Cloudland Canyon Hiking

Friday morning we woke up, I weighed in at 199.5 lbs and then headed towards Cloudland Canyon State Park. Cloudland Canyon is located at 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd, Rising Fawn, Georgia. Located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, Cloudland Canyon is one of the largest and most scenic parks in the state. Home to thousand-foot deep canyons, sandstone cliffs, wild caves, waterfalls, cascading creeks, dense woodland and abundant wildlife, the park offers plenty of options. There are 64 miles of hiking trails.

We wanted a few harder hikes to test our gear and bodies. We chose to hike Bear Creek Backcountry Trail on Friday, but I had read conflicting information about it, so as soon as we arrived at the park, we went to the visitors center to figure it out. We found out it is indeed open and no longer requires a permit to hike it. Bear Creek Backcountry Trail is a 7.3 mile hard trail. I was very concerned before the hike, but with every step it left me even more concerned. The trail was very rocky and covered in leaves, so we had to step carefully. There was a lot of uphill with no real switchbacks to make the uphill easier. It was definitely hard because at 2.3 miles I decided we needed to turn back. My back and my hip was hurting, so I was concerned that it would just get worse if we continued on. We hiked about 4.6 miles of the trail and I can definitely say it earned it’s HARD rating.

After hiking, we headed up to our AirBnB “Bluebird Cottage” in Walker County for our weekend in Cloudland Canyon. There are closer places to stay in Rising Fawn, but we went for a more budget friendly and updated home to stay in. Counting macros requires a lot of cooking, so I needed a full kitchen.

After we checked out the cottage, we headed to Chattanooga to Whole Foods to stock up on groceries for the weekend; we had to make sure to hit all our macro counts.

Saturday we woke up ate breakfast and headed towards the park. We decided to hike Sitton’s Gulch Trail along with the waterfalls trail which is 5.8 miles round trip and considered moderate on Saturday.

Beginning at the Main Trailhead, Sitton’s Gulch Trail follows the Waterfalls Trail down deep into the canyon; The strenuous Waterfalls Trail begins at the Main Trailhead and drops quickly down into the canyon depths to two sizable waterfalls, Cherokee and Hemlock Falls. It is approximately ½ mile to Cherokee Falls, and a much steeper ½ mile further down to Hemlock Falls. The trail includes 600 metal stair steps. Then Sitton’s Gulch continues all the way down to the canyon mouth in Trenton. The trail follows Daniel Creek through open, green hemlock groves and overlooks numerous small waterfalls cascading through limestone crevices. Retrace your steps back up for a strenuous climb.

The water level at the falls was very low on this trip. I have seen these falls flowing much fuller on previous trips here.

Cherokee Falls
Hemlock Falls

Sunday we woke up, ate breakfast and packed up the car. We chose West Rim Loop Trail which is 5 miles Round Trip and considered Moderate.

This popular trail was formerly rated by Backpacker Magazine as one of the top 10 hikes in the United States! It offers several scenic viewpoints of Cloudland Canyon as well as more distant terrain. The rocky, rooty trail is most easily accessed from the Main Trailhead. The West Rim Loop Trail is a lollipop-style hike; the first and last mile cover the same section of trail, and there is a three-mile loop in the middle of the hike.

All of the overlooks along the route are beautiful; be sure to stop at each one! We saw armadillos and deer along the trail too.

For the weekend we hiked 15.5 miles. Thankful for no injuries and beautiful weather!

Until our next adventures!

XOXO

-S

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