17+ Fun & Adventurous Things To Do At Cloudland Canyon State Park

Cloudland Canyon State Park, once known as Sittons Gulch, is one of the prettiest of parks in the Georgia State Parks system. This beautiful Georgia canyon is located in the state’s northwest corner, about half an hour from Chattanooga, TN, in Rising Fawn, GA.

Located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, Cloudland Canyon is one of the state’s largest and most scenic parks in Georgia. With its beautiful rugged geology as part of the Cumberland Plateau, this North Georgia park offers ample outdoor recreation, home to thousand-foot-deep canyons, layers of sandstone and shale, wild caves, waterfalls, cascading bear creek, dense woodland, and abundant wildlife.

Hiking and mountain biking trails abound. The most popular hiking paths include the short Overlook Trail, strenuous Waterfalls Trail, and moderate West Rim Loop Trail. Mountain biking is available at the newly developed Five Points Recreation Area and the Cloudland Connector Trail.

The park also offers disc golf, a fishing pond, trails for horseback riding, picnicking, and overlooks. Guests seeking an overnight experience can choose from comfortable cottages, yurts, or several different camping and backpacking options. 

Ready to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know for an amazing visit to Cloudland Canyon State Park.

Cloudland Canyon State Park

17+ Fun & Adventurous Things To Do At Cloudland Canyon State Park

Cloudland Canyon State Park is a perfect day trip from Atlanta, or if you’d like to stay overnight, there are regular camp and RV sites, as well as backcountry camping and yurts. 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.

Overnight guests can choose from cottages near the canyon edge, yurts, a modern campground and spacious, walk-in tent sites. Backpackers can enjoy camping in a hemlock grove on the 2-mile Backcountry Loop.

Cloudland Canyon Waterfalls Trail

17+ Fun & Adventurous Things To Do At Cloudland Canyon State Park

Hiking the rim of Cloudland Canyon and exploring their many trails and the rock outcrops was a fun family activity for my crew.

There are two trails with waterfalls. The Waterfalls Trail is two miles and can be strenuous. The trail drops quickly down into the canyon depths to two sizable waterfalls, Cherokee and Hemlock Falls. It is approximately ½ mile to Cherokee Falls, and a much steeper ½ mile further down to Hemlock Falls.

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.

The scenery of the falls varies with the seasons, but in general, winter and early spring offer the strongest and most constant flow.

More Hiking Trails at Cloudland Canyon State Park

17+ Fun & Adventurous Things To Do At Cloudland Canyon State Park
Overlook Trail

You can find out more about the hiking trails at Cloudland Canyon State Park here, but here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect!

  • Overlook Trail. (1 mile, easy) The Overlook Trail is a more leisurely hike for beginners and children. This trail runs along the rim of Cloudland Canyon for approximately a half-mile. Be sure and hike down to the Main Overlook, arguably the best viewpoint in the park.
  • West Rim Loop Trail. (5 miles round-trip, moderately strenuous) Backpacker Magazine rated this trail as one of the top 10 hikes in the United States! This rocky trail is easily accessible from the main trailhead. It offers really amazing views, and it’s hard to believe some of the views can be found in Georgia!
  • Sitton’s Gulch Trail. (6 miles round-trip, strenuous) This trail follows the Waterfalls Trail deep into the canyon, then continues down to the canyon mouth. The trail follows Daniel Creek through open, green hemlock groves and overlooks numerous small waterfalls cascading through limestone crevices, and of course the beautiful Sitton Gulch Creek.
  • Two Mile Backcountry Loop. (2 miles, moderate) Featuring secluded camping sites situated within pristine groves. The trail passes through open woods, progressing down a moderate grade into a hollow.
  • Meadowlands Trail. (1 mile, moderate) This trail begins at the disc golf course; the short Meadowlands Trail meanders down through the fishing pond area of the park, a former farmer’s homestead. Guests are encouraged to stroll around the perimeter of the meadow, enjoying the uniqueness of this environment. In late June and early July, thousands of wild blackberries are ripe for picking.

Cloudland Canyon Camping + More Lodging Options

17+ Fun & Adventurous Things To Do At Cloudland Canyon State Park
Making s’mores at a Cloudland Canyon cabin.

