Down in the southwest corner of Georgia near the Alabama state line, on Canyon Road in a little town called Lumpkin, sits one of Georgia’s Seven Natural Wonders: Providence Canyon.
The canyon has gained popular reference as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon” and it certainly bares resemblance. Instead of spending years being cut out by the Colorado River, this canyon began taking shape after poor agricultural practices of the region in the 1800s caught up with the land. The geological wonder sits hidden until you’re right up on it and despite how it came to be it offers one of the most picturesque views of Southern land. The famous red dirt of the region glows in the canyon as it catches sunrise and sunset.
Camping in this little park is limited with only 3 pioneer sites, and peaceful. The backcountry spots are more abundant at 6, easy to find, and nicely kept. If it’s all booked and you’re dedicated to camping you can go 9 miles down the road to Florence Marina State Park.
One of my favorite sections of the park is along the Canyon Loop Trail, where you’ll run into some old cars. The homestead before the land was turned into a park had some old jalopies sitting around and in order to keep from disrupting the fragile ecosystem, it was decided that they should remain where they were and to let nature take its course.
Wandering about you’ll find classic longleaf pine after longleaf pine, rhododendrons, the if it’s the summer months the most vibrant plumleaf azaleas. If you like painting, this is one place the scenery paints for you with little imagination.
While the area is surrounded by old routes and logging roads, civilization isn’t too far away, you’ll find Columbus, Georgia closest and Macon not far off either. If you’re interested in keeping things interesting you’re less than an hour from Butch’s Museum of Wonder right over the state line in Seale, Alabama.
For deeper reading on the environmental history of the area and more specifically the soils, I’d recommend readings by Paul S. Sutter on the topic. Paul paints a bigger picture as well as getting into some cultural details, such as the church you’ll find as you enter the park