The 4.9 mile West Rim Loop Trail at Georgia’s Cloudland Canyon State Park plunges through the canyon before looping the edge, grabbing incredible views and sweeping vistas throughout the hike.
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Northwest Georgia’s Cloudland Canyon boasts incredibly steep walls across a wide, vast canyon, boasting outstanding views from its rim and plummeting waterfalls deep within its depths. The yellow-blazed West Rim Loop Trail begins on the eastern rim of the canyon, plunging through the canyon before rising to loop the western canyon walls. This trail hikes the most scenic and sweeping views in the park. (Note: this hike hugs many sheer drop offs and steep elevations and is not recommended for children.)
The hike begins at the East Rim trailhead and follows the Waterfalls Trail for the first .25 mile before darting left to dive deeper into the canyon, following regularly-spaced yellow blazes.
The trail crosses a wooden bridge spanning Sitton’s Gulch Creek at .35 mile before rapidly gaining elevation in a series of switchbacks, beginning to climb the west rim’s steep incline. The hike climbs through a beautiful rhododendron, hemlock and moss-filled forest and scrambles over the rocky, boulder-strewn canyon floor as it gains elevation. The reddish-hued bark of the hemlock stands contrasts the vibrant green of its delicate needles which provide deep shade overhead.
Elevation gain continues as the trail winds through wide switchbacks, rising further from the canyon floor. The trail meets a cave at .6 miles along a final switchback in the climb to Cloudland’s western canyon rim.
Pass the park’s yurt village on trail left at .65 mile, cresting to the canyon’s rim. The yellow-blazed trail begins to skirt the canyon’s western wall, with spectacular views opening suddenly along a large rock outcrop nearing 1 mile.
After hiking across the outcrop, the trail turns west, darting into the shade of a young forest and skirting a steep, sheer dropoff on trail right. Reach a bridge spanning a small creek at 1.25 miles; cross the bridge here to complete the loop portion of the hike counterclockwise, following the stream on trail right. The hike approaches Cloudland’s canyon rim once again, opening to an expansive vista at a large rock overhang at 1.84 miles. The trail climbs elevation nearly continually, and offers expansive views of the opposing canyon walls throughout much of this section.
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