Cloudland Canyon State Park: Why I return again and again

Hemlock Falls is one of two major waterfalls found deep within Cloudland Canyon State Park, and it's one of the reason I can't resist stopping at the Georgia park.

Beautiful canyon provides hiking, waterfalls

Some of my fondest childhood memories include tromping around Georgia's Cloudland Canyon State Park. I vividly remember the twisting drive up the mountain, and the rigors of climbing the 600 steps up the sheer canyon wall.

I went years without another visit, but when I made the move to full-time photography I started traveling to the Smoky Mountains more - and that route takes me right past Cloudland Canyon.

I've made four visits in the past three years, and I just can't seem to pass it up.

Amazing scenery

Why do I visit time and time again? Simple: Cloudland Canyon features some amazing scenery.

There are two major, named waterfalls: Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls.

Cherokee Falls is the first waterfall on the trip into the canyon, and it's just amazing. Spring is a great time to visit because rains increase water flow.

But there also are other smaller unnamed waterfalls that are just stunning. The first is below a bridge that crosses Daniel Creek. You can view the waterfall from the top there, or continue on and scrabble down the bank to sit by the pool filled with emerald-green water.

This is one of the unnamed waterfalls that make a trip to Cloudland Canyon worth every one of the 600 steps down the gorge wall.

Within sight of this beautiful waterfall is another, smaller waterfall that shouldn't be passed up. In fact, it's probably one of my favorites because it's just got such great character.

It's proof that a waterfall doesn't have to be huge to be beautiful. This little fall probably cascades only about 10 feet, but the ledge over which Daniel Creek flows is multi-tiered so the waterfall has a wonderful look.

Don't miss this  wonderful little waterfall as you hike along Cloudland Canyon's Daniel Creek.

Don't forget sunrise

Cloudland Canyon State Park is more than waterfalls, however. There are wonderful hiking trails. And amazing overlooks.

And it's the main overlook that provides a wonderful sunrise view over neighboring Sand Mountain.

I created one of the most amazing sunrise prints in my gallery while my wife and I watched sunlight paint the clouds above the canyon.

There are great hiking trails, shady campsites, picnic areas and waterfalls galore.

What else could you ask for?

The main overlook provides the perfect view of sunrise over neighboring Sand Mountain!