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Cloudland Canyon: Gorges, Creeks and Waterfalls

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Cloudland Canyon State Park
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Jan 14 2023  9:40 am >> Sat, Jan 14 2023 3:10 pm  (Carpool Departure: 7:30 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Thu, Jan 5 2023 7:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, Jan 13 2023 3:00 pm
Event Duration:5 Hours 30 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Distance:10 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Greg Pharo
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 12 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


Join me on this classic trek through Cloudland Canyon, one of our state’s best parks. This is your chance to experience some of the best sites of the Cumberland Plateau in Georgia.

This hike has it all! Big canyons: check! Roaring mountain creeks: check! Big views: check! Thundering waterfalls: yes - they are mighty once again, thanks to all of the rain.

Starting at the Interpretive Center near the Main Trailhead, we will start hiking at 9:40 am sharp - so be ready to go by 9:30 am so we have time for introductions. We'll first hike to the Main Overlook, where we'll enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the gorge. After a short backtrack to the Main Trailhead, we'll descend the Sitton's Gulch Trail and make a short trip to Cherokee Falls, one of two major cascades on our route. Returning to Sitton’s Gulch Trail, we'll continue down into the canyon for a second side trip to see mighty Hemlock Falls. Next, we will head down to and over a bridge as we drop into the canyon floor next to cascading, boulder-strewn creeks. We'll hike to the end of the trail, following the creek, and then backtrack through the canyon; along the way we'll stop for a creekside lunch. 

The most challenging part of our journey comes after lunch as we climb out of Sitton's Gulch. Much of the ascent will be climbing more than 600 metal stairsteps. Once we catch our breath near the top, we'll continue along the West Rim Loop Trail. We'll catch some fabulous views from the gorge's other side as we trek past the park's yurts and forests. Hiking clockwise around the loop, we'll continue back to our cars near the Main Trailhead.

This is fun yet challenging D4 mountain hike. It's 9.7 miles in length with over 1,700 feet elevation gain. The ascent is tough: you'll need to be in very good physical condition to keep up with us. Recent D4/D5+ hiking experience or equivalent is required. If your AOC profile doesn't indicate this level of experience, then the Trip Leader will move you to the waiting list and contact you to determine whether you're well-suited for this event.

We’ll hike at a moderate speed of approximately 2.5 mph (fast where it’s flat, slower going uphill). We’ll make several stops to enjoy canyon views, waterfalls and other scenery – but this is definitely not a slow-paced hike.

Please feel free to email the Trip Leader if you have any questions.

There is a $5 fee to enter the state park unless you have a Georgia State Park Pass.




Required Items to Bring:


At least 1 liter of water

Sturdy hiking boots or trail shoes

Coat and weather-appropriate clothing



Park fee (if driving) or money for driver (if carpooling)

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.


Trek poles


How to Get There:
Event Directions:

We'll meet in front of the Cloudland Canyon Interpretive Center, near the trail to the Main Overlook. 

Click here for trailhead location using Google Maps.

Click here to see the official Cloudland Canyon State Park map.

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):180Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 7:30 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $72.00 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.


Click here for an AllTrails map of our approximate route.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.