Cloudland Canyon State Park
Cloudland Canyon State Park
122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd.
Rising Fawn , GA 30738GPS Coordinates: N 34.8402630 |W -85.4828810
As a post-Christmas getaway, Amy and I decided to visit the Chattanooga area. We are members of the KOA Rewards Program so when we can stay at a KOA Kampground, we often do. I read a lot of great reviews about the Look Mountain/Chattanooga West KOA located in Trenton, Georgia. So, we packed up the popup camper and went for a three-night journey. See the review of this campground here.
One of the main activities we enjoy when camping is hiking. I noticed while looking at the map that there was a Georgia State Park located only 15 miles or so from the KOA. I did some research and found that it had nothing but great reviews. The name of the state park was Cloudland Canyon State Park. On our final day of the journey we decided to check it out. Wow! I am so glad we did! This park is beautiful. And we were there in December when the foliage and wildlife was limited. I can only imagine how this place looks in the fall or spring.
We started our visit with a hike on the West Rim Loop Trail (4.8 miles). The trail was moderate, containing some great views overlooking the canyon and the valley below. The trail itself was well-marked. Every so often there would be a yellow triangle nailed to a tree so you knew which direction to follow. That was helpful. Although, the trail was pretty well blazed, there were spots that were somewhat questionable. Several areas along the trail were large rocks which could be slippery with moderate rainfall. There were a few areas with pronounced tree roots so it is wise to watch your step. We brought our dogs who really enjoyed the hike. Caution: There are some parts of the trail that have steep drop-offs, so keep the dogs leashed. In fact, one of the rules of the park is that all dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet. Though I know some pet owners often overlook these rules, I would not suggest that on this trail. Along the trail there are large rock formations which offer some great picture-taking opportunities.
Another trail we checked out was the Waterfall Trail. This may be a short hike (1 mile one way) but it was a steep (40 degrees) decline/incline. For part of the trail, there are steps (1,200 to be exact); however, the steps had a metal, see-through grate which really confounded our dogs. Vinnie really did not like the steps and we ended up turning around. Had we been staying at the park’s campground, we would have taken the dogs back to the campsite and came back to hike the trails ourselves. The KOA campground was a 23 minute drive away and not worth taking the dogs all the way back. I am sure the rest of the trail and the close-up view of the waterfall were breathtaking.
The park has other trails that we did not visit. They include the Sitton Gulch Trail (2 miles), Overlook Trail, Bearcreek Backcountry Trail (7.1 miles by permit only), and the Two-Mile Backcountry Trail. There are campsites available in the Two-Mile Backcountry Trail (by permit only).
The park contains two campgrounds: The West Rim and East Rim. The West Rim is open year round and includes both electric and water. The East Rim is closed between December and February. In total, there are 72 camping sites ($25-30) and 30 walk-in sites($16-20). There are 16 cottages, two of which are dog friendly (2 max and $45 charge each). The cottages range from $140-170. There are 10 yurts ($80). There are 13 backcountry campsites at $6-8 per person. Amy and I did not stay at the campground so we cannot do a full review. However, we did drive through it and stopped to check out the bathrooms. The campgrounds had level, gravel pads. Many had small decks as well. The bathroom/shower house was clean, though there were only two shower stalls. Based on what we saw, I would say this is a future camping spot for us. I prefer the East Rim Campground because it is located near the Waterfall Trail, picnic shelters, and Naturalist Center. However, the sites are more open. There are trees and shade but not as much as you would see at the West Rim campground. That campground was a bit more secluded. Note that the park does not allow alcohol and the gate closes at 10:00 p.m. (no late entry). Below are some pictures we took on our trip and some other spring photos found on the park website.
Whether you plan to hike, camp, or both, we highly recommend this Georgia state park.