Nearest City/Town: Omaha, AL
Difficulty: Very Easy
Length: 1-7 miles
Time: 1-8 hours
We spent our fourth day of the trip hiking in Providence Canyon State Park, located in west central Georgia just outside the city of Lumpkin. This 1000+ acre park (which is sometimes referred to as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon”) and all of the beautiful gullies therein were primarily caused by erosion due to poor farming techniques. How ironic that such a beautiful asset for Georgia came about from mankind’s poor use of resources.
It’s an interesting testament to just how much damage humans can do to a fragile environment in a short period of time. As recently as the mid-1800s, there was a community here and buildings sat on some of the areas that are now sheer canyons. Of course, in this instance, it yielded an incredible park, but that’s not always the case.
Most people start out by hiking around the rim of the canyon, but we immediately hiked down the trail to the canyon floor. It was a chilly, windy day so the lack of wind on the canyon floor made for a much more enjoyable hike!
The canyon floor is always wet where the water table has been exposed, and the red clay ground is fairly soft. Knox, being the prima donna he is about wet paws, initially tried to jump across every bit of water he saw. Unfortunately for him, the floor was just too wet to avoid it. Thankfully though, once the paws were wet, he decided to become Knox the Explorer Dog and charge ahead up every rock, tree, and hill in his path like he was the Confederate Army trying to take Little Round Top. Naturally, he had to pee on every object sticking up from the ground, too, so every squirrel, rabbit, and bird in the area knows that “Knox wuz here”.
We hiked to Canyons 1 through 5 out of the 9 canyons in the park. Unfortunately, the park was just too big to explore the whole thing in a couple hour day hike. This meant we missed seeing the abandoned car graveyard and the North & South Glory Holes – all of which sounded intriguing. If you only have a couple hours, spend your time in canyons 4 & 5. Canyons 6-9 take up to 7 hours to fully explore and canyons 1-3, while nice and scenic, pale in comparison to 4 & 5. Also note that canyons 6-9 require a permit to hike to.
Between the beautiful fall colors, the quiet sound of water trickling under our feet and the incredible views, we had a memorable hike anyway. Have I mentioned the roughly 43 shades of soil colors found in the canyon? Totally breathtaking.
We finished up our day at the canyon by stopping at one of the picnic sites near the entrance to the park. While Knox and I walked along the rim trail and saw yet more incredible views, Scott broke out the kitchen gear (our Camp Chef propane stove included!) and whipped up a scramble of eggs, onions, sweet potatoes, and basil-garlic gouda for our hungry hiking bellies.
Here are some of the best pictures from the day: