Hiking Providence Canyon State Park

I often hear people complain how hard it is to lose weight.

Let me tell you, losing 100 pounds was easy!

What’s actually hard is maintaining weight loss and not slipping back into ages old habits! It’s so easy to have a cheat meal here or there that becomes weeks of poor nutrition, to become disillusioned or bored with the gym, discover a new series on Netflix, or decide to take a little break because we can just jump right back in.

Believe me, I struggle with this a lot, and since moving to Atlanta two years ago it’s been a continual struggle as I emotionally ate my way through the move, MacKenzie’s wedding, Bradley’s enlistment, and now sheer boredom and loneliness has become my worst enemy. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who has dove into his own fitness journey and is now my “let’s get off the couch” motivator.

hiking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

My handsome Spartan running motivator.

For the first time in years Audley is working 40 hours a week… a Monday-Thursday schedule. It’s so nice, but it didn’t take long for us to go stir crazy in the house on his off days. While scrolling through Instagram one day I saw pictures of this gorgeous location right here in Georgia; Providence Canyon.

Providence Canyon State Park / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

We decided to take a short road trip and get our rear ends off the sofa and away from the pantry.

Located about 2 1/2 hours south of Atlanta, Providence Canyon is actually the result of poor farming practices 200 years ago (many lessons learned), but it’s also a beautiful location for picnicking, exploring, and photographing.

in the base of Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

The stunning red, white, purple and pink sandstone walls that form the canyon might have you thinking you’ve gone out west, but I promise, you’re still in the South!

The canyon makes a gorgeous backdrop for hiking and exploring.

Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Hiking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

There are roughly 10 miles of trails you can hike throughout the beautiful canyon. These various hikes range from easy to moderate in difficulty. Choose wisely for your level of fitness and health.  Each can take a couple of hours to five or more. You’ll be amazed at the different scenery as you wander through the canyon. One minute you’re in a lush forest and the next sandy desert. It’s a beautiful result from costly mistakes generations ago.

Overlooking Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon Wooded Trails / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

When hiking Providence Canyon you need to prepare accordingly. First, this is a state park, so there is a $5 fee to park. If you purchase a Georgia State Parks pass you can find all kinds of adventures throughout the state and only pay once! While strolling around the top of the canyon is relaxing and easy, going into the canyon is a little different. The grounds throughout the area are sandy and wet. Trails take you down and up hills, through forest areas and into various rocky fingers of the many canyons. Wear appropriate shoes for these trails; shoes made for hiking and that you don’t mind getting muddy and wet are best. Smalls steams of water flow all through the canyon floor. You also need water for drinking. Once down in the canyon there are no bathrooms or water fountains. We packed a small backpack with bottles of water.

And don’t forget bug repellant.  Mosquitos love wetlands.

Hiking Necessities / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Our lightweight Kavu bag holds several bottles of water and snack packs of nuts for a trail hike. Audley is partial to his Salomon trail shoes, and I love my Merrells. Shop for hiking/trail shoes that fit your feet well and work for various weekend adventures. Protecting your feet is so important if you are going to hike!

Hike Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Dress comfortably for your hike. I wore leggings and a tee-shirt even-though it’s hot, just because of their water wicking ability. You don’t want blisters on your thighs from hiking and sweat rolling down your legs. It is NOT comfortable. Wearing pants also leaves less places for mosquitos to nail ya.

There is a longer hike through the canyon that you will need to pack snacks as well as extra water to take as it is pretty long. We plan to go back and do that one in the fall.

Canyon Floor at Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

img_6459canyon bottom at Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Nature at Providence Canyon / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon Lumpkin, GA / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Audley and I hiked over five miles in and around the canyon, then enjoyed a yummy picnic up on the rim.

Providence Canyon Picnic / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon was one time a thriving town. Remnants can be found throughout the park including an old wooden Methodist church building and cemetery dating back to the mid-1800’s. There are also old rusted out cars along the trail up to, but we didn’t explore that area to see them. We will definitely add that to our hike in the fall.

Providence Mothodist Church / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Providence Cemetery / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Cemetery at Providence Canyon / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providnce Canyon Cemetery / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Methodist Church Building / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

If you are looking for a quick weekend adventure and an opportunity to get off the couch, a trip to Providence Canyon is definitely worth making! I won’t say hiking is a way to lose weight, but it’s a great way to explore where you live (statewide or regionally), get in some fresh air, and get moving!

Being sedentary is hazardous to your health.

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Hooray for gorgeous days and beautiful places!!!

Enjoy the views and let me know what you think!

