Sun, Jan 6 2013 - Bear Creek Backcountry Trail - Cloudland Canyon (View Original Event Details)|
With a slightly overcast drive up, the skies cleared up just enough to provide us with great views throughout the day. Arriving at the visitor's center we were delighted for the good news that the Bear Creek Trail was open, when we were told earlier in the week that we would probably not be able to cross the creek due to recent rains yielding high water levels. We made our approach to the Bear Creek Trail via the Back Country Trail for the first 9 miles of our hike. Approx 3 miles on the trail and we had reached Bear Creek with it's beautiful rock canopy were we prepared to cross the creek. With no bridge available we had no choice but to traverse the frigid water by foot. Have no doubt...that water was ice cold...mucho frio! We made our way to the second of two primitive campsites, where we stopped for lunch. Shortly after lunch the trail brought us to the East Rim of the Canyon and some magnificent views of the canyon. We completed the loop of the Bear Creek Trail, made our way back to the creek crossing...still painfully cold, then back to complete the Back Country Trail loop.
The final leg of our hike was a short drive away to the parks Waterfalls Trail. Before descending the stairs to the falls we made our way over to the parks Main Overlook behind the Interpretive Center for some group photos. Our decent brought us first to the upper, Cherokee Falls and then to the lower, Hemlock Falls. Recent rains provided the falls with great water flow and they were both quite spectacular! Before beginning our accent, we crossed the bridge over Daniel Creek to catch a glimpse of some smaller falls on the other side. Just a 600-stair accent brings our hike to a close.
Cloudland Canyon is my favorite GA park. I'm glad to have been able to see it again and share the experience with 14 old and new friends (not including our 3 canine friends who managed the trails and stairs like champions!). All-in-all, a really great day!
Written by Thomas