Providence Canyon contains one of Georgia’s most unique natural features that, ironically, is not natural at all. Providence Canyon has a number of gullies that make it look like a large canyon, hence its moniker of Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon. The gullies were formed from poor farming and irrigation practices during the nineteenth century, causing the soil to erode and give the park its appearance today. In fact, the soil is still eroding even now.
When we visited Providence Canyon, we went on a short backpacking trip. From the visitor center, we descended into the canyon, moving from the pine woodlands to the reddish clay and sand that lies at the bottom of the canyon. Along with the heat, the sand and clay soil and plethora of pine trees gave one the impression of a desert. We followed a wide sandy gully with a small stream of water flowing through it. There were trees on either side as we slowly moved from the bottom of the canyon back up to the top, where we again found ourselves in the midst of a pine woodland. The next morning we hiked back to our starting point. After returning, we explored the Little Grand Canyon portion of the park (which was the opposite direction of the gully we followed on our hike the previous day). The canyon is around 100 feet in depth, but does look like a miniature Grand Canyon. As opposed to solid walls that are completely vertical, the canyon has a number of gullies, spires, and other rock formations in the soil. Since the soil has both clay and sand properties, the canyon even has both white and red soil, making it have an even more interesting appearance. We explored the avenues around the canyon for about an hour before we could no longer get through the dense brush in the canyon.
While we found it a bit odd that one of Georgia’s most well-known natural features was not natural at all, we enjoyed our time at Providence Canyon and found the features there fascinating. It is certainly a site worth seeing and exploring.