HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR HIKE AT PROVIDENCE CANYON STATE PARK
By Buddy Blouin
When it comes to Georgia State Parks, it’s difficult to find one better than Providence Canyon State Park. Known as the Little Grand Canyon of Georgia, Providence Canyon is a stunning beauty found within 1,003 acres of the pristine American countryside. The canyon is part nature, part the result of poor farming practices, but the view is wonderful all around. There are opportunities to hike, events throughout the year, picnic areas, and even a quirky homestead with vehicles from the 1950s to discover. Learn more about this hidden gem and plan your visit to one of the more unique nature experiences available in the South.
Suggested read:Fort Benning Georgia: In-Depth Welcome Center
Where Is Providence Canyon State Park?You’ll find one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia at 8930 Canyon Rd., Lumpkin, GA 31815. Providence Canyon State Park is about an hour south of Fort Benning on the east side of the Peach State near the border it shares with Alabama. Rural countryside, nearby recreational areas, and additional reserves in the region provide you with the perfect opportunity to reconnect with nature.
Where To Stay Near Providence Canyon State ParkIf you’re looking for a place to stay while visiting the Little Grand Canyon of GA, then you are in luck. Camping is available in the region at multiple campgrounds in both Fort Benning, GA, as well as nearby Eufaula, AL. Additionally, other campgrounds include Florence Marina State Park, Veteran Camping, Bluff Creek Park, and the Anglers N Antlers Private Campground. You can also use the primitive campsites along the Backcountry Trail at Providence Canyon State Park, but the hike may be a bit difficult for inexperienced hikers. The campgrounds in the area are great ways to reconnect with nature well beyond your time at Providence Canyon itself, but if you are looking for a bit more in terms of modern lodging, you have options. Hotels near Providence Canyon State Park can be found in nearby Columbus, Georgia, and also Eufaula, Alabama. There are even rooms in Fort Benning and nearby Americus, GA, as well.
Is Providence Canyon a Hard Hike?The trails at Providence Canyon State Park have differing levels of difficulty, making it a perfect spot for beginning hikers, those looking for a challenge, and everyone in between. It’s important that no matter which trail you choose, remember to practice hiking safety, such as drinking and bringing lots of water, letting someone know where you are going to be, using appropriate attire/gear, remaining on the marked trails, and leaving the park as it is. Here is a little breakdown of the trials you can expect to encounter during your visit:
Canyon Loop TrailRated easy to moderate, if you are less experienced, this is going to be your best bet. There are nine canyons that the White Blaze Canyon Loop Trail circumnavigates. You can hike canyons 1 through 5 from the visitor center, then hike a quarter of a mile down to the creek bed before turning left. From here, you’ll follow the creek bed into the canyons, and canyons 6 through 9 may be reached by turning left into the second creek. At the end of each canyon, simply backtrack, and you’ll be able to return to your trail. You’ll need at least two hours, possibly more for exploration, for your 2.5-mile trek.
Backcountry TrailOff of the White Blaze Canyon Loop Trail, the 7-mile Backcountry Trail leads into the forested area to begin the more difficult hike available to visitors. You’ll spend a quarter of a mile down the Loop Trail at the creek bed. Don’t turn left into the canyons; instead, you’ll want to turn right on the creek bed. Here is where the Backcountry Trail begins. You’ll move through river birch trees, and after two miles, you’ll begin a rugged steep grade ascending the landscape. If you are looking to use the primitive campsites in the park, here is where you’ll find them, and if you are pressed for time, there is a shortcut at site 2. After the campsites, you’ll find more rugged terrain again with six viable canyons, but access is restricted. The trail comes to a dead-end into the Loop Trail. Turn right to continue through the day-use area. It’s best to follow the fence line to view the sights until you reach the visitor center. No matter which trail you choose, remember that canyon beds can be muddy, and we cannot stress enough how prepared you’ll need to be with your footwear. For the casual nature lover to the hiker looking for a new challenge, Providence Canyon State Park has something for everyone to enjoy.
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Providence Canyon State Park
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