The Secrets of Providence Canyon Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon

When my kids were younger, Providence Canyon State Park was the impetus for a spring break trek across west Georgia. We based our entire trip on visiting this Georgia State Park gem.

Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon” is absolutely beautiful. Massive gullies as deep as 150 feet were caused simply by poor farming practices during the 1800s, yet today they make some of the prettiest photographs in the state.

Identified by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources as one of the state’s “Seven Wonders”.


Long before children or Pinterest, I cut out an article in Southern Living on “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon” and pasted it in my wish book of places to go. Life and then children came along, and it wasn’t until I found myself with an uninterrupted week to explore that I decided to build a vacation around a visit to Providence Canyon, which is in Lumpkin, Ga.

Don’t forget to stop by the visitor center and the museum to learn more about this historical site.



Providence Canyon is located in the Southwestern portion of Georgia, south of Columbus, and west of Americus and Cordele.  Providence Canyon is known as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon” because of a group of massive gullies as deep as 150 feet that were caused by poor farming practices in the 1800s. This is one of Georgia’s most beautiful outdoor recreational areas.

When you first arrive you’ll be surprised by the beautiful views of the canyons from the rim. It’s definitely a site to see.


There are 16 different canyons, exposing 43 different shades on the canyon walls of soil ranging from light orange, salmon, red and scarlet to white, purple, and pink. All the colors make this one of the most beautiful and interesting hikes in Georgia.

If you only have time to hike a few, canyons four and five are the most spectacular. Be sure to wear old shoes too. The canyon floor is below sea level, and you’ll walk through streams running through nice red Georgia clay.

Canyon Loop Trail is considered one of the easier hikes. Head out on this 2.1-mile loop trail. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 52 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, and running, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

Make sure to get a map at the visitor center to navigate your way, and leave time to hike the outer rim and canyon edges 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, kind of 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 close to pick up food.

Keep your eye out for the rare Plumleaf Azalea grows only in this region and blooms during July and August when most azaleas have lost their color. The canyon soil’s pink, orange, red and purple hues make a beautiful natural painting at this quiet park.


We spent the night camping at FDR State Park on our trip, but you can camp at Providence Canyon if you want. The park has three pioneer campsites and six back country campsites.

If you plan to visit Providence Canyon, you aren’t far from the city of Columbus. In fact, the day we visited Providence Canyon it rained as soon as we were at the farthest point on the outer rim train (of course). We opted to hoof it back to our car and head to Columbus to the free Infantry Museum at Fort Benning.



For a true challenge, join the Georgia State Park’s Canyon Climbers Club. What is the Georgia Canyon Climbers Club? It’s a challenge from the Georgia State Park to “scale to the top of Amicalola Falls, explore the depths of Providence Canyon, brave the swinging bridge in Tallulah Gorge and face the daunting staircase in Cloudland Canyon.”

We did them all and I have pictures and blog posts to prove it! The only thing we’re missing is the “I did it!” T-shirt.


Stop by one of the four participating state park offices and purchase a $20 membership card. Membership cards are also available online.

A healthy dose of enthusiasm and sturdy hiking boots are recommended. Once you’ve visited all four parks and had the card punched by rangers, redeem it for a T-shirt and bragging rights. No time limit applies, so hikers can take as long as they wish to visit all four parks.

Providence Canyon FAQ

Is Providence Canyon good for all ages?

Providence Canyon draws families with children of all ages. It’s perfect for families to enjoy picnics, camping and hiking.

What should I bring?

Families visiting in the warmer months are encouraged to bring plenty of water and wear shoes they don’t mind getting wet or red with Georgia clay.

Is there a visitor center?

Yes! Visitors are encourages to visit the visitor center to access exhibits, maps, water fountains, bathrooms and a newly renovated gift shop.


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The Secrets of Providence Canyon Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon