Hiking The Little Grand Canyon

This weekend, my closest friend Ashley and I took a trek out to Providence Canyon State Park.  The park is perched up in the tiny town of Lumpkin, Georgia and contains Providence Canyon, sometimes referred to as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon.” These canyons, a result of poor farming practices, did not exist 150 years ago. Georgia now boasts them to be one of the state’s Seven Natural Wonders.  We’d planned our trip a few weeks out and I’d been really excited to get outdoors once again now that the temperatures had become a bit more mild. I hadn’t hit the trail on an overnight trip since October.

We headed out early Saturday morning and took our time driving up. We made the obligatory Busy Bee stop, enjoyed some margaritas at lunch, and even stopped at a cool antique shop along the way. We landed in the state park around three and began our hike up to our backcountry site. The hike up was beautiful. Our first mile took us through the base portion, and revealed tiny streams of runoff along the Georgia clay. The sun beamed off of the tiny pools, which made for a really pretty walk.

 

The park has six backcountry sites available for reservation. We made our way through the red blazed trail passing many sites in an attempt to get as far into our hike as possible before we stopped to set up camp. We landed at site three after an attempt to find site one left us out venturing too long. We spent the evening by the fire talking girl things, keeping warm, and waving raccoons away. It was a pretty cold night, but all around not too bad. I was loving the sight of the sunset through the trees.

The next morning we woke up with an early start. We filled up on coffee and headed out to begin the longest portion of our hike. As we finished gearing up we were lucky enough to run into a group of people whom we asked to take our photo. Two of them were coincidentally on the same path as us for the day, and after a few laughs we decided they were definitely our kind of people! We stuck with them for the remainder of our hike and had a blast! Our new friend Josh had been to the park before, so we took full advantage of his guiding skills.

We continued along the red blazed trail until we hit the final seventh mile, where we began our cut through the white blazed trail to get to the canyon floor. Our first trail took us through the woods mostly, although we did catch some pretty overviews here and there, where we of course stopped for some photo-ops. We must have looked pretty rough after our overnight, because a woman passing through one of the shorter trails joked, “You DO know the Super Bowl is today, right?!” I assured her that we did not actually LIVE in the wilderness! Ha!

While we did see a few pretty overviews of the canyons along the red blazed trail, our up close encounters along the canyon floor were by far the coolest part! There are nine canyon sites total and each one is unique. It’s really crazy to think that these canyons are in no way a natural phenomenon, but completely man made. All along our trails the four of us joked, wondering just how bad the farming practices must have been to create canyons like these. Everything I’ve read still seems very vague as to the exact science behind the actions that caused the erosion that led to these canyons. Overworked land seems to be the only answer I’ve found.

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When we felt a little rain begin to fall, we decided it would be a good time to start making our way back to the white blazed trail. We took the portion of the trail that began in the woods, but led out and around the perimeter overlooks of the canyons. These overlook spots provided the prettiest views of the canyons. In the woods we came upon several old abandoned cars which have now become a permanent staple in the park’s ecosystem.

After several miles we’d made it back to the park entrance. We said goodbye to our new friends and trucked home. We were both happy to dump the weight of our packs, but I was still a bit sad that our trip had come to an end. I can’t thank our new friends Josh and Kay enough for letting us tag along and adventure with them. I know our trip wouldn’t have been the same without them.

I desperately needed to get out of the house and get outdoors and I’m so happy the temperatures are getting back to a point where that’s possible. We couldn’t have planned a better weekend getaway and I’m so thankful to Ashely for being my partner in crime. I couldn’t have gotten luckier in the friend department. Every time we’re together there’s never a dull moment, and I wouldn’t trade my friendship with her for anything in the world. I can’t wait to make more memories together!

Just wait until our next adventure!