For the adventurous type, Stewart County has something to offer that you won't find anywhere near here. We have hiking trails in the canyons, bicycle trails, great fishing on the Chattahoochee River and prime hunting.
Click HERE for a map.
Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon” is a testament to the power of man’s influence on the land. Massive gullies as deep as 150 feet were caused simply by poor farming practices during the 1800s, yet today they make some of the prettiest photographs within the state. The rare Plumleaf Azalea grows only in this region and blooms during July and August when most azaleas have lost their color. The canyon soil’s pink, orange, red and purple hues make a beautiful natural painting at this quiet park.
Visitors can enjoy views of the canyons from the rim trail, taking care to stay behind fences and off the fragile canyon edge. Hikers who explore the deepest canyons will usually find a thin layer of water along the trail, indication of the water table below. Guests who hike to canyons 4 and 5 may want to join the Canyon Climbers Club. Backpackers can stay overnight along the backcountry trail which highlights portions of the canyon and winds through mixed forest. Camping, cottages and efficiency units are available nearby at Florence Marina State Park on 45,000 acre Lake Walter F. George.
Looking for volunteer opportunities, check out Friends of Providence Canyon Facebook page.
When west Georgia opened to settlement in 1827, no one could have predicted that the earth in Quitman, Stewart, and Marion Counties was so erodible. The soils in these “Fall Line Foothills” were layered in such a way that gullies easily formed in plow zones and wagon tracks. Once established, the gullies widened and deepened, until they reached the “floor,” about 150 feet deep.
In the early 2000s, DNR scientists studied the nearby “Glory Holes.” They learned that the “canyons” began forming by 1830, almost immediately after farming began. So, up-and-downhill farming and roads accelerated erosion and formed gullies. As these gullies got wider and deeper over time, the colors of the exposed soils created beautiful dramatic sights, and tourists began to arrive.
When the Federal government created U.S. Highway 27 in 1926 (connecting Miami with Michigan), local boosters promoted Providence as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyons.” Providence eventually became a state park in 1978 containing 1,109 acres.
There are four geologic layers of soil in the canyons: a) Baker Hillis the top formation; b) Clayton is the next layer, composed of reddish sand on top of a thin base of iron ore; c) Providence Sand makes up the remainder of the walls of the canyon and features a variety of colors, including purple, yellow, black, and white; and, d) Ripley is the floor of the canyon, and it is there where many fossils can be found dating back 70 million years.
Sitting at the northern end of 45,000 acre Lake Walter F. George (also called Lake Eufaula) this quiet park offers the perfect getaway for those who love water sports. It is adjacent to a natural deep-water marina with an accessible fishing pier, boat slips and boat ramp. Overnight guests can choose from a variety of accommodations, including fully equipped cottages, small efficiency units and a modern campground.
Florence Marina is popular with nature enthusiasts as well. Birders are likely to see herons, egrets and even bald eagles. The Kirbo Interpretive Center showcases area wildlife and plants, local history and Native Americans, including artifacts from the prehistoric Paleo-Indian period through the early 20th century. Ten miles southeast is Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area, known as Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon. -https://gastateparks.org
Looking for volunteer opportunities, check out Friends of Florence Marina Facebook page. They are described as 'a group of local volunteers who work to support Florence Marina State Park in numerous ways.'
Lumpkin was Stewart County’s first city, followed by Roanoke. When the Indians burned Roanoke in May, 1836, speculators established the new City of Liverpool a little upriver. Quickly renamed Florence, it became the county’s river center. By 1838, Florence had grown larger than Lumpkin and featured a covered bridge over the river, a bank, and a hotel. There even was a newspaper which published a few editions. Florence had an “independent” (non-denominational) church, an unusual thing for the time. It also served as a Female Academy. When the bridge washed away in 1846, Florence’s growth stalled. Florence essentially vanished when Omaha opened up. Some Florence buildings were moved to Omaha in the 1890s. Some unheralded person of old wrote a poem about Florence where “there’s scarce a stone to mark the spot where once the village lay./The friendly homes, the busy streets, long since have passed away.” The site of Florence had earlier been an Indian village. Now, it’s a state park. As an aside, the county’s only recorded duel took place in Florence. The loser was buried on the spot.
