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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.

hiking
1 day ago

The kids loved this trail. Real hidden gem, even got to see a few bear tracks. One complaint, there is a cable crossing over one creek that stopped the four of us, mainly the four year old, from making it to the waterfall. Wouldn't have been a problem just wish it had been marked on the map. Other than that great trail.

Great trails. Fantastic scenery!

Plan ahead for this one. I did not plan as well as I should and was caught off guard by the strenuous terrain. I did the whole 8.1 mile loop in 4.5 hrs which was rough. Definitely want to plan some longer stops along the way to relax and enjoy it a bit. Told my wife about it and now she wants to go back and try it, which we will probably do this fall after it cools off a bit.

Amazing hike and the waterfall at the end is breathtaking, far exceeding my expectations. Well-marked trail in purple. Several very steep inclines but doable. It took me about 30 min to get in and 25 back. I’m under 30 and exercise daily and I was sweaty and pretty tired when I finished, so great little workout, too

A great short hike. The waterfall at the end is really beautiful. Gets a little hard at some places, otherwise a moderate hike. I will not suggest taking kids because there are few points with pretty steep and slippery climb.

This trail is just under 8 miles from parking lot to parking lot. We went clockwise, down Dismal and up Naturaland trail. There’s a cool foot bridge at the bottom. The Naturaland trail between the two bridges can be a little brutal, very steep, but not bad. My wife and I had no trouble with trekking poles, though there are a few scrambles. Take bug spray, food, and 2-3 liters of water. We did the loop in about 4:45, taking our time and stopping for lunch.

Moderate uphill hike with roots and boulders along the way, but the waterfalls are beautiful and well worth the effort!

This hike was more like walking up a drainage ditch. it was wet, muddy, and slick. The fact that it did not look like a trail wouldn't have been an issue if the trail was clearly marked, but it was not. very easy to get lost.There are ladders and slick flat rocks to walk over. I won't be doing this hike again.

Hiked up on 8/4 with the whole crew of kids- 9, 8, 6, and 4- its a little steep at some parts but definitely doable for kids- great falls at the top- if you go up the right side of the falls there’s a better spot 1/2 way up to rest and have lunch/snack

My first hike with two of my teenage children. Was perfect for us in terms of difficulty but disappointing that you still need to take a longer trail to get down to the falls themselves. We will make the longer hike to get there for sure.

Not a bad hike, 4.4 miles total, the trail is narrow in some areas and lots of tree roots. Not very small dog friendly, too many obstacles to jump over. The waterfall is big and beautiful but it is very far away from the viewing/overlook area. Lots of parking space and there was a lot of people were on the trail, high foot traffic trail.

Very rainy solo hike in the AM on 8/3, due to the rain the trail was completely empty. This isn't a great trail to do in the rain as the food path basically works as a slippery clay drainage creek. Other than getting very wet, it's an enjoyable short trail with some interesting boulders and nice waterfalls which were at peak capacity due to the current monsoon season. I know the trail is rated hard, but it's actually very easy as it's really short and the climbs are moderate. Up near the falls you do have to scrabble around a bit but it's not technically challenging. I think this would be a great hike for kids 8+ due to the length and interesting elements. I plan to do it again with the family in tow next time.

18 days ago

This trail is gate locked and CLOSED all summer. Serious bummer and lack of information about this trail.

Use a TRAIL MAP. makes for a great day of hiking. dont wander around lost trying to figure out which blaze to follow. white,blue,orange, red pink,purple ..know before you go and enjoy !! :)

Enjoyable early AM solo hike on a foggy weekday summer morning. I started out a little after 7:00 AM and other than passing one group on my way out, I had the trail completely to myself. I had to wait for the clouds and fog to clear to see falls from observation deck but it was definitely worth it. The observation deck isn't very close to the falls (maybe 1/4 mile) but I had read this so it wasn't too disappointing but be prepared. The fog and mist made for a really interesting hike with lots of neat photo ops, just not a long, clear view of the falls. It was like hiking in the clouds.

I stopped to do this trail as I was passing through the area, and it was well worth it. First, know that they do require you to pay $2 for a permit at the trailhead which you have to display in your car. I didn't realize this and didn't have any $1 bills with me. The trail itself really has it all - steep ascents and descents, gradual ascents and descents, technical terrain with rocks and roots, waterfalls, streams, a suspension bridge, a wooden bridge, and a lot of obstacles (mostly fallen trees) to climb over and crawl under. I highly recommend doing the loop clockwise so that you do the steep sections before you reach the suspension bridge. Once you're at the bridge you feel like you've really accomplished something, and then you have a fairly easy route back to your car. I can't imagine having to do the steepest sections at the end. For those interested in trail data, my garmin says it was 7.7 miles and 2,438 feet of elevation gain. I jogged the flats and downhills and slowly plodded on the uphills, and I completed the loop in about 2 hrs 15 mins.

