I finally had a free weekend after weeks, so this past weekend, my friends and I greeted the cooler temperatures by hiking Cloudland Canyon State Park.
It was a gorgeous day. The skies were clear, the sun was beaming, and the air was light and breezy. I hadn’t gone hiking in awhile, and I was craving some time outdoors.
Cloudland Canyon is about a two-hour drive northwest of Atlanta on I-75. When I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to go hiking this weekend, it was he who suggested we check out Cloudland Canyon, but he was unable to join because he had to work, so my friends took me to the canyon instead.
We arrived at the park around 12:30 p.m. (Parking: $5) When we got out of the car, we all felt the air was slightly cooler than we would have wished it to be, but we knew we would warm up quickly after walking just a bit.
We chose an easy and scenic 5-mile trail that traced the rim of the canyon, appropriately named West Rim Loop Trail. There were only a few, short uphill portions and they weren’t bad at all.
We probably could have finished the trail in an hour or so, but it took us closer to two hours since we stopped often to take pictures. Can you blame us?
We did eventually finish. After we closed the loop portion of the trail, we spent the next hour taking the grated staircase down into the canyon to see Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls, which made the whole trip to the canyon worth it for me. While the canyon views along the rim are certainly pretty, to me, Providence Canyon is more impressive because of the reddish-orange hues of the canyon. However, I imagine Cloudland Canyon is filled with vibrant colors later in the fall, too, when the leaves change, so we’ll have to make a trip back.
Cool, Crisp Finish at Cherokee Falls
After climbing the stairs back out of the canyon from the base of the waterfalls, we figured it was a good time relax. North Georgia has a few wineries, so we went to one that was relatively “on the way” from Cloudland back to Atlanta, and still pretty close to Dalton where my husband was working, so he could join us too.
Winding Down at Georgia Winery
Our day ended at the Georgia Winery, where we did a free wine tasting and purchased a couple bottles — to take home, and for the table while we split the hummus platter and cheese platter. The hummus platter was delicious, and I’m guessing it had something to do with the lemon balsamic and sun-dried tomatoes.
Wine tasting at Georgia Winery is free and the pours are conservative. Visitors can choose to try a selection of either sweet wines or dry wines. I went for the dry, because I no longer care for super sweet wines, but it was evident after a few sips that this winery specializes in sweet wines. The dry wines were still on the sweet side, and the Merlot smelled like acetone, so I dumped the remainder after just a single sip. However, all of the sweet wines I tried from my friends were smooth and delicious, essentially tasting like regular grape juice. We figured it was just best to choose sweet wines to purchase here.
We shared a bottle of the Georgia on My Mind and Bulldog Red, but brought home a bottle of the Blueberry Blush.
I’ll be sure to crack that bright and fruity bottle open tomorrow to mark a special occasion!