Camp Name: Cloudland Canyon
- Website: Cloudland Canyon
- Site Number: 22
- Location: Rising Fawn, GA
- Latitude: 34.8402630
- Longitude: -85.4828810
- Rating: N/A
- Date Visited: June 25, 2018
- Nights Stayed: 4
- Reservations: Yes
- Fee: $ 32 night
- Fellow Campers: Scott + Sydney, Pelham, Alex & Zach
Our visit to Cloudland Canyon was the big summer vacation with the kids so we scheduled a 4 night visit. Cloudland Canyon State Park is in Northwest Georgia about 30 minutes south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This was our first camping over on this side of the state and it definitely has a different vibe to it. It was end of June and hot. It has been raining almost every day.
We got to the campground in about 2 1/2 hours. Check-in is at the Visitor Center which is on the road to the right of the gate attendant. There is camper parking off to the right side of the road in front. The park has 2 campgrounds: west and east. West is a lot more wooded while East is right near the canyon lookouts and is more of a wide open campground with minimal trees. In June, the West side definitely fills up faster. We stayed in West and like many state parks, each site is first come first serve.
We settled on site #22 about 3 sites down from the restrooms and laundry. It was on a curve in the road so the lot was quite large. We had plenty of room for our 16’ camper and a tent for the kids. Each site has a gravel pad, fire ring, grill, and a wooden picnic table. The gravel pad was mostly dirt with large rocks in it and was very different from other campgrounds that use the small pea-sized granite. It got very muddy and everything was covered in dirt when we got home. I really hope they regravel sometime soon.
Sites supported 30/50Amp, 120v, and had water hookups. No cable or wifi but the cell signal was strong. The campground also had gray water dump areas. There was plenty of tree cover and all the kids had plenty of spots to set their hammocks up.
The bathrooms were older but well maintained and fairly clean. Serious bug alert though. I hope you find daddy long legs endearing! Each bathroom had 2 showers. Water pressure was good but the hand shower in the women’s first shower had a broken wall mount and kept falling down. There was also a laundry with 1 washer and 1 dryer and each cost $1 per load. I was able to dry all 3 in time for the next night. There were 2 facilities at this campground so most sites were within a close distance to a bathroom. There was also a very nice playground for kiddos and a Little Library.
Cloudland Canyon has a ton of hiking trails, 64 miles worth to be exact. Hiking access from the campground was super simple. The entrance to the Waterfall trail is right across from the facility building near our site! If you go left at the split, you’ll come across huge boulders with breathtaking views of the canyon. If you go right you’ll be headed toward 2 waterfalls, Cherokee and Hemlock Falls. Both were just beautiful. The kids were definitely troopers. They hiked their longest yet, 5 miles! There was definitely whining but as a parent, I suppose I have gotten used it by now! I think they will remember this hike for a long time.
Creeks are everywhere. We swam at the creek off of Waterfalls Trail about a mile from the campsite under the first wooden bridge that your cross. There are areas of shallow and deep areas so be mindful of your kid’s swimming abilities. The water was cold but it felt so good at the end of our 5-mile hike. You can also swim at Cherokee and Hemlock falls but the terrain is much more treacherous and technically the park doesn’t want people swimming there but there definitely were. Experienced swimmers only…there is no way I would let my kids out there swimming but I might be a smidge overprotective and freaked out by water.
We didn’t play but if you are into Frisbee Golf, Cloudland Canyon has an 18-hole course.
Open on Saturdays and Sundays only, the interruptive center gives you a hands-on experience with the heritage and culture of the park. It was not open while we were there so I can’t say if it is worth a visit.
We hiked and drove to the “official” overlook. It is located right behind the Interruptive Center so if you aren’t a hiker you can still enjoy absolutely gorgeous views of the canyon. There are plenty of picnic tables and pavilions to enjoy a picnic.
Chattanooga is very close so one day we took off and spent the day in town. The aquarium is a must-do. It is very big and contains both salt and fresh water fish and other creatures like butterflies, alligator, penguins, and beavers. The kids, of course, loved the gift shop. Zach, our 6-year-old, said that was his favorite part of the entire vacation. Chattanooga has a great downtown right on the Tennessee River and has tons of restaurants. We ate at Mellow Mushroom for lunch — a family favorite and the pizza is always on point.
Where we ate near the Cloudland
Since we didn’t bring the dogs on this trip we were able to actually go out to eat. We tried a bbq joint, Thatchers, and a Mexican place, Lalitos, in Trenton, GA. Thatchers was very good. Scott and I had pulled pork and chicken. I think the kids had grilled cheese, chicken fingers, or the hamburger. The sauce selection was good and the Mac n Cheese was very “stick to your ribs”. The fried pickles were a bit of a disappointment. Overall, it was good and everyone was happy. I would recommend Thatchers if you are looking for a place to eat. Lalitos is pretty low on my scale of Mexican places. The chips were stale and the food was very mediocre. Dade county has weird liquor laws, so no margaritas! Bad deal.
Cloudland Canyon is beautiful. Its name is very apt as the clouds hovered in a very strange horizontal pattern across the mountains (you can see this when you’re in Trenton going back up the mountain to camp). When it rained you couldn’t see the other side of the canyon because the clouds just sank down filling the entire space.
We had a lot of rain and thunderstorms. So much so we were terrified for the kids and all 5 of us ended up sleeping in the camper 2 nights in a row. Their sleeping bags got soaked…thank goodness for the dryers in the laundry facility! One day it rained almost the entire day and it was certainly a buzz kill. We should have saved that day for our trip to the aquarium. If it rains, there is really not much to do with 3 kids. Need some advice on fun activities to bring next time in case we get rained out. This was the one time I was thankful we brought the iPads.
We met so many people from Atlanta! It’s so funny when we go camping that almost everyone we meet is from the metro area. Shout out to our neighbor, Michelle from Smyrna! It was so much fun meeting new people and hanging out. The kids met other kids at the campground, made s’mores, played games and watched movies. The fireflies put on a show every night. I have never seen so many in one place before in my life!
Cloudland Canyon is earned it’s way up near the top of our list. With the amazing hikes right from the campsite, sights, and proximity to Chattanooga there is definitely something for everyone. We’ll be back Cloudland!