For the most part, Tuan Anh and I typically go north for our hiking/camping trips. The north Georgia mountains have become one of our favorite places! For this trip, however, we HAD to check out this amazing park known as Georgia’s “little Grand Canyon”.
Providence Canyon State Park is in Lumpkin, GA, about 3 hours south of Atlanta. Tuan Anh and I decided that in order to make the most out of our stay, we wanted to be there as early as possible. This meant waking up at 5:30 in the morning to pack up the car and hit the road! Of course, we had to stop at Dunkin for our morning fuel first, and then we were ready to take on the next three hours! The best part about heading out this early was being able to watch the sunrise as we drove!
At around 9:15 we arrived to the gate, and could immediately see peeks of the canyons (which definitely raised our excitement). In case you did not know, because this is a state park, their is a $5 parking fee. However, if you are like us, your local library might have a park pass that you can check out and use at all the state parks in Georgia! It’s pretty neat! So definitely check your local library systems to see what they offer!
The Backcountry Campsites
All the back country campsites can be found by following the Red Blazed trail. This is a seven mile loop trail that takes you past each of the 6 sites, and back around to the Canyon trail. The first campsite is about two miles in, and there is plenty of space between each site (which means plenty of privacy).
We found our home for the night at site three, and immediately set up camp. According to the weather, it was supposed to begin raining at around one o’clock, so we wanted to make sure that we were set up and ready when the time came. We also wanted to make sure that we got as much woods exploring done before the rain came, so we set off on an adventure down the trail to see what we could find.
We also knew that becuase it was supposed to rain all night, we wouldn’t get to do our marshmallow roasting! So we built a fire, and had a lunch time marshmallow roasting! Because why not? It’s funny because this was probably one of the best fires we have ever made, so maybe Tuan Anh and I are daytime fire-makers (although at night, when its actually cold, is when it really counts lol)
We were constantly checking the weather to see when it would rain, because we wanted to stay outside for as long as possible. This is when we finally noticed that it had been 12 o’clock for what seemed like two hours. We then realized that our phone had just changed times. Just in case you are wondering (becuase this really tripped me up for a whole day), Georgia is all in the same time zone, HOWEVER, Providence Canyon State Park is so close to the Alabama border, that it is possible for your phones service to bounce off of an Alabama tower. That would cause your phone to jump to the Alabama timezone. So just keep that in mind as you are exploring around the park!
Rain, Rain, Go Away
The rain let up for about 45 minutes or so around 6, which gave us just enough time to crank up the stove and cook our dinner (instant chicken rice and applewood bacon mashed potatoes- the true dinner of champions), and then it was back in the tent for us!
When morning came, it was bright and sunny, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t FREEZING! We actually had a hard time coming out of the tent as we were bundled under our warm sleeping bags! But alas, we had to do it!
Tuan Anh was quickly on fire patrol, while I prepared the coffee and hot chocolate. We were eager to eat breakfast and pack up so that we could ht the trail for some canyon exploration (because at this point in Providence Canyon state park, we hadn’t actually gone to see the canyons yet).
We packed as fast as we could, a process we have gotten down to about 30 minutes, which I think is rather impressive! By the time we were completely packed up, our fingers were nearly frozen off, but our spirits were still high! (Its funny, because I actually opted to not bring the hand and toe warmers from the pack we had just bought at REI becuase I didn’t think it would be that cold)
The Canyon Floor
With camp all packed, it was time for us to throw on our packs and trek through the mud back to the Canyon trail. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that, for a bit, the trail basically turns in to the infamous red Georgia mud. It isn’t clay however, just mud, so you don’t have to worry about it ruining your car. Just bring some bags for you boots and extra pair of shoes to change in to and you will be just fine!
We finally made it back to the Canyon signs, and knew that we were close! Their are signs that direct you to each of the 8 canyons, so you don;t need to worry about missing one. When we finally got the first peek of the canyons, I couldn’t even believe that we were still in Georgia.
These are actual, huge canyons that you can explore! And boy did we have a blast walking around the Canyon floor. It’s just amazing looking around and being surrounded by canyon walls. It’s also crazy to think that these Canyons were actually made by “poor farming practices” and erosion over the last 150 years!
The White Blazed Upper Canyon Trail
After exploring each of the 8 canyon floors, we decided it was time to see what the canyons looked like from up top! For this, you continue following the white blazed trail to the top. Along the way, we were pleasantly surprised by a section of the trail lined with a few old, dilapidated cars. These rustic vehicles now serve as an “ecosystem” for the birds and other small animals that call Providence Canyon their home.
When we finally got the views of the upper Canyons, we couldn’t believe it. It was truly remarkable! We stopped and sat in front of one section for a while, just looking, enjoying, and listening to nature.
The trail offers many overlooks to the canyons so that you can see the beauty from different vantage points. Something that I think is cool (maybe because I am a history nerd) is that you can see where the old fence posts used to be before they build the new ones.
In all, Tuan Anh and I had quite the adventure at Providence Canyon State Park. We have been wanting to head down there for a while now, but never had the chance until now. When we finally had the free weekend we jumped at the chance to go! And I am so glad that we did!
At Providence Canyon State Park, I believe that you can get the best of two worlds when it comes to trails and camping. You get the amazing views that everyone wants (be it waterfalls, mountains, or in this case
canyons). You also get the foresty, woodsy vibe as well, and when you are camping, there is nothing better! Being surrounded by the trees and all the nature sounds, you almost forget that you aren’t deep in the woods somewhere, but rather in a state park.
The only disappointing thing? Tuan Anh was told by one of the park rangers that wild boars like to dip in the ponds that are back in the forests. From that moment on, he really wanted to see a boar. Although I am quite glad we didn’t, because he also said that they can be very mean creatures!
Long story short, the Cauble’s would HIGHLY recommend you take a camping trip to Providence Canyon State Park! Take some friends, take some s’mores, and be ready to be stunned by the beautiful views!
We’d love to hear from you! If you have any suggestions of places or parks you’d like for us to check out, comment down below! Also, we’d love to hear about where YOUR next adventure will be!
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