|From Providence Canyon|
Ok, this one’s a little further away, nestled about 150 miles Southwest of Atlanta, and 40 miles South of Columbus, near Lumpkin, Georgia. This puts it at about two and a half hours away, so I apologize. But, and there’s always a but, its well worth the trip. It’s one of the most outstandingly beautiful places in all of Georgia, so beautiful in fact I have a photo listed on the homepage. I am talking about Providence Canyon, known as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon”
This Canyon, another of Georgia‘s Seven Natural Wonders is different in its beauty than other parts of Georgia I have seen. Stepping inside the canyon transports one’s mind to someplace further West. The Canyon is really a series of Gorges, some 16 in all, and some of them as deep as 150 feet. And this erosion tell a story in its splendor. The story is Several Million years of Georgia’s geologic history. Admittedly, the erosion is, in part, man made, due primarily to poor farming techniques, lack of knowledge, and lack of future vision by farmers in the area in the 1800s. I don’t blame them, we learn much from our mistakes. But the byproduct result is a lovely panoramic view of whites, purples, pinks, reds, blacks and browns.
Providence Canyon sits within Providence Canyon State Park, and is a dayhikers dream. There is an easy 3 mile trail that takes you down into the Canyon to see, feel, and experience the walls of nine of the gorges first hand. It then leads up and along the rim to view the colors of the walls in its totality. If you want a little more challenge, there is a 7 mile Back Country Trail, but I was warned not to go because the back areas are popular with hunters (if you go check hunting schedules and/or wear bright orange), I personally don’t take chances when guns are involved.
As you climb out of the ravine, there are a couple of other interesting things to see. First there’s a strange dead car graveyard that must be at least thirty years old. The signs explain that they have become a habitat to many of the local animals and important in a way that requires them not to be moved, so they will no doubt be there when you make your sojourn.
The second is Providence Methodist Church, a church built in the early 1830’s and closed quite a while ago due the danger the expanding canyon presents. The old church is still there and you can explore the old cemetery with graves that date back to the early 1800’s.
Like I said, despite its distance, it is breathtakingly worth the trip, Its also better to get there late in the day to see the setting sun work its magic on the Canyon Walls. If you see it more of an overnighter there is camping, and plentiful reasonable hotel rooms in nearby Eufaula, Alabama. Its also within 5 miles of the equally intriguing town of Historic Westville.
Approximate Time: 2.5 hours
Approximate Distance: 3 miles (maybe more if you really explore each gorge)
Trail Surface: Compact Soil, Clay, some wet foot crossings
Features: Majestic Vistas, Colorful Canyon Walls
Overall Rating: A
Scenic Quality: A+
Value: A (only not an A+ because of distance from Atlanta)
Parking: $3 (standard State Park Rates) [Nov 2007]
Hours of Operation: Closed Nights, Major Holidays
Facilities: At the Visitor Center, other locations along the rim, none in canyon
Maps: At Visitor Center, Online here
County: Stewart County