What: Providence Canyon
Where: Lumpkin, Ga.
When: Open Daily
Cost: $5 parking fee
Providence Canyon was the impetus for our recent spring break trek across west Georgia. Years ago I had cut out an article in Southern Living on “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon” but life and then children got in the way of a trip. So when I found myself with an uninterrupted week to explore, I decided to build a vacation around a visit.
Providence Canyon, also known as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon” is a group of massive gullies, as deep as 150 feet that were caused by poor farming practices in the 1800s. There are 16 different canyons, exposing 43 different shades of soil ranging from light orange, salmon, red and scarlet to white, purple and pink. If you only have time to hike a few, canyons 4 and 5 are the most spectacular. Be sure to wear old shoes too. The canyon floor is below sea level and you’ll be walking through streams running through nice red Georgia clay.
Make sure to get a map at the top of the trail to navigate your way and leave time to hike the outer rim of the canyon for a bird’s eye view. Along the rim’s path, you’ll encounter old cars that once belonged to owners of a homestead that is now park land. Removing the deteriorating vehicles would have caused too much damage to the environment and animals that made homes within the junk, so park officials have left them for posterity, kinda adding an interesting twist to the wooded paths.
The park has several picnic areas, including covered tables and a playground. Make sure you bring whatever you want to eat, there isn’t any place remotely close to pick up food. If you plan to visit Providence Canyon, make time to visit Westville, (LINK TO WESTVILLE POST) an 1850’s living history museum too.
Be Aware: The Canyon’s visitor’s center is closed due to budget cuts and although there are special ranger-led programs from time-to-time, there are no park rangers on duty consistently at this park, so make sure someone else knows you are going and will expect you back.