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Backpacker Magazine – Online Only

Cloudland Canyon State Park

by: William Oglesby

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Contact Information:

Cloudland Canyon State Park Rt. 2, Box 150 Rising Fawn, GA 30738 706/657-4050

Georgia Department of Natural Resources 205 Butler St., Suite 1352 East Atlanta, GA 30334 404/656-3530 Info/brochures: 404/656-3530 Reservations: (800) 864-PARK

Location: Cloudland is located 120 miles northwest of Atlanta and 30 miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Getting There: From Chattanooga, take I-24 south to I-59. Get off at the Trenton Exit and follow the signs to Cloudland Canyon State Park. From Atlanta, take I-75 north to Exit 133, Hwy. 136. Drive west 16 miles past LaFayette.

Seasonal Information: Depending on individual weather preferences, you can visit Cloudland Canyon any time of year. Summer temperatures can range anywhere from 50 to 90 degrees F, while winter temperatures are generally 20 to 40 degrees F. Snowfall varies, and rain is probably most common in April.

There are some annual special events ~ such as Wildlife Weekend in March, Wildflower Program in April, and Overnight Backpacking Trip in October ~ that you may want to plan your trip around.

Wildlife: Peregrine falcons soar above the canyon where you can find coyote, raccoons, fox, squirrels, rabbits, and turkey. It is safe to say there are no bears.

Insects: Information not available.

Plant Life: Maples, poplars, white oaks, Virginia pines, beech, sourwood, mountain laurel, and rhododendron highlight the landscape.

Facilities: There are various camping options:

  • On the back side of this trail are 30 walk-in (walk up to a half-mile to site) campsites with tent platforms and picnic tables. They are without power or water, with access to one bathhouse. A small stream flows nearby, but the water must be purified before drinking. These sites are open April through October only.
  • There are also 75 tent and trailer sites with power, water, hot showers, washers, and dryers for $13 per night.
  • Pioneer camping accommodates groups of 15 or up to a maximum of 25 per site. These sites have water and pit toilets.
  • Primitive camping along a 7-mile trail is $3 per person. There are two designated sites with no facilities.
  • There are also cottages, group shelters, and picnic shelters available.
  • Reservations (800/864-PARK) are recommended for all sites, but not required. They must be made at least two days prior to arrival but no more than 11 months in advance.
  • Swimming pools are open Memorial Day until Labor Day. A playground and tennis courts are also available.

Parking: Contact park office for information.

Permits: Georgia State Park Pass is $2 per vehicle. An annual park pass (valid at any Georgia State Park except Jekyll Island, Lake Lanier Islands, and Stone Mountain Parks) is $25. Senior citizen and disabled veteran discounts are available.

Backcountry travel is by permit only. Hikers must register at the office.

Primitive campsites are $3 per night, and walk-in campsites are $8 per night. More developed tent and trailer sites are $13 per night.

Pioneer camping is $20 per night; each additional person is $1 per night.

Cottage costs are two bedrooms, $60 per night Sunday through Thursday and $75 per night Friday and Saturday, with a maximum capacity of 8; three bedrooms, $70 per night Sunday through Thursday and $85 per night Friday and Saturday, with a maximum capacity of 10.

Swimming pool admission is $1.50 (children under 2 are free). An annual swim pass is $20 adults, $15 children, $15 senior citizens, and $50 family (up to six immediate family members).

Policies:

  • Fires are allowed in the designated campsites.
  • Stays are limited to 14 days.

Hazards: Purify all water before drinking.

Leave No Trace: Contact park office for information.

All LNT guidelines apply.

Maps: Photocopied park maps are available at the office. A geologic guidebook is also available.

Topo maps that include Cloudland Canyon (maps 24 and 44) are available for $2.50 (plus shipping) from: Georgia Geological Survey/Map and Publication Dept. 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW, Rm. 400 Atlanta, GA 30334 404/656-3214

Other Trip Options:

  • The James H. "Sloppy" Floyd State Park is about 45 miles to the southeast.
  • Farther east is the Chattahoochee National Forest.
  • Other nearby attractions include Chief Vann House State Historic Site, New Echota State Historic Site, Chickamauga National Battlefield, and Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


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Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Steph
Sep 08, 2010

The backcountry sites are great year round, there's so much distance between them and they are a significant distance from the trailhead. This is one of my favorite state park primitive camping sites nationally. You're nowhere near car campers or RV's. Great in fall when the trees turn, but make sure you bring water, the creeks are dry.

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