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 at East Rim Campground, but site 16 overlooks a creek and looked like an even better choice. Site selection can be made in advance online.  Cottages and yurts at Cloudland State Park are also available on-site.

There is a trail from the walk-in sites to the West Rim hiking trail. 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 including this one at Cloudland Canyon.

At Cloudland Canyon State Park, there are lots of overnight lodging options including 16 cottages; 72 tent, trailer and RV sites; 30 walk-in campsites; 10 yurts; and 13 backcountry campsites.

THINGS TO DO AT CLOUDLAND CANYON STATE PARK

17+ Fun & Adventurous Things To Do At Cloudland Canyon State Park
Taking a break during a geocaching adventure at Cloudland Canyon State Park.

There is so much to see and do at Cloudland Canyon State Park! Some of the most popular things to do at Cloudland Canyon State Park are…

  • Visit the playground with the kids
  • Play a round of disc golf ($4/person/round)
  • Bring your horse and explore the 16 miles of equestrian trails
  • Go geocaching
  • Enjoy a picnic at one of the picnic areas
  • Go fishing

Mountain Biking at Cloudland Canyon

In addition to hiking and equestrian trails, Cloudland Canyon is also home to 30 miles of mountain biking trails. The 5 Points Recreation Area features multi-use, beginner, intermediate, and expert trails.

Some of the most popular easy trails are the Prince Albert and Cloudland Canyon Connector trail (3.4 mi), the Barkeater Trail Loop (4.9 mi), and the Five Points Recreation Area Loop (10 mi).

Cloudland Canyon also offers bike rentals. Bike rentals are $35 for a half-day or $55 for an entire day.

Caving at Cloudland Canyon State Park

If you’re looking for even more adventure, there are caves at Cloudland Canyon. Maps to Sitton’s Cave are available at the Visitors Center. Only experienced wild cavers are allowed to explore the caves, and permits and reservations are required.

The caves are open in April, June, July, September, and October.

Canyon Climbers Club

The Georgia State Parks’ Canyon Climbers Club is for those few who want to scale to the top of Amicalola Falls, explore the floor of Providence Canyon, brave the swinging bridge in Tallulah Gorge, and master the staircase in Cloudland Canyon.

Pay the $20 fee, and then you’ll get a shirt and bragging rights when you finish all four challenges. There is no time limit, so you can take all the time you need!

Things To Do Near Cloudland Canyon

river park greenway
Chattanooga

Hang Gliding at Lookout Mountain Flight Park

If you want to see the area around Cloudland Canyon from a completely different perspective, consider a tandem hang gliding flight at Lookout Mountain Flight Park!

Lookout Mountain Flight Park 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.

We had the best time when we went! You can read all about our experience here: Kids Soar on a Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding Adventure

Visit Chattanooga

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.

Walk across the Walnut Street Bridge, visit the Tennessee Aquarium, explore Ruby Falls, take in the view on the Incline Railway, or book a cave tour with Raccoon Mountain. And there’s so much more! We’ve got a whole section on Chattanooga Vacations here.

Read More: 22 Things To Do in Chattanooga for the Entire Family | Downtown Chattanooga: 12+ Perfect Ways To Explore

Cloudland Canyon State Park FAQ

When is the best time of year to visit Cloudland Canyon State Park?

Anytime is a good time to visit Cloudland Canyon State Park, but spring, summer, and fall are the most popular times to visit. Temperatures from April-October are usually pretty pleasant. Cloudland Canyon is a great place to see beautiful fall foliage, as well.

How many waterfalls are at Cloudland Canyon State Park?

There are two waterfalls at Cloudland Canyon State Park u002du002d Hemlock Falls and Cherokee Falls. You can access both falls via the aptly-named Waterfalls Trail. Make sure to bring water and snacks on your hike though…there are 600 stairs to conquer to get there.

What city is Cloudland Canyon near?

Cloudland Canyon is officially in the town of Rising Fawn, GA, close to Trenton, GA. It’s only 30 minutes from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO GEORGIA

Where To Stay Near Cloudland Canyon

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17+ Fun & Adventurous Things To Do At Cloudland Canyon State Park