Caesars Head State Park has long been a must-see in the South Carolina Upstate. A granitic gneiss outcropping atop the dramatic Blue Ridge Escarpment, it offers breathtaking views year-round, especially when fall sets the hardwoods ablaze. Another annual highlight is the Hawk Watch program each fall, timed to allow visitors to marvel at the unforgettable sight of hundreds of soaring, swirling migrating raptors hawks, kites, falcons, eagles and more from the park visitors own perch at 3,200 feet above sea level. Hiking trails ranging from easy to challenging circle and traverse Caesars Head and adjoining Jones Gap state parks, which together form the Mountain Bridge Wilderness, about 11,000 acres of pristine southern mountain forest. One of the most popular trails at Caesars Head leads to 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls, where a suspension bridge offers one of the two publicly accessible overlooks to the falls as they splash deep into the mountain cove below. Picnicking and wilderness trailside camping also are highlights. The park, easily accessible with its headquarters on U.S. 276 just shy of the state line, also leads to some prime trout fishing areas in the state-designated scenic Middle Saluda River.
Since most people go left on the loop, I chose to go right so as to reward myself with the falls as opposed to seeing them at the start. Made it about 3/4 of the way through the loop itself before I wound up off park property. Pretty sure I made a wrong turn at some point, but after crossing a creek that went halfway up my shins, I walked for another 45 minutes or so, only to realize that the number of forks in the trail was still increasing. Ended up stopping and going back the way I came, as the trail was unmarked and I am by no means a survival expert. Great hike all around though. Will definitely come back and try going left to see if I can find where I went wrong.
I didn't do this trail. I did the trail on the other side. It's about a 1/4-1/2 mile straight down that leads you to the same fall. It's an awesome hike and even has some sections that a rope is required to repel from. My legs are killing me today, but well worth it!!
The trail itself is quite eroded but the falls are worth the hike. There is one spot that is easy to go off trail and get lost. But it was just as easy to get back onto the actual trail. Just remember once it doesn't feel like a trail it's probably not a trail.
It was very challenging but worth every step! It does get steep in a couple areas but its passable. I wouldn't chance it on a damp day. The falls were amazing!! I got distracted by the sounds of water rushing and veered off the trail for a moment. I turned around and found myself back at a purple marker. It was amazing how the water drew me away from the trail. That was approximately the 3/4 mark. Once back on track, it was easy to keep the markers in mind. I loved it!
Parked in the lot across the street. Took the red trail to the blue trail then took pink to the suspension bridge. Turned around and headed back to the car. Don't do the overlook, it isn't as cool as the suspension bridge. We would have continued on pink, but it increased in diffculty and it takes you further away from where you park.
Great hike with some interesting challenges. We decided on the clockwise loop after visiting the overlook first. By the time we had crossed the suspension bridge I was certainly glad the hardest part was behind me. The trails are marked pretty well but there were times I was VERY glad to see that blaze mark. The intersections are marked very well with maps. I would recommend being very familiar with the route you want to take before setting out. Many times you could be on the right trail, but going in the wrong direction. The view from the overlook is too far away. And with the current drought, the amount of water is greatly diminished. The view from the bridge is nice but you certainly don't see all the falls when you're overhead. I wanted to find a spot where I could get a good view of the falls on the way up but didn't find one. It took us about 5 hours including a couple of stops.
This is a very difficult trail and requires attentiveness to blazes. Lost the trail a few times and had to backtrack and find blazes. Very difficult terrain, too. But it is definitely worth it if you like to hike and are in pretty good shape. Part of the loop has some amazing waterfalls if you venture down to the stream (50 yards off the trail) at some places, and there are some good views every now and again on the actual rim of the gap trail. Would definitely reccomend, but be careful!