We’re kicking off our summer road trip series — Hit the Road — with an outdoor adventure-themed trip to Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn, GA (in the northwest corner of the state near Chattanooga, TN). As one of GA’s “largest and most scenic state parks” with waterfalls and thousand-foot deep canyons, this spot is a great destination for experienced adventurers + novice nature seekers alike.
Before you start packing your bags, here’s everything you need to know about the area + our insider recommendations.
Drive time: ~4.5 hours
Est. population: 16,326 (2021 estimate for Dade County, where Rising Fawn is located)
Avg. high in June: 81°
🥾Things to do
Whether you’re looking to chase waterfalls or opting to take in the expansive views of the canyons, there’s a trail (seven, actually) for you. City Editor Kyle’s personal favorite is the Two Mile Backcountry Loop, but the Waterfalls and Overlook Trails are not to be missed. Save this map before setting out.
If you prefer two wheels over two feet, explore the park by mountain bike along 20+ miles of single-track trails at the Five Points Recreation Area and along the Cloudland Connector Trail. The recreation area is a former coal mining site.
Turn your hike into a treasure hunt by using your phone + the Geocaching app to hunt for small boxes of trinkets + geological features throughout the park. Cloudland Canyon State Park has at least six you can find with the app for free, and 10+ if you upgrade.
🍽️ Fuel up after hiking
Lookout Mountain Pizza Company, 203 Scenic Hwy., Rising Fawn | Thurs., 5-8 p.m., Fri. + Sat., 5-9 p.m., Sun., 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
There’s nothing like a pie to refuel after a day of hiking. This Neapolitan wood fired pizza spot, located just two minutes from the park entrance, offers 10+ pizzas and is even BYOB.
Canyon Grill, 28 Scenic Hwy. | Rising Fawn, GA | Tues.-Sat., 5-9 p.m.
Only one minute from the park entrance, Canyon Grill’s menu boasts items like a 9 oz. center cut, hickory grilled filet mignon with nine different sides to choose from. (Pro tip: Stop by Canyon Quick Stop for a bottle of wine or pack your favorite before making your way to Rising Fawn).
Pioneer site No.3 was quiet and cozy. | GIF by GVLtoday
🏕️ Cozy campsites + cabins
There are 150+ accommodations available in the park, from backcountry sites tucked away in the woods to group sites that can accommodate 20+ people. City Editor Kyle has camped at both a drive-in campsite (think: for RVs + camper vans) and a pioneer site with seven family members.
If a pit toilet isn’t your style, stay two minutes outside the park at Whitetail Fawn Cabin. This upscale cabin in the woods sleeps six + features a large living area + screened-in porch, a hot tub, a firepit, and endless nature views.
Among its cabins and large shelters, the park also features 10 yurts (think: circular tent). Each yurt sleeps six and is located near the West Rim. This could be a good option if you’re looking for a short stay free of stubborn tent poles, according to this visitor.
Reader submitted: Woodlands Bungalow
Reader Leigh shared this three bedroom, two bathroom complete with a screened-in porch and home just 10 minutes from the park.