Providence Canyon State Park
Known as Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon, Providence Canyon is located in Lumpkin, Georgia. About 45 minutes from Columbus and Fort Benning. It is also considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.
Providence Canyon was formed by years of erosion due to bad soil management practices in the 19th century. In the early 1800s, the land where the canyon is today and nearby was cleared to create farmland. Due to poor farming methods and no vegetation to hold the soil in place deep trenches began to form from rain runoff. The erosion still continues to this day but the growth of pine trees, laurel bushes, and other vegetation has helped to slow it down. This canyon is evidence of human influence and the power it has on the land. Yet today it is a site to behold and offers some of the prettiest pictures in Georgia. The layers of the sand offer multiple shades of red, yellow, pink, orange, black, purple, and white. There are 43 different colors of sand that have been identified. You can view all the beautiful colors from hikes above or through the canyon. There are a little over 9 miles of hiking trail in Providence Canyon State Park. All trails begin and end at the park's visitors center.
Canyon Loop Trail:
To hike the canyon floor and see all 9 canyons you will take the white blaze trail down to a creek bed. From the creek bed, you can go left to see canyons 1-5. To see canyons 6-9 you will turn left at the second creek bed. This trail is very well marked with signs telling you the direction to go to see each canyon. Once you arrive at a canyon it dead ends so you just go back the way you came. Please be respectful of the land as the soil is very loose and fragile and don’t climb, dig, or carve into the canyon walls. Additionally, the canyon floor is quite wet and muddy so make sure to wear appropriate shoes. This trail is 2.5 miles and is rated as easy.
To see the canyon from above take the white blaze trail down to the creek bed. Instead of turning left to see the canyons, you will turn right. About two miles into this trail it will ascend a steep grade and become more rugged. You’ll follow an old logging road and can see remnants of the past along the way. From the trail, you will be able to view 6 more canyons. These canyons are not available for hiking. The trail will dead-end into the canyon loop trail where you will turn right to continue to the visitors center.
Both trails offer beautiful views of the canyon from above and within. For some even better overlook views follow the fence line through the picnic area. You’ll be able to overlook the vastness of the canyon.
The park also has multiple picnic areas and even a few campsites. Keep in mind that this is a State Park and does have a $5 parking fee. It is kind of out in the middle of nowhere in Southwest Georgia so make sure to bring snacks and drinks. The Visitors Center is open from 8 am-5 pm and does have a few snacks and drinks. You can even pick up some roasted, flavored crickets if you're feeling adventurous. This park is definitely worth checking out and is perfect for a day hike.
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