Road Trip from Atlanta: Providence Canyon

By Brittni • Updated on 02/15/2024

Road Trip from Atlanta to Providence Canyon

Staying true to the 12 trips in 12 months pact, Jeff and I drove to a place I’ve been wanting to go ever since we moved to Atlanta – Providence Canyon. We went a couple of weekends ago and it was pretty magically, I have to say, even in the 90 degree heat.

We partnered with Southeast Toyota for a mini road trip just outside of Lumpkin, GA to see the canyons, do some hiking, and explore a city very different from Atlanta. If you’re ever looking for a nature lovers getaway and you live anywhere near ATL, this is 100% it!

Click through for all the photos from our trip – to a place nicknamed ‘Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon’.

Providence Canyon

Something you probably don’t know about me… Growing up, my parents were pretty big nature lover / adventurer types, especially my dad. Camping, kayaking, rafting (I think at one point my dad was a rafting guide in his spare time – I should probably ask him about that), etc – they were all on the list of family weekend activities. At the time, I kind of hated it, BUT looking back now I have really fond memories of those trips. And I suppose the nature thing has come out in me again as an adult.

Jeff loves it too. And we’re hoping to do a bunch of state park / nature trips soonish (Joshua Tree, Goblin Valley, Antelope Canyon, etc), so Providence Canyon seemed like a good starter park to get our feet wet again.

Road Trip from Atlanta: Providence Canyon

ANYWAY, now that I’ve rambled on and on, let’s get to it! Starting with how I somehow thought it was necessary to bring literally EVERY blanket I could get my hands on…and a whole lot of pillows too…for a ONE DAY adventure. At the time it seemed like the right move (always be prepared right?!), but in hindsight I realize how weird that really was. I guess I figured since we were borrowing a RAV4, I might as well stuff it to the brim with anything I could possibly need. I mean, there was plenty of room. So why not, right?! Right. But now that it’s all said and done, I’m willing to admit hat it may have been a tad excessive. Though it did come in handy at one point. 

Take a road trip from Atlanta to Providence Canyon with Brittni Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch.

A road trip to Providence Canyon (2.5 hours outside of Atlanta)

Aside from my overpacking, the drive down was pretty easy – blasting music from my phone via Bluetooth streaming (which was actually a lifesaver for a long drive because I totally forgot to bring the AUX cord). We drove straight to the park on the way there, but took note of a few places we wanted to stop on the way back. One of which was a pink barn right off the main road. Naturally we had to stop for a photo op.

Hiking through Providence Canyon. A road trip from Atlanta to the state park dubbed the 'Little Grand Canyon' - with Brittni Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch.

Then, we hiked down to the canyon floor and chose a trail. Which just so happened to be the shortest option because in the frenzy of packing all of those unnecessary textiles, I completely forgot to bring more appropriate hiking shoes. So, I trucked it through nature in my sandals.

There are some really nice longer trails though that I found when I was doing some research for this trip. The most popular one being Canyon Loop Trail, which circles nine of the canyons and takes a couple of hours to hike through. We opted to walk up through the (mostly) dried out river beds instead, which was quick and easy and the views were still pretty great.

There were shallow cavelike areas to explore, rust-colored layers of earth to take pictures of, and plenty of sandy terrain to make our way through. In some parts it almost felt like a beach with no ocean. So, I took off my shoes and laid down for a while. Again, the heat! I had to. If it wasn’t so hot, I could have stayed there for days though. And you actually can camp there if you’re interested – just not in the exact spot we took photos.

Providence Canyon (outside of Atlanta, GA)

Road trip from Atlanta to Providence Canyon with Brittni Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch

After a few hours, we hiked back up to the visitors center and made our way to the nearby lake. Florence Marina is only a five or ten minute drive from the Providence Canyon entrance. It was a nice spot to cool off and given that I had a huge stack of blankets and pillows, I set up an impromptu picnic in the trunk with everything I brought. It was really cozy back there in the trunk actually…I don’t know if it was the heat or what, but I dozed off in all the blankets for a few minutes after we were done taking pictures. I was SO tired after hiking. Totally worth it though.

Navigating from Atlanta to Providence Canyon

A road trip with Toyota from Atlanta to Providence Canyon and through Columbus, GA.

