The RiverWalk is so much more than a walking path; it’s a 15-mile linear park that starts at Fort Benning on Baltzell Avenue and hugs the banks of the Chattahoochee all the way through Columbus and into Phenix City. It’s perfect for walking, running and biking. You will enjoy nature and art along the way. If you prefer a more exciting relationship with the river, take the plunge and raft or kayak more than 2 miles along the world’s longest urban whitewater course. For information on rafting the rapids, call 706-596-0111.
Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center is a fabulous resource for families with young children. Though special events may cost now and then, there’s never a charge for regular admission to this nature and animal “museum,” filled with reptile and aquatics exhibits. Oxbow’s newest addition is the TreeTop Trail, a 30-minute tour 35 feet above the ground, through magnificent oaks, hickories and sweet gum trees. Here you’ll enjoy a lofty perspective of the wetlands, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot a few songbirds, vultures, eagles, deer and wood ducks along the way.
Providence Canyon, known as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon,” is the nucleus of the 1,003-acre Providence Canyon State Park, just about 45 minutes south of Fort Benning in Stewart County near the town of Lumpkin. The canyon is actually a network of vast gullies believed to have been caused by poor farming practices and erosion in the 19th century. Today, those canyons make for great hiking and camping. The 3-mile rim hike is fairly easy, but it offers incredible views of the canyons. More experienced hikers will enjoy the 7-mile backcountry hike down into the canyon, where you will get a close look at the striated walls, formed by layers of sandy clay colored pink, purple, orange and red.