Cloudland Canyon was one of the new hiking adventures that my wife and I decided to take on a few weeks ago. When I tell you this place is beautiful, it is BEAUTIFUL! Driving up to Rising Fawn, Georgia after a storm came through the day before was the best day to go, because the waterfalls were roaring! Georgia has so many gems within it, but Cloudland Canyon is definitely one of our favorites and if you like hiking. This is a go to spot to checkout.
Coming from Atlanta, It took us about and hour and a half to get to Cloudland Canyon. With a straight shot up 75 North and a few roads, we found ourselves right below Tennessee and West of Lookout Mountain. Getting in the area, you find yourself above the canyon with a much parking for visitors. If going on the weekend, you can figure that it may be a little crowded, but the earlier the better, especially as it gets hotter throughout the year. Starting our trek on the outer loop, you are able to take in the beauty of the canyon itsel as you can see the waterfalls below you. The main waterfalls within the Canyon’s are Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls, but their are a couple more mattering on which trail you decide to take.
One thing I loved about Cloudland Canyon out of the many things it has to offer is even though you may need to watch your steps in many area throughout it, the trail is marked well and almost impossible to get lost. We have been to a few areas that if it wasn’t for the AllTrails app, we would have not known that we was going the right way, or if we was on the right path. Cloudland Canyon you will find color coded markings on trees and pathways that are wide enough to know that you are going to right way when you need them.
For our first time, but not our last. We took part of the outerloop trail, the trail to Cherokee Falls, the trail to Hemlock Falls and a part of Sitton Gulch before turning around. The Trail to Cherokee Falls is rather easy. With a moderate walk downhill and few flights of stares, you’ll quickly find yourself right beside a river that asures you that you’re going in the right direction. This area while walking you will want to pay attention, even though it is so much to see around you and take in nature, but the river beside is also about a 20 ft drop below you in the beginning. So when passing people watch your step, but enough yourself.
Now here is when the workout really begins. If you are trying to get your gluts right. You will definitely enough getting to Hemlock Falls and coming back up from Hemlock Falls. The one thing we didn’t know about Cloudland Canyon was the amount of stairs that this place has. After getting back to our car we found out it is over 600 steps all the way to the bottom. Well you’re going to almost touch every step when you get to Hemlock Falls. Before even starting on the steps you can see the fall and were the steps end at the bottom. My best advice for this. Imagine that you’re on a typerope. The main thing anyone would tell you not to do is, “DON’T LOOK DOWN!” I almost wanted to tell my wife while we was at the top, that I think this is good enough. If you have been to Tallulah Gorge, or Amicalola Falls, you will understand the workout that you’re in for, but the views at the bottom, I promise you, is well worth it.
Hemlock Falls is a 90ft drop within the canyon and is a true beauty of nature. The plus on coming on a day after a storm has occured is that you get to truly see these waterfalls and river for how powerful they really are. At one point, you may find yourself having to speak a little louder if you’re with friends just so you all can converse. At this point, we could have been done with our hike, but decided to see what Sitton Gulch had to offer and I’m glad that we did.
Going down a few more flight of stairs and a bridge that crossed over the river. We found ourselves hiking through Sitton Gulch which was more of what I was looking for. Everything is connected to each other, but due to Cherokee and Hemlock Falls being the big tourist attractions, they were VERY crowded on a Saturday morning / afternoon. Sitton Gulch was more relaxing, plus has one massives waterfall that streams into the river with a few drops within the river that makes for a few nice waterfalls as well. But also Sitton Gulch on a rain let us know quickly. Another thing that we need to add to our hiking equipment is walking sticks.
Most times when I saw people with walking sticks, I personally though maybe they have bad knees, back pains, etc. No! They can help you to balance, get over horrid terrains, as well as, take pressure off your back and legs. Walking sticks are a great investment if you plan on hiking in nature. We figured we will be back another time when we have walking sticks due to the fact that we came to crossing that the water was flowing pretty good due to the rain, but could be pretty difficult to get across without them. I was tempted to try, but then you look and notice that if you slip on a rock, this stream of water goes down rocks and into the river from the rest of the waterfalls. Sooooo, we decided not to, but we will be back to see more of Sitton Gulch.
The trek back up the stairs is NO JOKE, but all hikes I feel everyone is capable of doing, just remember to GO AT YOUR OWN PACE! Don’t care about the fit person who’s running up the hill / stairs for their personal condition, or anything else. If you need to go up one flight of stairs and relax for 10 minutes do that. I remember the first place we decided to go hiking at was Tallulah Gorge in 2021. For some odd reason we decided to make this place our first place to checkout. Before we even started going down, we saw people finishing it coming up and screaming out of breath “I’M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN!” Going down, it took us probably 15 minutes to get to the base. COMING UP! It took us about an hour and a half. We stopped so many times that we can friends with people at break points! At Cloudland, I’m happy to say it took us 45 minutes this time and some of it was because we wanted to take pictures.
Cloudland Canyon is a place you will love and is one of the 2 canyons that Georgia has to offer, eventhough Providence Canyon is man made due to error of people not knowning how to harvest the land. You can tell due to sediment, which one seems to be more man made and which one is purely made by nature.
Since it is a State Park, Cloudland Canyon cost $5 dollars to enter, but you can purchase an annual pass for $50 and go to all state parks free for a year. If you have been to Cloudland, let me know what was some of your favorite part of it and maybe what we should checkout there on our next trip.