Cloudland Canyon is a not to be missed natural feature northwest of Atlanta. I scheduled this trip weeks ago expecting a cold adventure but was pleasantly surprised to be hiking in 55+ degree temps.
Halfway through the hike I had to strip down to my t-shirt to keep from boiling.
There were two trails, both starting at this beautiful overlook showcasing a waterfall.
We chose to do the waterfall trail first and I’m glad we did! It involved descending and them climbing about a 100 flights of stairs. I’d been to Cloudland Canyon years before, but I’d never done the waterfall trails which added some mileage to our overall hike. I’m also not the kind of person to go hiking in the winter so this was a challenge for me.
Having friends along was the best! I get an extra energy boost around people so having them around really helped during the tough stair segments.
On our way down to the waterfalls, the right hand wall was just covered in icicles.
I’ve never seen so many covering so much of a rock face before. It was surreal because it was Georgia!
Past the icicle covered trail, we descended the canyon until we got to the river that follows one of the waterfalls. It had pretty, icy features and a mountain aqua color to the water.
I had some fun trying out handheld long exposures.
The real crown jewels of the waterfall trail were the Hemlock and Cherokee Falls. The Hemlock falls were really icy and featured this fat rock enjoying the waterfall spray. To get to it, we had to walk on a completely ice encrusted deck. It was a bit like ice skating with sneakers but worth the trouble.
We hiked to check out the 2nd falls and were so thrilled to see that it was just as magnificent but pretty different from Hemlock Falls. Cherokee Falls was veiled in sun and had an approach you could walk on. Not much ice up this path btu plenty of rocks and golden waters.
We walked back up the trail to take the West Rim Loop. It was far less strenuous and much longer, affording us lots of beautiful views of the canyon.
At the end we were greeted with a rainbow waterfall. The sun hit one of the waterfalls just perfectly. It was a magical end to a long but satisfying hike.
I’m looking forward to planning our next outdoor adventure. Spring has really picked up in Atlanta, and I’m earnestly itching to hit the trails!