Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon” is comprised of 1,003 acres of “continually shifting sediments”. I visited on February 26, 2022. It was a glorious sunny day. A race was in-progress, so the park was very busy. I paid the $5 parking fee and found a spot in the overflow parking next to my friends. The sky was the brightest blue I have ever seen, a perfect day to explore the canyons. We proceeded on the trail to the bottom of the gullies to explore the canyons up close. We passed by a few rusty, abandoned cars which are not removed to avoid disturbing the ecosystem they have become part of. Looking up at the rim from below, I felt transported to a different world. Mineral deposits of iron, manganese, limonite, kaolin painted the canyon walls into layers of orange, purple, yellow and tan, a true work of art. To reach the canyons, one must hike through a shallow creek over reddish clay soil, shoes will get muddy and wet but don’t let that deter you. It is a moderate trail packed with interesting geological discoveries.
A sign at the park explains that it dates back to millions of years ago. Trees and foliage protected it until the 1800s when the land was cleared for farming thus exposing “the sandy sediment to the destructive power of unmanaged rainwater runoff. A process that in less than 25 years created gullies over five feet deep.” The gullies continued to deepen as the years went by to what is now about 150ft. depth.
We walked the Canyon Loop Trail to each of the nine canyons and made our way up the trail to the visitor center where we stopped for ice-cream before proceeding to walk the rim where breathtaking views awaited. We passed by an old Methodist Church and cemetery established in 1832 just before reaching the overflow parking. The total hike covered a spectacular 5 miles. I highly recommend visiting this park, considered one of Georgia’s “Seven Wonders”. Its dramatic scenery is unforgettable