Resting on the western edge of northwest Georgia’s Lookout Mountain, Cloudland Canyon State Park is more than 3,000 acres—one of the state’s largest parks—of rugged geology, and offers visitors hiking, camping, rock climbing and more along the park’s most iconic feature: the deep gorge cut through the mountain (elevation varies from 800 to more than 1,800 feet!) by the Sitton Gulch Creek. Multiple waterfalls and cascades, including the uber-popular Hemlock Falls, can be found throughout the gorge, making this park feel like a hidden gem around Lookout Mountain.
Staring at the geographic anomaly isn’t the only thing to do at this park, however. Beyond the countless miles of hiking, biking and horse riding trails, geology fanatics can find rock climbing, rappelling and spelunking across the park—cave tours are even offered for beginning cave explorers at Sitton’s Cave.
The park holds a massive variety of camping options, including 72 spots suitable for both tent and RV campers, 30 walk-in sites, 13 dispersed sites, 16 cottages and 10 yurts, each in a different area of the park. With this many options, campers can find seclusion all around.
We stayed for 4 nights in walk in site 21. It was bit interesting to get all our stuff to the site, and thank goodness we had 2 wagons and teens to help carry. It was a great private site, allowing for a good size tent and 3 hammocks. Easy access to the West Rim trail which was a terrific hike. Waterfalls were dry, which was disappointing but the hike to them from the West Rim Trail was quite pretty.
Note that the Visitor Center had no wood left, having arrived on a Sunday. We saw a sign for wood delivery and called Mac. He was very accommodating, delivered wood within a couple of hours to us in the parking lot. A great price! Call Mac at 423-596-4805.
All in all we had a great experience.
Great park. There are so many great trails and waterfalls here. There are two main waterfalls but if you continue the trails there are many more. We stayed in west camp site #9. We loved our site. It backed to wooded area and was spacious but there is no buffer between sites. Water and electric and site was gravel and there are gray water dumps throughout camp. We could get to trails from the back of our campsite which was awesome. There is an east camp which is closer to the canyon rim but sites are closer together and not much shade. The 2 main waterfalls are a short hike once you go down 300 stairs. But therefore you must go up 300 stairs. There are plenty of platforms to rest. There are also yurts to rent. There is a small town with grocery and fast food about 30 minutes away. Chattanooga is not far from this park. We stayed 5 days and it was not enough time to hike and relax. We absolutely loved this park. Beware waterfalls are dependent upon rainfall. We camped here in April. Water flow was great. Temps were great 70s in day and got down to 40s at night. Perfect camping weather.
Hard to get into but worth it. There was some mistake with after hour check in some one there didn’t leave the packets out that night. Had to sleep in the road. But the camp ground was great big space plenty of room. No camper right next to you. Water and electric but no sewer But dump station was not far away. Nice hot showers clean rest rooms.
Driving there: it’s not as steep as Black Rock or Vogel, for reference. While a lot of folks are worried about the grade, it isn’t bad at all. I’d classify it as more of a “big hill”.
West rim is older but sites are more spaced out, private, and shaded. Bathrooms are older but clean and well kept. East Rim is closer to the overlooks and main trailheads, and newer, but sites are closer together and less shaded. We were on site 21 and it was right by the bathroom, gray water dump, camp host, and next to the west rim connector trailhead.
Do Hemlock falls in the morning (before 10am) to avoid large crowds (due to Covid, the park often reaches capacity around that time on weekends). The stairs are not bad, although smaller dogs may have issues. People were wading in the pool by the falls. See the sunset at the Main Overlook. Shout into the canyon to hear your echo at the second overlook.
I’ve been to Cloudland several times. It’s always a wonderful camping experience with great hiking. There are 2 camping loops, the East Loop has 30 mostly RV sites. They have 30 & 50 amp service, and water. Bathroom and shower are centralized. This loop is closer to the trail heads. The West loop is larger, with 42 sites. These are more wooded and offer better privacy. The west loop is water & electric only as well, with 2 shower/bath houses. There are 2 dump stations in the park. There are also 20 yurts, a pioneer camping area, 30 walk-in camp sites, and cabins. The bathrooms are showing some wear. They are not the most modern, but there was plenty of hot water and the water pressure was adequate. The park offers a catch & release pond, disk golf and caving with a guide. There is a security gate that automatically closes at 10 pm, so be sure to get the gate code if you are planning to be out of the park in the evening. The park is only 20 miles from Chattanooga, TN, and the Chickamauga National Battlefield, and an easy drive to Russell Cave National Monument & Little River Canyon.
