Hiking Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon
Spanning over 1,000 acres in rural western Georgia is the unique Providence Canyon State Park. The park is often referred to as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon” for its picturesque views. In fact, the canyon is even claimed to be one of the states seven wonders with its 16 beautiful canyons.
While most people are led to believe that Providence Canyon is made from natural causes, it is actually the result of poor farming. What is referred to as the canyon is actually gullies. These gullies were formed by erosion which occurred after farmers did not use proper farming techniques in the 1800s. The gullies are deep and some are nearly 150′ from top to bottom.
When the treaty of Indian Springs was signed in 1825, Stewart County saw an increase in settlers moving to the area. In 1836, the first record of these canyons being existent was noted by a deed transfer that year. In 1850, ditches up to five feet in depth were used to irrigate water which further harmed the location.
There was also one a community here where the park lies today. Left behind is an old church, cemetery and homestead. At the homestead are several 1950s era cars. While the original church was established in 1832, the present Providence Methodist Church was built in 1859. The residents moved the church as the canyon was increasing in size. Stewart County was one of the largest cotton producing areas.
The earliest known photo of the canyon was taken in 1893 and it wasn’t until the 1930s that it was coined Georgia’s “Grand Little Canyon”. Although, the community feared the spread of the canyon popularity due to its origins.
The beautiful soil layers exposed reveal layers of white, brown, yellow, pink and orange hues. The Plumleaf Azalea grows in the area and is an extremely rare plant. During the seasonal blooms many photographers seek to beauty of these plants.
Violet Sky’s Visit
It was on a fall morning that I set out on the trails of Providence Canyon State Park. The days leading up to the adventure had been raining so some of the pathways had been flooded out.
The walk back to the canyons is beautiful. From rare plants to gorgeous cliffs of soil it makes for some excellent photography and adventures.
How to Visit
Camping at Providence Canyon State Park is available by reservation. Day admission into the park is on $5 a car load.
Be sure to wear the proper shoes and beware that the trails may be muddy.
Despite the history of being a result of poor farming practices, Providence Canyon State Park makes for a scenic destination. It is a wonderful place to explore if you are in the area.
Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!