hung out behind a waterfall and that was good enough for us.
It was actually better than good enough as I remember being so giddy and happy when we saw Bear Creek. I was like a child finding a puppy under the Christmas tree. This was my first time camping since the East Coast road trip. Who knew you could get that excited to drink water with Iodine tablets in it. I think I was on to something.
We woke up early the next morning, used the whisper lite to whip up some oatmeal and then hit the trails. Cloudland offers about 30 miles of hiking trails half being in the main section of the park and the other half being the multi-use Connector Trail. We stayed on the main trails and just about hiked them all. Like I said earlier the weather was wet and foggy which meant we had the trails to ourselves and it was freaking cool.
We started the day with the overlook trail which was funny because all you could see was white. It felt like we were in a cloud the whole time which only added to the experience.
Eventually we stumbled upon the stairs to the two beautiful waterfalls. The first being the stunning Cherokee Falls which you can get pretty close too. The second is Hemlock Falls and it is just as stunning.
After being mesmerized by falling water we continued on by following Daniel Creek along the Sitton’s Gulch Trail. It was very peaceful and eerie at the same time.
We spent a good amount of time exploring the creek but because we still had to retrace our steps back to the site we didn’t have time for the West Rim Trail. In addition to that I want to return to bike the Connector trail, stay in a yurt and explore the nearby cave. One thing to note about the waterfalls is that if you are traveling with a furry companion they will not like the stairs because they are grated. Bear, our dog, was really pooped and not happy. It was something with her paw so my guess was the grates. Feeling sorry we let her have the tent that night as we sleep under a tarp.
Before leaving the next morning we caught a view, without fog, of the canyon so we were able to experience every possible scene in one weekend!
This trip really kicked off going for day and weekend hikes so I’ll always look back and be thankful for this beautiful park near Trenton, Georgia. My buddy’s grandfather actually lives there so before heading home we stopped by to hear some stories from when he thru-hiked the AT. Stories like that will make you want to hike. With that new found energy we made a pit stop at Lookout Mountain for a nice view of the Tennessee River before heading home.
Weekend well spent!