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hiking
19 hours ago

Great falls. We met a new friend at the falls and hiked the rest of the day with us. Made for a great time to see the adjacent falls that are well worth seeing!

My first hike to Raven Cliff Falls was in 1966 before the current trail was made. We hiked in from Hwy. 276 near the bald rock overlook. That trail ran by the old bear hunter's cabin alongside Matthews Creek and ended at the foot of the falls. One of the most magical experiences of my life was sleeping under a full moon on the flat rock right at the bottom of the falls and seeing the spray and mist from the falls highlighted in the moon glow. Over time, I wore out the seat of several pair of shorts on the sliding rock about a mile down Matthews Creek from the falls.

Great hike. Gradual incline due to multitude of switchbacks. Moderately strenuous for a weekend hiker. Incredible panoramic view. Make sure to pack a lunch and plan to stay a while to enjoy the view.

Nice climb. My first goal-oriented hike. Consistent elevation rise.

on Looking Glass Rock Trail

hiking
7 days ago

As other reviewers have mentioned, the main highlight is reaching the top and getting the spectacular view of the mountains! I found it to be worth it for a day hike. There are tons of switchbacks but nothing too difficult. The trail was nice and well-maintained. Lots of shade as you are in tree cover 99% of the hike. Even though I did see what looked like a few places to camp not far from the top, I am not sure I would want to overnight camp there. Only saw a handful of people either way. Its a hike worth doing to see it for yourself!

awesome hike!!!! not for the inexperienced

Short but strenuous 2 miles uphill hike to the top with an INSANE waterfall. So worth it. Well marked with purple circles on trees. Highly recommend!!

The falls are at the base... it’s a trail to the top 43 flights of steps

Awesome views! Trail was easy and beautiful.

Loved it you can swim and walk they the water

Very clean trail, I love the hike going up. The summit is one of the the best I have seen.

Love it! We’ve been going for years and the views never get old

a very tall two tier falls. first section is normal plunge second is Cascade. very steep to get to falls but worth it

Good little hike. We had three kids 3,10 and 12 all did great. Loved the falls at end and sitting on the big rocks. Overall good hike.

hiking
12 days ago

The terrain here is beautiful, and the altitude changes nicely (but be careful about loose stones and slippery wetness). If you want to see how the different faces and altitudes of the region affect the trees and local insects (open grassy fields, hickory, berries, oak, various evergreens, bees among the rhododendrons and ragweed, flies on the bear and dog scat), this is a good trail for that purpose over just a few miles. Also, there are several crossing routes and side trails so that you can modify your hike to your needs, but remember to walk the extra mile or two to catch all of the falls.

Challenging hike. Sometimes All Trails isn't accurate on the level of difficulty, but this was one of the more strenuous ones I've done in SC. At the same time, it's definitely the most beautiful. Lots of waterfalls and wildflowers along the way. The view at Bald Rock was gorgeous. I would suggest starting as early as possible...I started at 7:15am and saw no one on my way up and around 15 people on my way down.

Beautiful views from a number of lookouts and cliffs, wildflowers all along the way in August/early September. Great for dogs on a leash, kids of all ages, only about an hour roundtrip unless you stop for lots of photos or a picnic (both of which are highly recommended).

15 days ago

This is by far the most difficult trail I’ve ever done. Going up is basically like 2-2.5 hours of stairmaster. There is a brief reprieve between mile 2.0 - 2.5 and after you reach the summit the last half mile is all downhill on the far side of the summit to the overlook. The hardest part for me was the half mile back to the summit when I started back down the trail from the overlook, probably just because I was so worn out from coming up. The whole trail out and back is 7.2 miles (3.6 each way). There is a lot of visible damage from recent storms, but overall a nice scenic journey. The halfway shelter is so-so, but there is a big boulder just past it that’s perfect for a rest and has A+ views. A little scrambling was required between mile 2.5 and the summit, but nothing tough. Steps have been cut/blasted into some of the steeper rock faces which makes it easy to scale those. The views from the overlook are truly some of the best I have ever seen and really gave me a new respect for the SC upstate area. There were some nice water features on the initial part of the trail also. My legs were complete jelly when I got back to the bottom and my extremities were starting to get swollen and stiff, but it was in the low 80’s and extremely humid. All in all I was glad I did it though, feels like a real accomplishment. I started at 8:30 am on a weekday and didn’t pass a single person all the way up, but did meet a few people on the way down. Seemed like there was minimal park staff around.

hiking
15 days ago

Review of Lower Falls, Upper Falls, and Graveyard Fields Loop, hiked with one dog, two children ages 7 and 10 who are intermediate hikers. 

