Did you know Georgia is home to its own "Little Grand Canyon?" Providence Canyon was created by bad farming techniques in the 1800s, but the results were so pretty they became a tourist attraction. Voila! Providence Canyon.
I visited this place years ago as an elementary schooler. It's a few miles down the road from Historic Westville so I guess they figured they'd have a two for one field trip. I'd forgotten all about it until we moved back, and when some cooler temperatures rolled in one weekend, I told Fionn we should capitalize on the good weather and check out Providence Canyon.
When you arrive at the park, you take the canyon rim trail down to the canyon floor. Once there, you can take time to explore the canyons and then walk back up along the rim of the canyon or, if you're a serious hiker, you can undertake the arduous 7 hour hiking trail through rugged terrain.
I am NOT a hiker. Heck, I'm pretty much the farthest thing from "outdoorsy" or "athletic". So you can imagine which path we took!
Smiling for the camera, but being a complaining Grumpy Cat otherwise...
When visiting Providence Canyon, make sure you're prepared. If you decide to explore the canyons, you'll be walking through small streams and wet, red clay. Your feet will get wet if you're wearing regular shoes, and the red clay stains like crazy. It's also a good idea to bring a hat, sunscreen, and water. It's hot in the canyon!
Fionn had a great time exploring canyons, schlepping through streams, and going off the trail to get hit in the face with stray branches. I was much more of a baby about it. I probably spent a good 20 minutes complaining about wet feet and bugs flying into my face. But thankfully, I married a patient man who also challenges me to get out of my comfort zone, and I ended up having fun in the end (despite my feet getting wet).
Yeah, I can be a princess sometimes.
In the end, I was really happy we got our feet a little wet and explored the canyon. If you only stay on the canyon rim trail, a lot of the viewpoints are obstructed by trees. But when you're on the floor, looking up, there are so many cool striations and rock formations to see. Totally worth the sweat (plus, you'll feel like a jungle explorer!)
Once you leave the canyon floor and continue on, you'll come across a dumping ground for 1950s era cars. Back in the day this was the place to dump your clunker, and since it would be too damaging to remove them (and because critters now call them home!) they're a permanent part of the park. I thought it was cool to see these old things, even if they were a little unexpected.
After completing the trail, we took a moment to see it from above.
"Is this what the Grand Canyon looks like?" I asked my West Coast companion.
"No," laughed Fionn, "It's way bigger. And fewer trees. This still looks like Georgia. Plus we can hike around and not worry about bears and mountain lions."
Hmmm...maybe I'll skip hiking on the West Coast...
If you'd like to visit Providence Canyon in Lumpkin, Georgia you can find it at 8930 Canyon Rd. It's in a very rural area, but it's perfect for a picnic lunch and getting away from it all (there's even a playground for the kids!). Parking is $5 and even cheaper if you're military.
If you're in poor health or if you have very small children, I wouldn't recommend taking on the trail. It's not terrible, but it is uphill and can get tiring. If you want to explore the canyons, make sure to wear waterproof shoes and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water.
Oh, and bring your camera!
So how 'bout it? Did you know GA had its own Grand Canyon?