Bill Kimball - Coldspring Branch Loop

HARD 40 reviews

Bill Kimball - Coldspring Branch Loop is a 5.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cleveland, South Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.2 miles
1,351 feet

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers




2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

4 months ago

An interesting lollipop. Lots of wild flowers. We also had a problem with the unmarked switchback (I think the trail went that way at one time, since I saw a chain by the side of the trail); I piled some downed branches on the incorrect path.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

I hiked it on the fourth of July and went from Tom Miller to Jones Gap to Bill Kimball to Cold Springs. I also took the side trail of Jones Gap to highway 276 because I hadn't gone that way before. It took about 4 hours. There are plenty of places to get wet. There are about four fallen trees that need to be removed in the valley of Bill Kimball trail. You can get through but it is an annoyance. Going up Bill Kimball takes about 40 minutes with a lot of breaks. I took about 39 steps and rested again, hands on knees, huffing and puffing, and I'm an experienced hiker. I had to crawl and crab walk once I got up to the three rock walls. Pay close attention to the markers or you'll be off the trail. Near the last part of the climb after going through the tree major rock walls, there is a place where you need to turn sharp right and there is no marker straight ahead telling you to do so. After I got to the top, I could hardly go up hill anymore and I hobbled home. The trail has nice solitary deep in the woods feeling.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

The trails are beautiful! We went along the Coldspring trail to Bill Kimball and back again as a ~5mile loop. It isn't that bad, some parts get steep and you need to hold onto some branches or rocks for support but truly it is doable! I took my small beagle (~27lbs) and he did great. There is one part where you cross a creek and the current may be too rough for a small dog to cross safely but it was easy enough to carry him across. Beautiful hike. No mountain top views though - but there is breath taking view at the Ranger Center (requires no hiking!) that overlooks table rock and many other mountains afar. Wonderful area.

trail running
Thursday, October 13, 2016

I enjoyed this trail for a morning trail run/hike. There is nothing exceptionally breathtaking on this trail, but there is a very beautiful, huge rock face on the Bill Kimball trail that I stopped to take a few pictures of, and the stream is a nice companion. I chose to do Bill Kimball then Coldsprings, and I liked that route.
A lot of the Bill Kimball trail isn't really "runable" trail--there are some very steep parts where you need to climb or scoot along on your butt. It was slow going, but still a lot fun going down, and I think it would be a lot of fun going up as well--definitely a challenge.
I ran up the Coldsprings trail. It has a gradual incline and a lot of long, straight aways, which were fun for running UP, but it might be a little dangerous running down. There are a lot of small rocks and those round acorns that roll underfoot which were covered by leaves (This was Fall weather) that are fine if you are running up the hill, but would cause a nasty fall if you trip on one on the way down the hill. It would also be easy to get going a little too fast. I would only consider running down Coldspring if you are already familiar with the trail, but walking would be lovely in either direction.
I ran most of Coldspring, but walked a lot of Bill Kimball even where I could have ran because it was so pretty. I also stopped to take pictures at the rock face and a couple of places along the stream and I finished in just under 2 hours. If you don't stop, you could do it faster, but I liked looking around a lot on the Bill Kimball.

Monday, October 03, 2016

love the rocks... great trail

Sunday, October 02, 2016

This is a good workout loop that runs by a nice branch and a couple of waterfalls (which you have to go off trail to get a good view of -- there are paths already there for you to follow) It is challenging either way you go...if you take the Coldspring Branch trail first from the trail head, it is almost all downhill, but not a drastic descent, and the Bill Kimball is a gruelling gain that seems to go on forever...If you take the Bill Kimball trail first from the trail head, you have the drastic and challenging descent which is worse than going up, in my opinion, then the Coldspring Branch is a lonnnng, but not too drastic, incline out. Either way, as I said, is a workout, but I like to take the Bill Kimball last so I can take the incline, even though it is quite a handful...I had rather take the incline than the descent on that trail, personally. There are several creek crossings and there is a good chance you will get your feet wet, so waterproof shoes/boots are a good idea. There are also several large downed trees you have to go under and some you have to go over, so you have to be fairly agile. I do not recommend this loop for small children or inexperienced hikers/walkers. There are several places that can be dangerous, especially if you have grown fatigued and a little sloppy. It took us three hours to do this loop, but it could be done much quicker if you focused on the task at hand. We took our time and stopped often to make photos and sightsee. We only saw two other people on the trail the whole time we were out and it was a beautiful autumn afternoon (Sunday), so apparently this is not a heavily trafficked loop. It was great to have the place all to ourselves!

