Rolling Appalachian Mountains, layered in hues of greens and blues. Sandy shores and shell-filled coastlines. Broad river valleys framed by grassy plains and lush forests. Our state’s landscapes are uniquely stunning and diverse, and Georgia’s trio of canyons add to its incredible beauty. Carving into the surrounding terrain, thanks to the tremendous forces of moving water, these places offer some stunningly beautiful stretches to explore, nestled deep within their walls.
Follow our favorite trails in these ruggedly beautiful places to enormous tumbling waterfalls, fog and mist-filled valleys and some truly exceptional vistas. Catch stunning views from the rim of Tallulah Gorge, score views of its six massive waterfalls, and plunge deep within its depths to cross a towering suspension bridge and visit a natural rock slide on its floor. View stunning sunrises and sunsets from the distant rims of Cloudland Canyon in the northwest corner of our state, and explore two incredible waterfalls in its boulder-filled, placid valley shaded by towering hemlock. And to the southwest, visit the colorful, carved, serpentine walls of Providence Canyon, an adventure that’s one of the most unique in Georgia.
Three adventure-worthy Georgia canyons and gorges
Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail on these fantastic hikes to score a serious dose of Peach State beauty. And don’t forget a water bottle and hiking essentials: these trails can offer quite a workout, so check out our hiking gear list for some packing inspiration. And wherever you adventure, please always leave no trace to help preserve these precious places.
Carving deep into the mountains of northeast Georgia, and stretching a massive two miles in length, Tallulah is certainly one of our state’s must-hike wonders. Tallulah’s nearly-vertical walls plunge 1,000 feet into a rocky, waterfall-filled valley below, and its towering rim offers truly amazing views of the Tallulah River’s tumbling cascades far below. This has long been one of our favorite Georgia State Parks to find an adventure, and the park’s collection of hiking trails offer some seriously stunning views.
For the best Tallulah views without a calf-burning descent, follow the North and South Rim Trails around its edge, catching beautiful vistas from a series of overlooks and peering into its depths at the waterfalls far below. If you’re up for the workout, though, there’s no better way to explore the gorge than the descent on the Hurricane Falls Trail, dropping along scores of stairs to a swaying, dizzying suspension bridge that spans the top of Hurricane Falls. Or for the ultimate adventure, arrive early and apply for a floor permit (the park limits permits to 100 per day), and hike the Tallulah Gorge Sliding Rock Trail over a boulder-filled adventure to the gorge floor. Deep within its depths, there’s a large sliding rock waterfall, with a chilly cerulean pool below, offering the perfect way to cool off in Georgia’s legendary summertime heat.
Cloudland is another state park fully worth the visit, whether for a day hike adventure or some of Georgia’s best camping and backpacking under a starry sky. This colossal gulch carves through Lookout Mountain, offering expansive views from its chiseled rims (and some of the best sunset views we’ve seen in Georgia). From its rim, Cloudland’s colorful walls plummet over a thousand feet to the rocky valley below, home to tumbling waterfalls and enormous boulders.
For abundant views and far-flung vistas, hike the West Rim Loop Trail from the eastern rim, catching breathtaking vista after vista on a five-mile loop. Or for an incredible workout, follow the Cloudland Waterfalls Trail in a descent to the gorge floor to the giant cascades of Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls, two waterfalls that plummet from immense curved rock outcroppings framed by the Cloudland’s chiseled, steep walls. And follow the Sitton Gulch Trail, our favorite adventure at the park, over a long wooden bridge near the base of Hemlock Falls. The trail descends through a narrow, waterfall-filled valley shaded by Cloudland’s steep walls and fragrant hemlock trees, exploring a rocky landscape filled with abundant springtime wildflowers.
With sinuous, colorful, sandstone walls in vibrant shades of oranges and pinks, and towering pinnacles and tight crevaces, it’s no wonder that this place is nicknamed Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon”. Unlike Cloudland and Tallulah, though, Providence is anything but a natural wonder. Its deep-carved, serpentine walls and rising spires were formed as a result of irresponsible farming practices and soil runoff in the 19th century. Nevertheless, this is one beautifully unique place to explore, and one of our favorite cool-weather hiking spots in southern Georgia.
Follow the Providence Canyon Trail to explore the park’s highlights on a fairly easy five-mile loop. The trail offers scenic views of the sculpted sandsone walls from the rim, and then weaves through a series of numbered ravines for up-close views of the colorful sandstone walls.
What to pack?
Our favorite hiking gearReady to hit the trail, but wondering what to pack? Our hiking gear list features our favorite, trail-tested hiking gear for day hikes on local trails and in the Georgia backcountry. We print and stitch our Atlanta Trails shirts and hats locally in Atlanta and Asheville, and they’re our favorite for trail adventures all over the South. And no matter what you pack in, pack it all back out. Please leave no trace and help preserve Georgia’s beauty.
OUR HIKING GEAR LIST
Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.
Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.