November 28, 2020

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Date: Friday - Sunday, 13-15 May 2016

Location: Cloudland Canyon State Park, Georgia

Trails: (see below)

Members: Bart, Kirk

canyon view

This month's outing was to Cloudland Canyon State Park located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain near Rising Fawn, Georgia. A late season cold front Thursday night provided fall-like weather with mild days and cool nights. Due to the near perfect weather conditions and many scheduled park events, the only available campground available was the walk-in primitive campsites.

Bart arrived and set up the campsite around noon and I arrived after 2 PM Friday. Bart picked a great campsite as the parking lot was just few yards away.

canyon view

Bart and I participated in a mid–afternoon hike which consisted of the walk-in campground connector and the southern portions of the West Rim trail. We were treated to some spectacular views of the canyon along this 2.45 mile out and back hike.

Friday night's dinner included Bart's famous cheese hamburgers and kale chips that I bought from Walmart. After dinner, we tried with limited success in keeping the campfire going. We sat near a mostly smoky fire pit until almost midnight.

On Saturday, Bart and I decided to hike some of the less strenuous trails. We drove to the Interpretive Center parking lot and began the hike near the Bear Creek Overlook on the Overlook Trail. From there we continued south towards the Bear Creek Trail when Bart's keen eyes quickly spotted a nearly camouflaged Copperhead snake in the middle of the trail. We then followed the southern portion of the Bear Creek Trail to the Backcountry Loop Trail. The Backcountry Trail was an easy hike which consisted of some impressive views of Oaks and Hemlocks. Saturday's loop hike was just under 5 miles with some gentle ascents and descents.

Bart, Kirk

Dinner Saturday evening featured hot dogs with all the fixings, corn, and sweet potatoes. After dinner, Bart brought out the campfire popcorn popper and we enjoyed some fresh popcorn.


Sunday started rather cold with temperatures around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Bart cooked some eggs, sausage, bacon and grits for breakfast. Bart and I broke camp soon after breakfast before heading out for one last hike.

Sunday's hike was the strenuous but yet very rewarding Waterfall Trail. The relatively short trail consisted of a combination of wooden boardwalks, dirt paths and stairs as it descended nearly 1000 feet into the canyon. About half down the trail, the trail splits with Cherokee Falls a short walk down on the left. Cherokee Falls is an impressive waterfall that drops 60 feet into a clear pool with rock outcropping.

We continued to hike farther down the Waterfall Trail until we reached Hemlock Falls. This picturesque waterfall dropped over 90 feet into the vegetated canyon floor. We headed back up the trail which was the most difficult portion of the hike. We had to climb up the 600 stairs out of the Cloudland Canyon.

Bart and I finished the hike by mid-afternoon then headed home.

Submitted 14 Jun 2016

Text: Kirk

Photos: Kirk