Fall in Georgia can be hit or miss. Sometimes, the state boasts beautiful colors, as the leaves change. Other times, the season is somewhat of a dud. Whatever the case may be, no one will be disappointed with the beautiful vistas of Cloudland Canyon State Park, located between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tenn.
Cloudland Canyon is a 3,485-square-foot state park located in northern Georgia on the edge of Lookout Mountain. It is one of the largest and most scenic parks in the state, situated on both sides of the deep gorge cut through the mountain by Sitton Gulch Creek. The elevation varies from 800 feet to more than 1,900 feet. At the bottom of the gorge are two waterfalls, where visitors can watch water run over sandstone and shale.
Cloudland Canyon State Park is one of the most scenic parks in Georgia — Photo courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources
If you're not familiar with Cloudland Canyon State Park, consult a map before heading out for a hike. There are several trails around the park. The longest one is nine miles and may take several hours to conquer. The park also has a few two-mile trails that are much easier on the legs.
A word of warning: Don't assume the trails go around in a circle. The main trail, which offers some of the most stunning vistas, doesn't. So, if you choose this one, then the trek back will be as long as the walk out.
Cloudland Canyon is a little more than a two-hour drive from Atlanta. Pack a lunch or some snacks, and plan to spend the day hiking. The park features campsites and cabins for longer stays.
If you do stay overnight at the park, then be sure to visit one of the several attractions near the park, including the Tennessee Aquarium in downtown Chattanooga and Ruby Falls, just minutes from the city. You can easily make your way to one of these destinations the day after your hike, if you get an early start.
Cloudland Canyon, along with these nearby attractions, makes a great weekend jaunt for those with energy and a desire to explore nature.