Looking for a tremendous outdoor adventure? Bring your all terrain vehicles and get ready for fun! About 360 acres, 3 ponds and primitive camping sites. Mud riding trails thru hills and canyons plus a 125' water slide (in summer).
Hannahatchee Wildlife Management Area covers 5600 acres and offers hunting opportunities for deer, turkey, small game, feral hog and dove.
Rood Creek is pristine and primitive. There are few spots in the state that offer an authentic, rustic experience like this park. Camping, hiking and fishing are prime activities at the site, six miles south of Florence Marina.
Rood Creek is a very popular fishing and picnicking spot for area families. The park is picturesque and intimate, a hidden jewel in Stewart County, complete with giant oaks with Spanish moss that sways with gentle breezes. Picnic tables are set under the oaks near the water. A boat ramp is available for launches. Gators are usually cruising the area so be careful with small pets and children. Swimming is not recommended.
Amenities at Rood Creek include 20 campsites. Some will accommodate RVs, but there are no hookups. All campsites are free, first-come, first-served and near the shore. There is a pit toilet, but no shower facilities. There is no water or dump station. The coordinates for the park are 32.025025 N, 85.036778 W.
For an intimate visit to Rood Creek, enjoy this You Tube video:
Images from Toad Hall Enterprises (credit camping images sent)
A few words about the Native American Peoples That Populated Rood Creek
Access Genealogy’s website describes Rood Creek Mounds as “a very large Native American town site in southwestern Georgia that is immediately east of the Chattahoochee River in Stewart County. It was one of the largest Native American towns in the eastern United States. The original palisade enclosed about 120 acres and several mounds. The final palisade enclosed at least eight mounds and 150 acres.”
They were the focal points of an Native American community settled here as early at 900 A.D. The settlement served as a center for political and ceremonial activities during the Mississippian period and was associated with the “mound-building” culture of the Southeast with origins as far-flung as current-day Mexico.
The area was most likely first occupied during the Woodland Period by the Swift Creek Culture beginning as early as 0 AD to 350 AD. The Swift Creek people were mound builders and gardeners. Some of their mounds were originally on the scale of later Mississippian Period mounds, but have been eroded and rounded off by up to 2000 years of weather, according to Access Geneology.
The smaller and land-locked Singer-Moye Mounds site, located several miles to the east, has been more thoroughly studied with more recent technology. These mounds were found to have been settled no later than 600 A.D., based on radiocarbon dating of organic debitage in its lowest level
The Rood Creek site has only been excavated once in 1955 by Joseph Caldwell. It is likely being held for study by future archaeologists, but is known to be a major settlement and important historical site linked to early inhabitants of North America.
The mound group is located on Army Corps of Engineers land at Lake Walter F. George in the western part of the county. The mounds are under the auspices of Columbus State University and can be visited only by special arrangement made in advance. Contact the Interpretive Ranger at Florence Marina at 229-838-4244 for more information.
For a more complete history and study of Rood Creek Mound System and its relationship to other Native American developments and communities across Georgia and Alabama, please see this link:
Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1964, through community support and in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to provide habitat for wintering waterfowl and other migratory and resident wildlife.
The main unit of the 11,184-acre refuge is located about 7 miles north of the city of Eufaula, Alabama, along both banks of the Chattahoochee River in southeast Alabama and southwest Georgia. Wetlands, croplands, woodlands, old fields, grasslands, and open water create a mosaic of wildlife-rich habitats that support almost 300 species of birds, 40 species of mammals, and many species of amphibians, reptiles and fishes.
Stewart County has an annual bicycle ride in October. This route is currently in the process of being designated a state bicycle route. Riders can choose from three options: 20, 50 or 62 miles. You can enjoy our beautiful countryside as you travel by Providence Canyon and Florence Marina.