Caving at Cloudland Canyon: Cherokee Falls

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Northwest Georgia

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Northwest Georgia

Cloudland Canyon State Park is a remarkable park in Northwest Georgia about a 2.5 hour drive northwest of the center of Atlanta.  My 14 year old son and I had a blast caving with G3 Wild Cave Tours there which you can read about in another blog post if you are interested.  After we went caving we had a few hours to check out Cloudland Canyon before it got dark. We parked near the Overlook Trail and Waterfalls Trail.  The Overlook Trail is relatively flat, only one mile and leads to the Main Overlook and Overlook #2.  This was a quick and easy way to see the spectacular canyon.

Caving at Cloudland Canyon: Cloudland Canyon

There were beautiful stone lined paths on the Overlook Trail.

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Path Around Canyon

After seeing the views of the canyon, I decided that we had time to try the Waterfalls Trail.  Cole said he has hiked to enough waterfalls with me, googled Cherokee Falls on his phone, said he’s seen it, and stayed in the car.  Is this my son?  How could you ever see enough waterfalls?

The park website describes this trail as a strenuous 2 miles roundtrip with 1/2 mile to Cherokee Falls and a much steeper 1/2 mile to Hemlock Falls.  I decided I could make it to Cherokee Falls, but didn’t have the energy to make it to Hemlock Falls after caving for two hours.  Below is a view of the canyon as I walked toward the Waterfalls Trail.

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: View of Canyon

One half mile does not sound very long, but the hike to Cherokee Falls is very steep so seemed further than that.  I passed many hikers who were huffing and puffing on the hike back up.   I found the hike down incredible beautiful and well worth the effort.  This is a special place!  I was fascinated with the collosal boulders on the hike down.  The one below reminds me of a parrot with a giant beak.

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Large Boulder on Trail

There were many stairs down to the falls, so this is not a hike for someone who doesn’t do well with stairs.

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Stairs on Trial

Below are a few of the mammoth size rocks along the stream near the falls.

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Trial

As I reached the stream there was a magical quality in the air.  The wonders of nature continually astound me.  This is one of my favorite spots in Georgia.

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Below Cherokee Falls

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Giant Boulder On Trial

I was mesmerized by Cherokee Falls.  The sheer canyon wall, large vertical drop of the falls, shimmering blue water in the pool below,  and bright green of the new spring leaves on the trees all had me in a trance.  I was the only one there and I let the tranquility of the place surround me.   Then, I tried my best to capture the spirit of this enchanting place with my camera.

Caving at Cloudland Canyon: Cherokee Falls

After enjoying the tranquility, I turned to head back up the steep trail.  I was not looking forward to the climb back to the top.

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Stairs on Trail

It was tough, but when I reached to top of the canyon, I was rewarded with the glowing sky of the sun about to set.  I wish I had been able to spend the night in the campground to enjoy the last of the light.  However, my son was waiting for me so I  headed to the car.

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: View of Canyon

Conclusion:

If you enjoy hiking and the outdoors, I highly recommend visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park.  It is an amazing place!  I was able to go on a wild cave tour, hike along the canyon rim, and take the steep trial down to the first waterfall, Cherokee Falls.  I can’t wait to go back to make it to the second waterfall and canyon floor.  I looked at the cabins and yurt availability and I am not surprised to see weekends book up fast, so I will need to plan ahead for my next adventure here.

Links:

Cloudland Canyon State Park | Georgia State Parks

Trails at Cloudland Canyon | Georgia State Parks

Photography:

Below are four different photos of Cherokee Falls.  The first one I would consider the typical photo that someone would take of the falls.  Walk up and snap the photo of the falls.  It’s a beautiful photo of a picturesque waterfall.  However, with this waterfall there were many interesting ways to get a more unique photo including the surrounding area.

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Cherokee Falls

In the photo below, I moved back a little and “framed” the fall within the rocks on the shore of the pool.  I really like the way it turned out and it’s a bit more interesting to me.

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Cherokee Falls

In the next photo below, I moved back and included more of the cliff and the stream below the falls.  Again, a bit more interesting.

Visiting Cloudland Canyon State Park: Cherokee Falls

In the final photo below I moved just a bit to my right and you can see more of the blue water in the pool at the base of the falls.

Caving at Cloudland Canyon: Cherokee Falls

So, if you are looking for some more interesting photos, be sure to move around and see what happens.

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