If you live in Georgia, chances are you enjoy nature and the outdoors, at least a tiny bit. I know I do. I’m always searching for places I want to visit, usually a state I haven’t been to yet, sometimes even fantasizing about another country. After all, I’ve lived in Georgia my whole life! I’ve seen everything it has to offer. So imagine my surprise when I found a random link on Facebook advertising Providence Canyon State Park – Georgia’s little Grand Canyon. WHAT? We have a baby Grand Canyon? Where the heck?!
Located in Lumpkin, Ga (not to be confused with Lumpkin County), in the middle of nowhere, is an enormous canyon that few people have heard of. I had to go! So I did some research on the canyon, hiking trails, camping spots in the area (there’s a few in the park), paid for our sites, packed up, and went. It was around a four hour drive from where I’m from. Not too bad considering the destination.
Once we arrived, I went to the visitors center / gift shop to check in and find out where our site was located. FYI – they sell nearly EVERYTHING you could need for a camping trip, so if you forget something, don’t panic. Once I had all my info (I’m an info nerd), we headed over to our site. Unfortunately I cannot remember exactly where we stayed. It was within walking distance to the canyon, but you can drive back to the visitors center if you don’t want to walk too much. There’s an overlook area as well, so if you’re unable to hike (it’s moderate), you can still see the canyon.
Now, on to the campsite.
First thing – the sites are primitive, meaning it’s like being a cavewoman. There’s no electricity, water, or bathroom. Instead, you have an outhouse. I was thrilled to realize I wouldn’t have to use the bathroom behind a bush. An outhouse is just like a bathroom right? LMAO. No. It's a shack, consisting of only a bench with a hole in it. It is the worst smelling thing I’ve ever... well... smelled. It was horrible, and if you ever encounter one of these buildings and think, “I’ll spray some perfume in it to cover the smell,” DON’T DO IT. It makes things 10,000 times worse. Not exaggerating. Just use the bushes or the leaves. Or a tree. Make a game out of it. Get creative. I dunno. Stay out of the outhouse. Anyway, on to the less terrifying parts of the trip.
We brought bottled water, hot dogs, skewers, sandwiches, chips, cereal, and milk, and kept it all in a cooler or the truck. Though we didn’t see any bears, they are out there, so you’ll want to make sure you properly store all your food and throw the trash in the bin when you're finished, lid on tight. Like I said – it’s primitive, so bring a huge blanket, lay it out by the fire, relax, and enjoy your time in nature. You can bring fido, too. Providence Canyon is pet-friendly everywhere except the visitors center. I brought both of my puppers and they loved walking through the trails
The actual canyon floor was slippery in spots, but for the most part pretty easy to walk through. It was mostly flat, bare (no walking into tree branches), rocks and dirt.
The perimeter of the canyon is the moderate part. The walk down / back up is a little tiring, and the perimeter has slight ups and downs. I don’t remember being too out of breath though, and I was a smoker at the time, so it’s not too bad. Definitely worth the hike if you’re able.
- You can camp here in a camper or tent
- Bring water and food – there is no water or electric hookups
- DON’T USE THE OUTHOUSE
- There’s an overlook if you’re unable to hike
That’s it! Absolutely worth the visit, especially if you’re on the east coast. You can spend at least 2 nights here without needing any entertainment but the fireflies and birds. Hope you enjoyed reading and you’re a step closer to checking this one off your bucket list!