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.

The Secrets of Providence Canyon Georgia's Little Grand Canyon
The Little Grand Canyon Ga.

Long before children or Pinterest, I had 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..

Providence Canyon Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon

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.

Providence Canyon State Park
Wear old shoes. The canyon floor has lots of water and you will walk through mud.

Providence Canyon Hiking

There are 16 different canyons, exposing 43 different shades 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 intersting hikes in Georgia.

If you only have time to hike a few, canyons 4 and 5 are the most spectacular. Be sure to wear old shoes too. The canyon floor is below sea level and you’ll be walking through streams running through nice red Georgia clay.

Providence Canyon cars
Look for old cars along the Providence Canyon rim hike.

Make sure to get a map at the top of the trail to navigate your way and leave time to hike the outer rim of the canyon 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, kinda 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 remotely close to pick up food.

Where to Stay Near Providence Canyon State Park

Camping at Providence Canyon State Park

We spent the night camping at FDR State Park on our trip, but you can camp at Providence Canyon Ga if you want. The park has three pioneer camp sites and six back country camp sites. If you plan to visit Providence Canyon Georgia, 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.

What: Providence Canyon Georgia
Where: Lumpkin, Ga.
When: Open Daily
Cost: $5 parking fee

Hiking Providence Canyon State Park in the Rain
Even the rain didn’t dampen the fun of exploring this awesome Georgia state park

Join the Georgia Canyon Climbers Club

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 picture and blog posts to prove it! The only thing we’re missing is the “I did it!” t-shirt.

How do you join Canyon Climbers? Stop by one of the four participating state park offices and purchase a $10 membership card. Membership cards are also available by calling 770-389-7401 or you may send an email with your name, address and daytime phone number to:

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.

Here are the links to the blog posts I’ve done on each of the parks. So what are you wanting for, join us in the Georgia Canyon Climbers Club. (I wonder if I send them $10 and my pictures if I can get a t-shirt?)

  • Amicalola Falls Ga.: At 729 feet, it is the tallest cascade east of the Mississippi River.
  • Cloudland Canyon Ga.: On the edge of Lookout  Mountain in northwest Georgia.
  • Tullulah Gorge Ga.: Located in Northeast Georgia it is one of the most spectacular canyons in the South.
  • Providence Canyon Ga: Located in Lumpkin Georgia, it’s called the Grand Canyon of the South, or the Little Grand Canyon Georgia.  It is one of the states most photographed landscapes.

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