Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA
Cloudland Canyon State Park has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful parks in Georgia. We booked two nights in one of the state park cabins for some hiking and relaxation before heading out on our cross country drive to Colorado.
The Cabins at Cloudland Canyon are lovely. We were in cabin 11, which is off of the West Rim Trail, but not near the visitors center. (It’s about a 15 min drive to the visitors center from this group of cabins.) These cabins feel more remote but are further from all “the stuff.”
We had double bad luck while visiting in that it rained both days of our visit and the interpretive center was closed both days. (That was our rainy day plan.) We made the most of it though and headed into Chattanooga for the morning until the rain cleared.
Once back in the park we parked the car at the Interpretive Center and hit the hiking trails. I had read a few reviews on all trails saying that these hikes were not particularly kid friendly. Our kids are pretty good hikers though, so we gave it a go. They had no problem. (I mean we had some attitude problems.)
We started with the Waterfall Hike. This 1 mile trail descends 600 stairs to reach two separate waterfalls. Thanks to all the rain they were spectacular. The first waterfall has a lovely little pool, perfect for throwing rocks. The second waterfall is viewed from a shady platform. It is also worth it to venture down the path a bit farther to the bridge to see a series of smaller cascade waterfalls.
The boys had no problem going up the 600 stairs. We even passed a few other sets of hikers. We were just slow and steady the whole way up and took a rest under the large rock near the top.
Then we hopped on the West Rim Trail for a nice hike back to our cabin. The West Rim Trail is rooty and rocky, but the kids think that is fun! We did ask the Littles to stay close, as in a few places the path is close to the edge of a cliff. It is all very easily hike-able and safe so long as everyone is paying attention.
The stunning overlooks are all marked with stone cairns built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Once back at the cabin, Jeff laced up his running shoes and ran back to get the car.
He took the older boys later that evening to do some light bouldering in another area of the park.
Cloudland Canyon has a GA Jr. Ranger Badge that you can earn while at the park. You pick up the packet at the visitors center and return it there for your badge. The Big Little has now done 16 of these GA Jr. Ranger badges. (So if you’re passing through Georgia make sure you check out Georgia State Parks and these great activities!)