After we cooled down and I took a cat nap, we used the built-in navigation to guide us back through to Columbus and had some dinner at a little cafe and watched people raft down the Chattahoochee. Which felt like a good way to end the trip. So, back to ATL we went! We got home pretty late because we packed so much into the day, but it’s a totally doable day trip from Atlanta. Really an easy drive.

Providence Canyon, GA

Picnic on the Chattahoochee River (Columbus, GA)

Hiking through Providence Canyon with Brittni Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch

Where would your dream road trip be? Is there anywhere you’re dying to travel to rn?

Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC (“Toyota”) provided me with compensation and use of a VEHICLE for a short period of time. The opinions I have shared about this vehicle are my own​. Thanks for supporting the brands that help keep Paper & Stitch running.

22 comments | Click here to reply

I don’t. 🙁 It was on the way though. Wish I could remember more details but it was so long ago.


Thank you for your piece on the canyon. I can’t wait to visit it! Do you have the adress of the pink barn? Would love to visit it the barn as well!


[…] Providence Canyon (just outside of Lumpkin, GA): This place is about two hours outside of Atlanta, so definitely off the beaten path. But WOW…if you’re a nature lover, and you live in Georgia, you should really check it out. I went back for the second time a while back, this time to help out with a photo shoot and shared some more photos here. My only suggestion for visiting would be…Maybe don’t go during the heat of the summer months unless you LOVE to sweat because it’s quite the hike to get down there and back up. […]

Totally Trippin': 12 Trips in 12 Months (Now Updated with All the Trips from the Entire Year) - Paper and Stitch

[…] only been to Providence Canyon twice, but both times were pretty magical. The light is crazy beautiful and the scenery is super […]

Snippets from Providence Canyon - Paper and Stitch

[…] was packed behind the scenes, with some amazing ladies, for a fun shoot back at Providence Canyon. I was so happy to be back there again and helping out on something just for fun. Can’t wait […]

Behind the Scenes: Canyon Themes + Concrete Dreams for Summer - Paper and Stitch

Hi Andrea. My romper is from Anthro: and my shoes are Nisolo:


Outfit details? 😬


Since I’m in Georgia I need to check it out. It looks gorgeous. I was wondering right away about those shoes!! Thanks for clearing that up!


I am enjoying your 12 trips in 12 months! Loved your photos! And I have to remember this place for a road trip. I’m in Houston, so we’ve taken road trips all around Texas – a very big state!

Anne Rita Taylor

You’ll have to come back and visit and take a look, Sara. It’s really a cool place to visit if you have time for a mini road trip.


Beautiful GA! Wow- we grew up in Atlanta and never knew about this place!

Sara Albers

Cool Fury! Good luck with your move.


Thanks for sharing… This place looks totally amazing! We super love cool nature spots and are most likely moving to ATL soon. Will definitely put this on our list of must-see places!

Fury K. Gray

It’s really cool Paige. I’m sure kids will love it too. Just bring lots of water and sunscreen.


I had no idea that a place like this even existed here in GA! Totally taking me kids there one day this summer!


Paige Flamm

Hi Juju! Happy you stumbled on the site. I completely agree about getting caught up in everyday life. Traveling this year has really helped in that department. I’ve been so many more places this year so far than I ever imagined I could pack into my schedule. It’s amazing what you can make time for when it’s important to you. Right?


Wow, this is the first time I stumbled upon your website. I absolutely love the idea of 12 trips in 12 months! It’s so easy to get caught up in our everyday life that we never make enough time to go on trips. Your photos look great and those pillows! I think you can never overpack pillows, they are sooo comfortable to lay on especially when you are out in nature. Can’t wait to see your next adventure!

Juju Sprinkles

Thanks Pink Pineapple and Michelle. It’s definitely a special place.


That place looks so incredible!


Lovely landscapes
The pink pineapple
New post:

The pink pineapple

Small world Ashli. It’s really a cool spot! One thing I forgot to mention in the post….if you go during the summer make sure you bring sunscreen and plenty of cold water. It was extremely hot when we were there and once you hike down there’s no where to get any of that stuff. There is a little shop at the visitor center before you hike down though that has a few things.


This is so weird b/c I literally JUST randomly discovered this spot yesterday while doing some searching online!! It looks gorgeous! I can’t wait to check it out.

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