Raven Cliff Falls Loop Trail is a 7.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cleveland, SC that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Combining the Raven Cliff Falls trail, the Gum Gap trail, the Naturaland Trust trail, and the Dismal trail for a great adventure! This is a great workout with a tremendous payoff. We hiked trail #11(FHT/Raven Cliff Falls,easy) to trail #13 (Gum Gap,easy). We followed Gum Gap to trail #14 (Natureland Trust, strenuous) over the suspension bridge and down the the side towards Matthews Creek at the bottom. Along the way there is a great break spot on a ledge(see photo) and the Catherdal formation (also see photo). This section is very steep going down. We crossed Matthews Creek on the cables and started the vicious switchbacks on Trail #12 (the Dismal Trail) back to trail #11 and eventually the parking lot. This hike is outstanding, we had the fortune to run into a mother black bear and two cubs just after the Matthews Creek crossing. There is so much to say about this route but I would rather you experience it for yourself. Be prepared, either direction this is a hard hike with a well earned payoff. Enjoy and I'll see you on the trail!!!
loved the hike,, Just wish there had been more water over the falls
I may be directionally challenged, but this trail was So confusing and got lost/went wrong ways too much on these trails..and the naturland "trust trail" HA! Prepare for a decline, I wound up walking about 2miles past the raven cliff falls bridge on this trail, unaware of its difficulty and had to just turn around and go ALL the way back up the steep terrain, it prob would of been more enjoyable if I knew where I was going, but I "Wing It" on a lot of things lol..
This was a fantastic hike. I definitely recommend taking the dismal trail at the beginning of the hike and looping around and taking the easier section towards the end of the hike. I started at 9:45 AM and got off the trail around 2:45 PM, I took a slight detour to take a look at the side of the falls. I will definitely go again and probably take the same route. Today was absolutely gorgeous and perfect day to experience the beauty at Caesars Head! My fit bit told me that I hiked closer to 9 miles.
We started at the trailhead across the street from the Raven Cliff Falls parking area off 276. It was marked "foothills trail", but was the start of Raven Cliff Falls Trail (#11 + red on the map). This section of the hike was moderate. We then took Gum Gap/Foothills Trail (#14 + blue) which was easy to Naturaland Trust Trail (#14 + pink). This part was a little more steep, moderate/hard, but it was lightly trafficked and we were only on it for about 15 min before arriving at Raven Cliff Falls. The Falls has several areas to sit and rest and is a pretty area. The bridge is here, too. From the parking lot to the Falls took about 1hr and 45min. Would definitely do this hike again.
This is a great workout with some really pretty views and rest spots. We've hiked it clockwise and counterclockwise, and I'd highly suggest doing it clockwise and getting Dismal Trail out of the way first and doing it downhill. This leaves you with a very tough, technical climb up Naturaland, but you're still toward the beginning of your hike. If you go counterclockwise you're hitting the long climb up Dismal last.
I suggest hitting the overlook first, then backtracking to Dismal and Naturaland. The Cathedral is beautiful and cool and a nice resting spot, but of course, the main reward is getting to the bridge over Raven Cliff Falls. Further up the trail, after you cross the bridge, there are some great little spots where you can get to other parts of the waterfall - well worth seeing. The hike back from the waterfall clockwise is long but not difficult or very technical at all. Take plenty of water, allow for around 5 hours, and enjoy!
I went Raven Cliff Falls Trail to Gum Gap, to Naturaland, to Dismal, and finally Raven Cliff again back up to the parking lot. It pushed me pretty hard. I would recommend going this way instead of the opposite because even though hiking up Dismal was definitely tough, I cant imagine having to hike up Naturaland. It would honestly be more of a climb. Otherwise the trail is very beautiful and the waterfalls, especially the big one, are amazing.
From the parking lot, I started at the Raven Cliffs Fall Trail. From late fall through spring this mountain side trail offers views across the valley. At the first fork, I made a right turn and followed Gum Gap Trail to Naturaland Trust Trail. In this section, the trail is pretty smooth until you cross the suspension bridge. There are many places along the trail that require holding onto natural anchors to descend down the steep slope. The trechary ends +/-75 yards after the cliff wall. Its smooth trail all the way to the wooden bridge, and along the creek until reaching the Dismal Trail (left). Many have noted that this was the toughest part. I say that this was more a test of stamina. The descent on the Naturaland Trail was more 'technical' making it more difficult. After getting back onto the Raven Cliffs Fall Trail, it was an easy hike back to the parking lot.
Many times, I go solo, but this time I had the oportunity to pair up with a fellow hiker who provided conversation to pass the time. Kudos to you.
I believe that most people accustomed to hiking can complete this trail. Just be smart: Closed toe shoes with traction are a must. Take water. Take breaks as you need on the Dismal Trail ascent.
It was a really tough hike. We went from Raven Cliff falls trail to Gum Gap, Naturaland and then Dismal up to the overlook then back to Raven Cliff to the parking lot. It was pretty rough and I don't plan on doing that again for a long while. We had planned on hiking to the suspension bridge and back but decided to go ahead and finish the loop. The gps said we hiked 9.2 miles. My body told me it was too far and too steep. Once we made it to the overlook trail we noticed a WARNING sign stating it was very strenuous, would take 4 hours to hike from there and not to attempt it without food, water, hiking boots, and a trail map. There was not a sign the direction we took! Matthews Creek and every area was incredibly beautiful!
Went UP the Dismal Trail. Tough climb. Felt a sense of accomplishment when I got to the top. My husband said I complained the whole way
This was a good hike. I went down the Dismal Trail and back up the Naturaland Trail. I think this direction is easier than having to climb up the Dismal Trail. I enjoyed the Cathedral off the Naturaland trail. The suspension bridge was neat. I would still like to find a way to get a better/closer view of the Falls. I would probably not do this trip again, but I am glad I did it. My GPS indicated a total of 8.8 miles (I did not go to the Falls overlook as I had been there previously). Overall a good workout.
i loved the hike
This is a beautiful hike but not for people out of shape. i consider myself to be healthy but had a hard time catching my breath on the way up on The Dismal Trail. be careful.
A difficult but rewarding hike. One of the best I have done in the Appalachians. Can be very strenuous and steep at times. But the views are worth every second of it. Especially the weeping rocks you encounter on the way up to the falls.
This is an awesome hike, and one that I would really like to do more often... preferably in the Fall or Winter. It is pretty hot and buggy in July, but enjoyable nonetheless.
As other reviewers have noted, there are some steep/ dicey sections that are not good for dogs or younger children. I believe they are entirely between the falls and the overlook on the Eastern portion of the loop. It would be longer, but I think an out and back to the falls around the Western side would be easier and avoid the trickier sections. Please correct me if you recall differently.