Awesome trial with well marked trials.

Loved this trail! It is fairly difficult and a steep incline 80% of the way up, but the waterfall and mountain views were truly worth it. We highly suggest doing this if you’re looking for something with some challenge. We got stuck in a thunderstorm and it was still not too bad.

Really fun trail! Almost all up hill on the way there but it’s worth it to see the gorgeous waterfall.

My 6 yr old had no problem! it was great

I took my 2 dogs on a Sunday and saw no humans for the first 3 hours. Unfortunately, I got lost, and ended up on some sort of road, passed a house, heard 276 traffic and knew I was near civilization. Thankfully, I had plenty of water. Got to the hwy. and then had to try to figure out which way to Raven Falls parking lot, yes, I had no paper guides and just tried to use common sense, following the sun. I was struggling with the walk toward my car, as the road is very busy, and the narrow shoulders were scary. Finally, I figured I'd better save down a car, which I did and a very sweet guy stopped, said Yes, we WERE heading in correct direction, about 3/4 of a mile ahead. At first I turned down the ride he (and 4 other men) offered, then thought I'd certainly better take him up on that ride, as walking the road was treacherous. Got safely to car. Unlocked vehicle, DEAD BATTERY! So, I waited. 2 other cars were parked there. Mind you, it was no 7:30, park closing at 8. A nice solo hiker and his dog appeared and he kindly jumped my car, and my dead battery came on, whew. Forgot to mention, that, of course, NO cell service going on here...
Let me make a suggestion, too, that the trail blazers NOT be red and orange, so close together, makes for some confusion. We were hopelessly lost for a good while. I DID see 3 hikers on trail, after the initial beginning where several folks were around, but for most part, my 15 lb rat terrier, and 55 lb mixed-breed Norwegian Elk Hound had the forest to ourselves. Passing by the Lieutenant sheer rock faces was beautiful and, surprisingly, the dogs navigated those rocks well. I suggest having paper guides on hand. I won't go in those woods again without them, as it's way too easy to lose your way. I am in decent shape, but, seriously, I was starting to wonder if I could keep going. My legs began feeling like rubber, it was wild.

Definitely a bit challenging with the roots and some steep terrain but 100% worth it for the beautiful waterfall!!

As good as it gets for a medium hike. It is very strenuous and steep, and you must traverse roots and rocks, but there are some easy inclines and declines along the way.
It was brutally hot and bug-infested the day I went. The payoff is worth it. The trail of s decently marked and maintained. Keep to the left, when in doubt, on the way up. Look up from the bottom of the falls by taking a small steep trail.
One of my favorites in SC!

This is one of my all time favorite trails. It’s a moderate out and back but fairly strenuous if you take the Dismal trail to make it a loop. There are a few excellent spots for picnics and swimming above the falls and the view from the suspension bridge can’t be beat. Definitely bring plenty of water and something to eat.

My favorite for a day of ball-busting exercise. Regardless of my fitness level, I have always been drenched in sweat, and exhausted by the time I reach the parking areas. Everything up until Bill Kimball is pretty easy/flat. The first bit of Bill Kimball is pretty flat, and a little overgrown in area, though well blazed. But once you start ascending, it’s 35 minutes of exhilarating torture.

I recommend hiking from Jones Gap to Coldspring Branch to Bill Kimball and out in a clockwise fashion. Making Bill Kimball a steep ascent rather than descent. Make sure you have water.

Short but tough hike. The falls are beautiful with an option to hike higher and see more of the falls! I would not recommend taking your toddler like I did :)

Amazing hike! I had a blast and the challenge was just my style. Although the trail is listed as kid friendly, I wouldn’t bring anyone under the age of 6 or 7 if you’re planning on going the whole 4 miles.

This trail is ridiculous and amazing rolled into one! We did the loop with Dismal at the end and it was tough! I would definitely recommend getting Dismal out of the way first. Natraland was the best part and full of fun obstacles. Bring plenty of water and wear legit hiking shoes! Highly recommend.

I agree with the other reviewers on this hike. The trail is well marked and maintained. The loop is Hard and not for those expecting a brief or moderate experience. Make sure that you have plenty of water to keep hydrated (I went through 3 full liters) and food to give you energy. Great trail and sense of accomplishment. I would do it again!

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