Trail

Canyon Loop Trail, Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia

Columbus, GA
Length: 2.45 mi.
Type: Loop

About This Trail

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, camping

LENGTH OF HIKE: 2.45 miles

OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Loop

DIFFICULTY OF TERRAIN: Easy–moderate

ELEVATION GAIN: 100 feet

PARKING FEE/PASS: State park pass $5

TOILETS: Yes

CHANGING TABLE: No

NURSING BENCHES: Yes

DOGS ALLOWED: Yes

Bikes/Horses/Motors on Trail: No

CELL RECEPTION: Yes

DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE: Yes

POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: The trail is fenced on the rim, however, ambitious toddlers could get through in some sections.

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Change of clothes to let the little ones splash in the creeks at the bottom of the canyon

While it’s not the size of the Grand Canyon, Providence Canyon is a type of topography that really shouldn’t exist in this state and looks more like something you would expect to find in Arizona or Utah. This is why the crumbling red sandstone landscape has been nicknamed “the Little Grand Canyon of Georgia.” Interestingly, the area is actually a result of human intervention with nature.

The topography formed in the early 1800s, shortly after the first settlers arrived. They saw the flat ancient seabed as a perfect landscape to farm, so they removed all trees and vegetation and began harvesting crops. What they didn’t understand was that the natural landscape was holding the crumbling terrain together. This shift in the geology by human impact led to a dramatic erosion, and within 50 years, deep ditches, up to 5 feet deep, were cut into the land From there this led to 16 were cut into the land. From there, this led to 16 different canyons forming, some as deep as  150 feet today.

Take some time to explore the canyon floor. Along the trail, you’ll find Georgia pines and salamanders. But what will stand out more than anything is the cross-section of the clay that is truly spectacular. It’s only in Providence Canyon that you can see the striations of the Georgia red clay, exposing the colors of iron ore,  manganese, kaolin, mica, and sandy clays. Remember, this is a fragile landscape, so it’s important to stay on trail because the area is still heavily eroding daily.

What your toddler will love are all of the great little puddles and a shallow creek for splashing. Bring waterproof shoes for the canyon floor. The creek at the bottom is only an inch or so deep in most places, but it is muddy. Keep in mind that there is a lot of heavy erosion near the edge of the cliffs, so stay away (there are fences all around to remind you). The path is far enough away from the fences that it is very safe.

However, if you have a particularly ambitious toddler, make sure you keep an eye on him as there are places he could climb through. If you are an experienced backpacker, consider staying overnight and head into the backcountry if you are feeling adventurous. This is by permit only and there are no designated sites, so you will truly be on a full adventure.

WHY IT’S A FAVORITE
“I always love stumbling upon a place whose natural surroundings are so different from everything around it. Providence Canyon is exactly that. There are a lot of little canyons to explore on the valley floor. I love the juxtaposition of the old cars in the forest. Beautiful cross-section of the Georgia clay that you can’t see anywhere else.” — MELISSA HOLLINGSWORTH

INSIDER’S TIP
It is very hot in summer. Also, it can be crowded during good weather on a weekend. Parking may be difficult if you arrive late in the day during that time. But, it’s practically empty during the week.

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Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Surface type Dirt
Elevation gain 100 ft.
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains Yes
Bathrooms Yes
Cell reception Excellent
Pet friendly Yes
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby No
Emergency support
within 5 miles
No

Trail highlights

Camping Nearby and Mud Puddles

Trail Contributor

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.

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