Cloudland Canyon State Park
Section: West Rim Trail
Length: 4.5 miles (one-way)
Parking: Available at trailhead
Hiked on: September 29th, 2007
Cloudland Canyon State Park is a very nice facility nestled in the beautiful
rolling terrain of northwest Georgia. This park is home to two beautiful
waterfalls on Daniel Creek as well as many beautiful vistas along the top of
the canyon. The park also offers amenities such as a group lodge, tent and
trailer camping areas, cottages, and even tennis courts. Cloudland Canyon,
like all Georgia State Parks, charges a nominal parking fee of three
dollars. To get to the trailhead of these two trails continue straight ahead
on the main park road after leaving the parking fee collection station. At
the end of the road you will see the main parking area and the trailhead
will be on your left just past cabin five and picnic shelter number two.
From here, the Waterfall Trail and West Rim Loop Trail goes to the left and
the trail leading to the overlooks goes to the right. In the map in the
right-hand pane the Waterfall trail is drawn in blue, the Overlook Trail is
drawn in red, and the West Rim Loop Trail is drawn in yellow.
The West Rim Trail is a wonderful loop trail which will carry you past some
very scenic vistas along the western side of the canyon. From the trailhead
near the main parking area you will proceed to the left, or in a
southwesterly direction. The sidewalk quickly turns to a typical path as you
begin the descent into the canyon. At approximately 0.25 miles you will
reach a fork in the trail. The path to the left will keep you on the West
Rim Trail and going to the right will lead you to the waterfalls. Continue
down the staircase to the left and proceed down further into the canyon.
About 150 yards past this fork you will cross over Daniel Creek and then
begin the ascent up to the west rim of the canyon. The trip to the top is
rather uneventful except for a small cave you will find at approximately 0.5
miles into the trail. It will be tempting to take shortcuts through this
area of the trail because the switchbacks are in close proximity. Please do
not do this as it causes erosion problems and it increases your chances of
being injured. The view changes dramatically after you reach the top of the
canyon. There are several views to the east and the canyon below. There are
a couple of great views shortly before you reach the mile mark. The trail
along the rim of the canyon is well marked with yellow blazes. Even though
there aren't barriers to keep you from going to the edge of the canyon, the
distance of the blazes painted on the rocks from the canyon edge make it
obvious that park officials discourage going close to the edge. Use care
when in these areas and stay on the marked trails, especially in wet or icy
Shortly after departing these overlooks the trail will lead you in a
westerly direction and away from the canyon for a very short time. At this
point you will find a small footbridge. This description goes over the
bridge and then goes in the easterly direction back toward the canyon. At
mile 1.3 you will find two successive overlooks, perhaps even greater than
the first one you passed. You will be afforded a beautiful 270 degree
panoramic view at one of these points.
For the next mile, the trail will ascend steadily as it leads you to another
overlook several hundred feet above the city of Trenton, GA. Along the way,
you will have a few narrow views of the canyon to your right. The foliage
was fairly thick in this area when I visited in September but I suspect that
the views would be much better during the winter months. You will also see a
couple of cabins along this section of trail which are available for rent.
You will reach a road crossing shortly after continuing the trail in a
counterclockwise direction from the Trenton overlook. This portion of the
trail descends gradually as it leads you back in the direction of the main
parking area. You will pass a couple of camping areas along the way. Please
check with the park and obtain any kind of permit you may need before
utilizing these camping areas. At mile 3.3 you will notice the bridge that
you crossed earlier. To go back to the main parking area, continue straight
ahead instead of crossing the bridge. Following the blazes will lead you
back to the main parking area. There are a couple of abrupt turns on this
trail. While well marked, they could be easy to miss if you are enjoying the
scenery. The waypoints of these turns are listed below.
A Quick Note
You should always stay on marked trails. It is especially important to stay
on the marked trails in Cloudland Canyon State Park for safety reasons.
There are several areas in this park that could be dangerous if you venture
off the trail and I would definitely advise against letting children run
ahead along these trails. Also, the waterfall pictures in the right-hand
pane, as well as the photos in the photo gallery, were taken during a park
visit in January 2007. When I returned in September of 2007 the waterfalls
were reduced to a mere trickle due to a severe drought. If viewing the
waterfalls is important to you, you may want to contact the park directly to
find out about the flows.
Many of the maps on this website use a "Geolocation" feature. This feature attempts to find your current geographic position and pinpoint that location on the map. This feature may be useful if you are accessing the map via smart phone and you want to determine your location in relation to the mapped trails. The information obtained from the "Geolocate" feature should not be a replacement for common sense and you should not rely on its accuracy because the information obtained can be in error and beyond control of this website. If you do not wish for the maps to find your current location on the map, do not press the "Geolocate" button at the top-right corner of the maps.
The information contained in these maps were believed to be accurate at the time of publishing. However, trails can be rerouted and the information contained in the map should be no substitute for the trail information found at trailheads or on the trail itself (trail blazes). In many instances, you will find that water sources have been marked on the trails. These water sources were believed to be accurate at the time of publishing but all of the water sources may not be reliable due to current weather conditions (drought). The information contained in the maps should not be a replacement for common sense and you should not rely on their accuracy because the information obtained can be in error and beyond control of this website.
The directions to most trails are given with the aid
of Google Maps. The information obtained from these directions are
not guaranteed to be accurate. In addition, the map directions may
list the quickest way to the destination but they could possibly send
you on a route that may be impassable with your vehicle.
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