Stayed here in OCt. 2019 with family. Site was level, Had water and electric hookups. No full hookups at this campground. Gray water dump close to campsite. Black water dump quite a was away. Hiking here was amazing. Many metal steps and wonderful views. Park overall was clean and well maintained. Staff helpful and nice. Will go back.
We only stayed here 1 night in site 8, but we LOVED IT and will be back. The site was peaceful and “away from it all”. The bathrooms were not in the best shape but did the job.
I wouldn’t really suggest this location for a camping trip. It’s better to drive for the day and see the canyon, then head home. The campground is wide open and no privacy. Very clean with a centralized bath house. The main road for the park runs right next to the campground with no trees or barriers. The canyon however is worth the trip and beautiful.
Well kept campground with a mix of sites. Fire pits are in odd spots but still beside the pad. A fair amount of kids running around and riding bikes and boards so watch out when driving! Plenty of hiking and nature with multiple waterfalls for you to enjoy!
My first experience with Cloudland Canyon State Park was on a day hike, and my second was photographing a wedding here--which should set the stage for what type of place this is!
The park can be spoken of in two separate sections; the East Rim and the West Rim. The East Rim is home to several cabins, the group lodge, one of the full service campgrounds, and the main trailhead, as well as the ADA accessible overlook trail which is where many of the iconic photographs of this park come from. This side is very popular for day use as the one mile out and back hike to Cherokee Falls draws in campers and people from Chattanooga coming in to enjoy the towering waterfall and the swimming hole below. The campground here is smaller, and less private than the west rim loop, offering 24 tent/RV sites that have 30A electrical hookup, gravel tent pads, picnic tables, and fire rings, along with a bathhouse and playground. The main road to the trailheads and day use area runs past this loop and while there are trees for shade they do not offer any privacy.
The West Rim side houses the pioneer camping, west rim loop, the yurt village, and the remaining cabins. We have not been able to see the inside of the yurts, but they are spaced away from each other and off the road, and offer a lot of privacy; the loop that serves the yurts it not connected to any other road, and has a shelter, playground, and bathhouse.
The West Rim camping loop has a total of 48 tent/RV sites with 30 or 50A hookups, water, gravel tent pads, picnic tables, and fire rings. This loop is far more wooded and offers a greater variety of site size and privacy, and has an extremely quiet and peaceful vibe to it. If the east rim is good for those using their campsite as a home base for exploring, the west rim is perfect for campers who want the convenience of a bathhouse with running water and/or the ability to run electric in their RVs, but without giving up the feeling of being immersed in nature. Sites 4-9 are well spaced from each other and great for tent campers and families who want their kids to have room to play, and while site 37 does not have as much privacy being in the center of the loop, it does have one of the most perfect climbing trees I have ever seen in a public campground.
There are 16 cottages/cabins, and Georgia State Park cabins really cannot be overstated; they are well appointed, well maintained, and absolutely beautiful, and are spaced out to offer a feeling of seclusion: perfect for winter getaways, or for people who enjoy total creature comforts at night with nearby adventure during the day. Word of advice; cabins 1-5 are on the east rim and the waterfall trail runs almost directly behind them, so there is a loss of privacy there, especially on busy weekends.
Finally, the park offers 4 pioneer sites and 30 walk-in backcountry sites. I have not seen these in person yet, but it is worth noting this park has accommodations for every type of camper out there.
There is not enough good I can say about Cloudland Canyon. About 45 minutes from Chattanooga, it is a must-see for anyone traveling from out of state who want to add adventure to their tour of the city, a home base for the many hiking and climbing opportunities within the park, or just a beautiful and peaceful place to spend a few nights out in nature.