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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.

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.

This trail is one of my all time favs!!♡♡♡

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!!

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

Great hike ! Beautiful waterfall! Jones Gap is as good as it gets!

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.

I did #11, #13, #14, #12 as the app recommend. My app recorded 8.7 in 2:38 non-stop. It was very strenuous and not for the faint of heart. The swing bridge had the best view.

This hike took us right at 6 hours with several short stops. It was much longer than 7 miles, my Fitbit registered nearly 13 miles start to finish. It’s more than moderate and a few spots have some ladders/stair cases that are not so dog friendly. Going down dismal and back up the natural trail really takes it out of you so plan to take a long break at the bottom.

hiking
19 days ago

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

Good workout, did it in clockwise direction.
Did not try Ishi trail version as that trail was closed about 10 years ago.
From River Walk Trail turn left in to Rim of the Gap Trail #6 yellow until start of Pinnacle Pass Trail # 20 white
This is where a strenuous 2 miles section lays ahead
Nice overlook along this way
Stayed on # 20 until John Sloan Trail #21 leads back to Rim of the Gap Trail ( Turning earlier on # 22 connector would shorten the loop by an easy going 1.5 miles )
Return on Rim of the Gap Trail is the easy part of this Loop

We didn’t believe it when we started that it would be strenuous, but it definitely was. It was a great work out that ended with a gorgeous view and one of the tallest waterfalls I’ve seen. This receives a 4/5 for me due to a few factors:
1. Parking- a little odd, and not much of it. We were the only ones on the trail so it wasn’t an issue.
2. There is a lot of shrub/logs that have fallen at the base of the waterfall and not a great area to gather for hanging out. We had brought our hammocks but were unable to find a good spot to hammock.
Over all, I’d do it again for the view and workout!

hiking
24 days ago

My first hike in several years and was able to complete with little difficulty.

The hike is definitely a moderate hike for new or inexperienced hikers. Trail is narrow lots of roots and small obstacles. The hike was very enjoyable and a good day hike for anyone looking for a reason to get out and see nature. Would NOT recommend for kids who have never hiked before.

hiking
25 days ago

Any hike through the woods is enjoyable. The falls were small but still worth the hike. Pretty decent ascent coming back up. Chose to hike this trail because we got to the park too late to do the Raven Cliff Falls Trail. Will definitely be back.

We took the #11 trail for the view of the Raven Cliffs Falls and not the trail that went to the falls themselves (4.4 miles round trip out and back). Our group included beginner hikers so we took lots of breaks and took our time. The trail includes lots of short uphill and downhill sections and lots of tree roots -- some in our group found bringing a sturdy walking stick to be very helpful. The final lookout point was a really nicely built shelter with lots of benches for resting. The falls were quite far away but still looked really nice!

If you are used to hiking quite a bit, I would rate this as easy. I agree that it is "kid friendly" if your kid has hiked before -- we say many young kids that were doing fine with plenty of water breaks but also some that could barely handle all of the walking and were at their breaking points :(

My ten year old rocked this trail with me to help celebrate by ten weeks without smoking. Needless to say when we got to the switchbacks I started to feel the kickback of all those years of smoking lol. Definitely start on gumdrop and work your way down, we did the exact opposite lol.

Great lollipop loop packed with beautiful scenery and very challenging terrain. I've hiked all over the southeast and this trail system is fantastic. Very well blazed. Be prepared and bring a backpack with at least 2 liters of water, plenty of nutrition, and safety items (light, fire starter, safety blanket, map, first aid basics). Trekking poles very helpful for this level of difficulty. I don't recommend unless you are an experienced hiker...Very well worth the elevation you gain to see THE most beautiful mountain terrain in SC!

Would definitely rate this as more than “moderate”. Not sure what I did different but it was 9 mile hike. I did Raven Cliff Falls, down Dismal, up Natureland Trust to Gum Gap/Foothills and back out Raven Cliff Falls. The Falls were beautiful and it was exciting seeing it from the suspension bridge. Had a nice area to put your feet in the water/rest after crossing the bridge. A decent amount of downed trees I have to go over/under and a couple ladders to climb. Maybe my hike registered as longer because I did go to the Raven Cliff Falls overlook and then came back to go down Dismal. Did it clockwise like others recommended

Amazing hike on a perfect day. Definitely hard. Especially, for our Yorkie, but she did really well. We followed all the purple markers even though they took us away from the sound of the river. Of course, they did lead us to the falls. What a payoff! We didn't check the bottom falls but made the climb to the upper falls and layed out on a dry rock. Gorgeous!

hiking
1 month 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

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