Looking down onto Providence Canyon Trails / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

Providence Canyon State Park

8930 Canyon Road
Lumpkin, GA 31815
Stewart County

 

Georgia Backroads: Watson Mill Bridge State Park

Audley and I have been making plans for weekend adventures this summer since it’s mostly just the two of us.  Unfortunately there are people who were not blessed with the gift of common sense who insist on bending the rules, so Audley doesn’t always get the days off he is expecting.  The plus side to this is he always has a job when it comes to construction safety which has now run into most of our weekends.

Being ever the spontaneous people that we are, we turned our recent two days of plans into just one as we threw our empty picnic basket and a blanket into the car, made a stop at The Fresh Market, and continued with a road trip heading up Hwy 78 through Athens, Georgia to a sweet little state park.

Now, when most people think of Georgia, the traffic bogged city of Atlanta filled with people that do not know how to savor the simple things, who would rather run over you than accommodate you, mostly ignore you rather than speak, where people seem so angry and bitter and a town that seems to have forgotten its southern graces immediately comes to mind.

Y’all, I spent most of my youth here, and Southern charm and hospitality are not what comes to mind when I think of Atlanta these days!

Truth is, there is so much more to Georgia than Atlanta and it’s metro counties, and you don’t have to venture too far away to discover it! Just hit those Georgia backroads and start exploring!

Just two hours northeast of the city are beautiful farms and quaint little towns.  This is Georgia.  It is here you can escape the hustle and bustle of Atlanta and where you will find Watson Mill Bridge State Park; a 1018 acre park in Comer, Georgia.

Watson-Mill-Bridge-State-Park-Entrance

Watson-Mill-Bridge-State-Park-Historic-Marker

When Audley and I arrived at the park it was so peaceful and quiet, a true break from the craziness of metro-Atlanta!  The park attendant was probably one of the friendliest I’ve ever encountered and was eager to share this historic and picturesque piece of Georgia with us.

{Small towns y’all; that’s where that Southern hospitality thrives!}

Watson-Mill-Bridge-Falls

Watson-Mill-Covered-Bridge

Watson Mill Bridge State Park is home the longest covered bridge in the state of Georgia, a bridge that spans 229 feet across the South Fork of the Broad River in 1885.  It’s one of twenty covered bridges left in Georgia, but unlike the majority of the remainder, this one sits in its original location.  The bridge is well maintained and you can walk or drive across it.  It is truly a beautiful setting!

Watson-Mill-Bridge-established 1885

According to the Georgia State Parks website the bridge was built in 1885 by Washington (W.W.) King, the son of freed slave and famous covered-bridge builder Horace King.  It is supported by a “town lattice truss system held firmly together with wooden pins.”  Originally there was a mill in the area, but there are no signs of it remaining.

Watson-Mill Bridge-2

Although the park is small there is plenty to do for a relaxing day away from the city.  If you are into camping, there are sites available for both tent and RV camping.  Hiking is relatively easy as you can walk down to the old power house built in 1905, but long since abandoned.   There are also trails for riding bikes and horseback riding as well.  There is a stable for boarding, but you have to bring your own horses though.

Watson-Mill-Falls

We watched families and adults alike play on the rocks and in the water of the falls.  We even witnessed a baptism!  For the kiddos there is a nice playground, but we stayed away from those areas since the focus of the day was on us without kids. While there are plenty of tables and shelters to picnic,  Audley and I were more than content to throw our blanket down under the trees and enjoy the beauty of the falls and the covered bridge away from the small crowds that were arriving as the morning turned into afternoon.

empty-nesters

Picnic-Basket

Romantic-Picnic

picnicking

There is also the option to rent kayaks and canoes, or you can bring your own and put in above the covered bridge.  Rental for the park owned canoes and kayaks is just $10 for an hour and they do provide life jackets.

canoes-watson-mill-bridge-state-park

Audley and I rented one of the canoes and had the upper branch of the river to ourselves for paddling.  It was quite lovely, peaceful, and quiet enough to hear so many different sounds of nature the city tends to mask!

sunday-funday

paddling-south-fork-broad-river

Paddling-Watson-Mill-Bridge-State-Park

south-fork-broad-river

We truly enjoyed this piece of Georgia and Audley has already decided a weekend camping here is just what we need …. when this heat and humidity lay off!

Oh my it’s hot down here y’all!

river-life

Sometimes you just have to sit back and let someone else do the paddling!

If you are looking to escape the city or just want to discover some of Georgia’s backroads definitely add Watson Mill Bridge State Park to your agenda.

Watson Mill Bridge State Park

650 Watson Mill Rd, Comer, GA 30629

706-783-5349

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