Cloudland Canyon State Park Offers Fun and Adventure

Georgia State Parks Fall Color
Cloudland Canyon State Park
Hemlock Falls is a picturesque spot for a family portrait

Cloudland Canyon State Park, once known as Sittons Gulch, is one of the prettiest of Georgia’s state parks. It’s located in Georgia’s Northwest corner about half an hour from Chattanooga, TN. A perfect day trip from Atlanta, or if you’d like to stay over-night, there are regular camp and RV sites, as well as backcountry camping. My boys really liked the walk-in sites. It was far enough from the car that you felt in the woods, yet not so far that it was a pain to haul your gear to the site. In 2013 the park added 10 new yurts for semi-camping fun. Here’s a bit more on what to expect at Cloudland Canyon State Park.

Family Camping at Cloudland Canyon State Park
This rock outcrop at Cloudland Canyon looks like a big nose to me.

Hiking at Cloudland Canyon
Hiking the rim of the canyon and exploring the rock outcrops was a fun family activity for my crew. The two waterfalls, Hemlock and Cherokee are located down in the canyon. If you only have time for one, I thought Hemlock was the more scenic, although both are beautiful. There are 600 steps down to the falls, which isn’t too bad, but remember, that means there are 600 steps back UP to the top, so pace yourself and little ones.

Camping at Cloudland Canyon
My boys loved camping in the walk-in camping area. Although you have to carry gear to the campsite, it wasn’t far from the parking lot and once set up, we liked the woods completely around us rather than sleeping close to the car. We camped on site 12 but site 16 overlooks a creek and looked like an even better choice. Site selection for the walk-in camping is first-come, first-serve, so get there early to secure a specific location.  Cottages and yurts are also available on-site.

Family Camping
There are 600 stairs down to the waterfalls. Hard part is there are 600 more to get back up!
Family Camping
Walk-in campsites at Cloudland Canyon create a nice atmosphere in the woods

There is a trail from the walk-in sites to the West Rim hiking. It’s a pretty walk. At one point we crossed Daniel Creek and my youngest suggested this was a perfect place to play some Pooh Sticks. If you are unfamiliar with the Winnie-the-Pooh story, Pooh and his friends drop sticks on one side of the bridge and then race to the other to see which one comes out first. We’ve had many a fun game of Pooh Sticks on various bridges.

Things to do at Cloudland Canyon
There is a playground, disc golf and even tennis courts available at Cloudland Canyon – although the tennis courts weren’t in great shape during our visit.  If you’re looking for more adventure, the Georgia Girl Guides offer wild caving tours of Sittons Cave. Tours book fast, so make a reservation before you go to make sure there is space available. Maps to Sittons Cave are available at the Ranger’s office if you want to go on your own, but I wouldn’t recommend going too far without a guide, it’s very easy to get turned around in a dark winding cave.

Caving Tours
Wild Cave Tours are muddy, but lots of fun

If you’d rather take to the sky instead of crawling underground, try hang gliding. Lookout Mountain hang gliding, located a few minutes outside the Cloudland Canyon gate is the only hang gliding outfit between Florida and North Carolina. My 7 year-old enjoyed it so much, he wanted to go up again as soon as his feet hit the ground.

hang gliding
Suited up for hang gliding. Tandem flights leave from the ground.
Rock City Gardens
Famous Rock City is close to Cloudland Canyon

Cloudland Canyon is a short half hour drive to downtown Chattanooga, TN and a great base for a Chattanooga vacation. On the way to Chattanooga, stop at the famous Rock City Gardens which is about half way between Cloudland Canyon and Chattanooga.

What: Cloudland Canyon State Park
Where: Rising Fawn, Ga.
When: Something new throughout the year
Cost: $5 parking fee

Also visit A Little Campy for a Mom’s Guide to Camping on a Budget.

6 Comments on Cloudland Canyon State Park Offers Fun and Adventure

    • Tiffany, We love Pooh Sticks. So glad you do too. To tell the truth, even my older kids can get into it:) It’s always fun until someone finds a huge log and tries to pass it off as a stick.

    • Janet, It’s a game from the book Winnie the Pooh. Pooh plays it with his friends. They stand on one side of a bridge and let sticks go and then run to the other side to see whose stick comes out first. Tiffany is right, it’s actually a fun game that is so simple – and educational if you really think about it.

  1. We love Cloudland Canyon. I can’t wait to try out their new yurts. We went camping in the yurts at High Falls and loved it. We’ll have to give Pooh sticks a try!

    Thanks for the shout out, Sue!

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  1. Review: Georgia - Cloudland Canyon | Yin & Yang Travel Adventures
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