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A cornucopia of color: Cloudland Canyon State Park is the perfect Georgia fall getaway

The state park has more than 400,000 visitors a year as people come from all around to take in the fall foliage.

RISING FAWN, Ga. — The leaves are slowly in the process of changing colors but in the northern part of the state, they are putting on a show. 

Next up in our Discover Georgia series, Suzanne Lawler heads up to Cloudland Canyon State Park, which sits about 30 minutes from the Tennessee border in northwest Georgia.

It's a cornucopia of color during the fall, but you'll find amazing things to see year-round.

Kim Hatcher is with the Georgia State Park system and says Cloudland can get a little crazy every October.

"Cloudland Canyon gets over 400,000 visitors a year," Hatcher said. "I joke and say 300,000 come in October."

That's not true, of course, but people come for the beautiful fall colors.
And who can blame them?
When you drive into Cloudland Canyon, the colors will take your breath away.

The yellow and red foliage is stunning but leaves like the seasons are fleeting; no worries.
This 3,500-acre space has something for everyone.

Woody Hughes works and is in awe of the space.
"Just the natural landscape the canyons formed millions of years ago, he said.
He says the clouds dip onto the mountain in the morning, and the canyon speaks for itself.

You can get down to the floor, but it's a workout.
It's considered a strenuous hike because there are 600 steps going down, and then don't forget you've got to climb those 600 steps coming back up.

"I do tell people to take your time while hiking down and notice the little things because you're hiking on the edge where you can see the layers of shale and sandstone that make up the canyon," Hatcher said.

After a 1,000-foot elevation drop, the reward is taking in two waterfalls, Cherokee and Hemlock.

Credit: Cloudland Canyon State Park

They slow down in September and October, which is the dry season; however, you can still hear that relaxing gurgle as you sit by the pond or one of the giant rocks.

For an overlook of the canyon, there is a much easier and paved path that will give you some eye candy.
In addition to the views and fall foliage, there are plenty of other reasons to visit.

"We have a half-acre catfish pond that we have stocked yearly, "Hughes said. "We have an 18-hole disc golf course. It's a par three course. We have deer turkey possums that will run around at dusk time with the raccoons."

Credit: Cloudland Canyon State Park

"Cloudland Canyon is one of the few state parks that has a yurt village, and we call it glamping and their kind of a cross between a tent and a cabin, Hatcher said with a smile.

All of the yurts have fire pits. There's also geocaching and miles of dirt bike trails.
Spring and fall are the busy seasons, but in January and February, it can become a winter wonderland.

"You see ice forming along the canyon ice off the waterfalls, and it's a gorgeous view, Hatcher said.

It's a gorgeous view no matter when you visit.
Just expect those 300,000 folks to meet you there in October.

Various amenities and campsites

  • 16 cottages
  • 10 yurts
  • 72 tent, trailer & RV campsites
  • 30 walk-in campsites
  • 13 backcountry campsites
  • Four pioneer Campsites. Call ahead for capacity before making reservations. 
  • Six picnic shelters. Call ahead for capacity before making reservations. 
  • One group shelter seats 175. Call ahead for capacity before making reservations.
  • One group lodge which sleeps 40. Call ahead for capacity before making reservations.
  • Gift Shop/Camper Store
  • Playground

Things to do at Cloudland Canyon

  • 30 miles of biking trails (rentals are available $35 for half-day and $55 for entire day)
  • Canyon Climbers Club
  • Caves are opened in April, June-July, and September-October (permits and reservations required
  • Disc Golf at $4 per person per round with an annual pass available  
  • Fishing
  • Geocaching
  • 64 miles of hiking trails (trail maps here)
  • 16 miles of horseback riding trails
  • Picnic locations
  • Weddings with park approval

Park Hours, prices and contact information

  • Park 7 a.m.–10 p.m.
  • Office 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • $5 parking with annual passes available
  • Park (706)-657-4050
  • Reservations (800)-864-7275
  • 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road in Rising Fawn, Georgia


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