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Hard tough trail. Be prepared on this one. One of the hardest descents I have done.

Friday, June 10, 2016

I accidentally hiked this trail with a friend and it was exhausting but well worth the hike!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What an excellent find. By far one of my favorites. It is technical and challenging but well worth it. It's a beautiful trail.

Monday, February 29, 2016

This is what we were looking for! Intense vertical climbing, streams to no end for crossing, and not much to look at. Just an intense trail that kept us on our toes!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Great hike...Jones Gap Park was filled and couldn't get in...wen't to Caesar's Head and picked this on a whim.

It's a descent/ascent and the Bill Kimball section of it has it's brutal moments if you take that trail last. As well, with some of the steep grades and rocky portions of the loop, there's no way I'd do this on a day that calls for rain.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Did bill Kimball loop from ceasers head overlook parking lot. back side of loop has a fast grade increase with short switch backs. was pretty hard. but manageable. great views lots of crossing creek.. love this trail.. not very many people on major plus.. will be back.. make sure you have waterproof boots..

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I took the look From Coldsprings Branch to Bill Kimball Trail loop. It was at likes like a obstacle course and the second half of Coldsprings Branch you cross the creek several times so I would recommend waterproof boots and above the ankle boots. Lots of routs, logs, and steep sections the squiggle down on Bill Kimball I slipped a few times for it is January and the dry leaves ares slippery. At one point I could hear the ice cracking from the mountain top and had to cross over ice. I shared that photo because it is hard to believe for some given the locations. I when off trail many times to get to views of water falls/cascades and it was worth it.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

My son (11 years old)and I hiked this loop on a beautiful Saturday. A fun, technical trail- huge upside for us- we were around 3 hours in before we saw another person! :) lots of spiderwebs and stinging nettles to dodge, but a great hike. El Lieutenant is beautiful. My son said it is his new favorite trail!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Beautiful landscape and water falls

Friday, April 12, 2013

If you are past middle age, this is one tough hike. Taking Coldsprings Trail from the trail head, there is a fork in the trail about 0.7 miles in. If you are one who prefers the easier uphill grade on the last leg of a hike,take the Bill Kimball trail down. It is strenuous even on the downhill, portions are very narrow. In a few places there is more than a 2 foot drop from one step to the next, but some of the rock formations you end up hiking next to are amazing. There are only a few places that the trail markings are not clear, the majority of the trail is very well marked. Once you make it down to the spring, the undergrowth along Bill Kimball Trail is fairly thick in places, but the trail is still well marked. Lots of spider webs crossing the trail, so use a stick to sweep the air in front of you if you hike when the trail is empty. Once Bill Kimball meets up with Coldsprings, the hike up Coldsprings is a steady uphill most of the way back (2 mi.) A good workout.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I hiked this loop on march 10,2012. This is a very strenuous, but rewarding hike. I started with the Bill
Kimball trail (going down) and finished with the Coldspring Branch (going uphill). On the Coldspring
portion the trail crosses the river a number of times, and being springtime the water was really moving
and made it difficult to cross in a few spots, but that just adds to the fun right? Total hike time was right
at 5 hours--enjoy it!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

It was a good hike I went one day after work. I rated it moderate but there were a couple spots that were difficult due to steep elevation changes but overall it was a good workout but not a killer!

I am looking forward to going again.

9 months ago

Monday, August 21, 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Monday, June 05, 2017

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Friday, September 30, 2016

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