I grew up hiking this trail and today I passed the torch on to my boys (7 and 10). Graveyard fields is a well known and popular hike for locals and tourists alike. During the Summer time and weekends you can expect heavy foot traffic. Being a Tuesday we had the trail to ourselves for the most part. We started off by visiting lower falls just under 1/2 mile from the parking area down several flights of stairs. This area is a popular swimming area and where we saw the most people on our trip today. If you have very young children, older dogs, or anyone in your group with difficulty getting around this will be your go to spot. This spot offers several large boulders to take a breather on or sunbathe. A small waterfall you can rock hop your way up to. There are also a couple of small swimming holes for everyone to cool off in on warmer days. Be sure to rest up and keep in mind the stairs can be tedious on the way back out. If you are looking for a more adventurous hike then head back up the stairs and to the fork you passed on your way in. Keep right to start a 1 mile hike to upper falls. Note this trail is not well marked, and underbrush often takes over the path. You will be forced to hike single file, wade through mud, rock hop across several creeks, and navigate over tree roots, rock steps, and boulders. This trail is not recommended for young children, or pups that might struggle to get around well. Several of the areas are slick from the cooler wet environment and can be challenging to navigate in areas. As you hike you will come to another main fork go left to take graveyard fields loop or veer right to continue on to upper falls. This is where the trail can become challenging, as you make your way to Upper Falls. Once you arrive at upper falls you can choose to stay where the trail meets the water or continue to hike on up either the boulders or along a small trail that will take you parallel to the water and to the top of the waterfall. There are several areas among the rocks where you can wade through the water and admire the waterfall. Be careful though as these rocks are often very slick and can be tricky to navigate. There are several trees that offer the opportunity to hang up a hammock for a nap after a nice picnic. Once you're ready to head out, back trackthe same you came in. You will once again find yourself at the fork for graveyard fields loop which will bring you out at the lower end of the parking lot or you can follow the same route you hiked in on. This hike is a great way to spend the day relaxing with friends and family with beautiful flowers, ample views of water it will feel like your own little paradise. Come prepared to get your feet wet and muddy and bring towels for your four legged family members. 

Rim trial is very narrow, some places almost non existent. Lots of rocky river bed trail on Jones Gap. Do not recommend taking dogs on this loop. a few ladders to climb.

This is a steep climb to a nice view of the southern Smokies! Did it Labor Day weekend when trees were green, but I bet the view is even better in the fall. I also bet it's an easier climb in the cooler weather. Could be worth packing a lunch to eat at the top!

Very nice easy hike. the trail has great views of the lake. the trail turned out to be 6 miles according to my wife's fitbit. we seen a few mountain bikes but very considerate of the hikers and a couple people riding horses.

hiking
17 days ago

Trail markings are sub par, so basically go through fence, keep cutting through several fields, then eventually on the right corner of the field there is the entrance to the actually trail.

Trail itself is in decent shape but still poorly marked.

However, the falls are TOTALLY worth it. Bring a camera and hammock!

hiking
17 days ago

The trail is definitely on the moderate to hard end of the spectrum. There were people of all ages on the trail. My husband and I are in our late 20s but I saw children, as well as elderly making the trek to the top. The steady incline gets your heart pumping and sweat dripping but the view at the top is well worth it! I can’t wait to go back in the fall. I didn’t see anyone in the reviews comment on this, but don’t miss the little crystal pebbles/stones along the trail! I didn’t catch them until our way back down.

Great hike! If you’re looking for a good workout with views as your payoff in the end, this will deliver. I also agree with other reviews - advisable for people who are already physically fit and I don’t recommend bringing a dog, even though they’re allowed. I rate this in the “difficult” spectrum.

Absolutely wonderful. This trail will challenge your muscle endurance because it is quite steep. The view at the top was worth it.

When you get to the trailhead, do not walk towards the creek, the actual trail is up to your left. Follow the red blazes. When it splits go right, across the creek. Two creek crossings.

Trail is in bad shape in a few places but mostly it’s flat and fairly moderate hike in. My old dog did okay, had to pick him up in a few places.

Waterfall is beautiful.

backpacking
18 days ago

It’s a tough one but has my favorite secret camp spot! I’ve done it twice and was able to camp there both times and only saw one little group of day hikers over there. Aside from that, the end of the trail is awesome but sketchy- no rails between you and the steep edge of the rock! Don’t set your water bottle down! It can get crowded though, because there’s not much room on the edge.

hiking
18 days ago

Pretty hike. The view of the falls is from far away at the overlook. I would rate this trail easy to moderate.

This hike isn’t too difficult and the view at the top is 100% worth it. Switchbacks I considered to be slightly gradual. Did see a good sized snake on the trail on the way back. Well maintained trails though- went early in the morning and it started to get pretty busy on our way down.

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