Raven Rock Loop Trail is a 3.5 mile loop trail located near Sunset, South Carolina and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is accessible from September until May.
natural bridge, rocky outcrops, lakeshore campsite, beautiful strem crossing This is a great quick getaway hike. The trail starts out easily and crosses the Poe creek over a natural granite bridge which is quite inreresting. The next section is uphill through a boulder field topping out and dropping into a steep valley. You climb out to the top of the ridge and generally ridge walk until the decent to Lake Jocassee. There is an excellent campsite on the peninsula but you need to reserve it ahead of time at the ranger station. The way back is a lot of uphill and steep downhill coupled with a nice river crossing. The last leg is uphill and ends at the old church and the parking lot. This is a good workout to keep those legs and lungs in shape. Hope you enjoy. See you on the trail!!!
Loved this trail. great views of the lake.
This trail offers awesome scenes of the lake and open hardwoods. The trail is nice and very well maintained. It is steep in sections and creates a decent challenge. Don't follow the original track, it's off. The mileage is closer to 4.3 miles if you make it a loop rather than an out and back.
The 4.4 mile loop was all this overweight 54 year old could handle. Two hours and ten minutes of beautiful scenery and great exercise with frequent short rests, especially on the return portion of the hike.
This was a great hike my friends and I attempted. We planned a weekend camping trip at the primitive sites alongside the trail. While the hike itself was perfect, we brought along a large cooler and 80 pounds of camping gear. If you are camping and do not have a canoe/kayak, then pack lightly! I love this hike and the campsites associated with it.
Better than expected, well maintained, good lake, stream and mountain views.
Clean and well maintained. Good afternoon hike with my dog.
I have mixed feelings about this hike. First allow me to describe the positives of this trail:
Raven Rock Trail is an absolutely gorgeous trail in a lush mountain setting. There are many beautiful things to see along your hike including incredible geological formations, a natural stone bridge over a racing mountain stream, abundant rhododendron, gorgeous hardwood forest, and sweeping lake views with opulent mansions on the opposite shore. The sweet smell of the leaf litter, the sun peeking through the canopy, and the sounds of song birds provide a cathedral to remedy a city-weary soul.
Technically, Raven Rock is a well-marked and well maintained loop trail. You reach the Raven Rock trail head by hiking the Natural Bridge Trail loop trail first. The Raven Rock trail head is about halfway through the Natural Bridge trail. Both trails are loops, and if you're looking for a shorter but still vigorous hike I would recommend just sticking to the Natural Bridge Trail. If you have the time and endurance for 3 more miles, take the Raven Rock Trail. But pace yourself...
This leads me to what I perceive to be the challenges of the Raven Rock trail:
Ladies, and Gents, if you're not in great shape this is one heck of a workout! I admit that I'm not the hiker I once was. My new year's resolution was to complete 52 hikes in 2016. This was my 2nd hike of the year and certainly presented a fair share of challenges. Let me explain.
You begin your hike at a relatively high elevation. From the parking area you descend about 150 feet to a beautiful mountain stream passing through a rock formation (the Natural Stone Bridge), then climb 238 feet (rather steeply) to your first mountain peak. From there you descend only a little and ridge-hike to your next peak, the highest, at 1,171 feet. You then follow the trail down to the lake shore, 377 feet only to turn around and climb again (at this point getting pretty tired) all the way back up to 1,166 feet. You figure you've got the worst of it behind you and bound down the hill towards your car. This is where they throw a wrench into your hike. Because you then hike a gradual, but endless mile and a half uphill all the way back to your car. This was the part that had me ready to lay down on the side of the trail and sleep till morning! It is only another elevation gain of 234 feet but it was difficult for me because my body was spent from the rest of the hike.
So if you're new to hiking, or only returning to hiking after a long hiatus as I was, or not in the best of shape, don't despair you can still do it! Just be sure you've allowed yourself plenty of time to complete the hike factoring in breaks to give your body time to recover. I believe this was one of our problems. We only began the hike at about 2pm in the beginning of January so we knew we had to complete the hike by 5. It began getting dark on the trail by about 3:30 so we were really pushing ourselves to finish quickly and were spent by the time we reached the last hill.
Bring plenty of water, specifically in warmer temperatures, and perhaps a picnic to enjoy before the final leg of the hike.
There are two Ys in the trail and we went to the right each time. It may be slightly easier if you go to the left instead, which is what we'll try the next time. Then your final hill is a little shorter and more gradual to get you back to the parking area.
So the challenges of the hills are the only reason I rated this hike as a 4 star instead of a 5 star. My husband, who is in far better shape than I am, said persistently that the rating of this trail as moderate was inaccurate. He felt it was a pretty difficult trail, but hiked the entire thing with a 30lb weight vest and did beautifully. It is a gorgeous and well-maintained trail and would likely be very easy to the seasoned hiker.
Cool little trails. Make sure to jump off the rock into the water near the campsites. From campsite sign: take a left until you get to the edge of the lake. Swim to the left about 40m and jump off the rock!