Explore the most popular trail running trails near Cleveland with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

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.

Nice little swimming hole for little ones. Decent hike

Awesome trial with well marked trials.

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.

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.

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!

The trail to the Look Out is well maintained and moderate. The dismal Loop trail however is NOT for The beginner hiker. The full loop trail is HARD, be prepared and have plenty of water to take with you. Even though the difficulty level is HARD it's still worth it. You will get to see sights that you would not be able to see otherwise. The cut out log bridge over the river, the huge rock face called "The Catherdal" to the Suspension Bridge at the top of the falls which gives you a feeling of great accomplishment!. I would do this hike again!.

At least 8+ mikes. Great hike but not really great view of the falls. We went clockwise and swam in the river after the suspension bridge. That’s a good place to call. Lunch spot. Going clockwise left you with an easy hike back to the car.

Moderate my ASS!!! More like 9 miles.

I'm not buying the 7.1 distance, I am buying at least the 2100 feet in elevation change. We have what we did at nearly 12 miles. Plenty of chances to get in the water and to get different vantage points of the falls. we went down Dismal, then back up. Dismal had more switchbacks, some bouldering and three ladders and a ledge on the way back up to the payoff....a suspension bridge over the tallest waterfall in South Carolina. Challenging enough, not for a beginner or little one. Love it.

Great trail! Well maintained and easy to follow, compared to others I have been on. Cool diversions (falls, bridges, cliffs, ladders). I hiked today with my daughter. We were sweating, but it was worth the work. I now own an "I survived Dismal Loop" tee!!

Definitely a hard trail, I would not underestimate it. Bring trekking poles if you have them. Worth every mile. Absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking. Will always come back here

When they say this trail is Hard what they should really say is this trail is pretty damn strenuous. I read the reviews and was like oh people say it’s hard but complete the loop in 4 hours, that sounds doable. What I failed to consider is that the people writing these reviews likely hike quite often and are in much much better shape than myself. My husband and I did this trail this past weekend and I got my butt sufficiently kicked. Total time for the loop was 6and half hours, and it isn’t 7 miles it’s more like 8.5 miles. This loop is NOT kid friendly, is NOT limited mobility friendly, and seriously difficult if you are overweight.

Raven cliff is easy peasy, wide pathways, large portions of it gravel, gum gap is easy as well. The dismal and naturalland trust are really difficult. The climbs and descents are pretty steep, the trails are very narrow a great deal of the time where the edge is literally a drop off that I have no doubt if I had fallen I would have seriously injured myself. I had to crawl a few times to get under fallen trees and up the trail. While it is marked it is pretty easy to get lost on the natauralland trail. It is so steep in some places that all the climbs up/down look like they could be part of the trail. There are 2 creek crossings which are super easy and small, some up and down ladders as well. The views are pretty but I was so exhausted by time we made it to the bridge all I could think was I did that for this? I highly suggest doing raven cliff to dismal to natauralland way. I can’t imagine going the other way and having to go up dismal 4 miles into the hike.

It’s pretty and when I started I was full of hope and wonder. When i finished I was proud of myself for completing it and proving to myself that I could.

Awesome trail! Very well marked and easy to follow. Makes for a burly trail run!

Great trail, but as several others have commented, the yellow blazes on the gap rim trail are spaced out too far in some key places. I ended up lost for over an hour scrabbling over the spidertrails (clearly I wasn’t the first to be lost on this section). With the lost time, I had some scary moments trying to get over the last technical bits with dark falling and in the rain, but the last 3-ish miles are pretty easy going (much like the Jones Gap trail).

The technical section only covers about 2mi (maybe less even, without the extra “detours” I took) and the section right before you meet the purple trail is absolutely gorgeous. Worth the trip. Take poles for sure, and strongly recommend even for day hike to take a mini bivvy kit and lights in case you end up lost/stuck (the trees are dense and I started using my light well before sundown due to cloud cover+trees).

to many people

Did this trail yesterday with my dog. We did the loop counterclockwise (starting with Dismal). It was a serious hike on the first really hot day of the year. There are 2 up ladders and 1 down ladder the direction we went. We didn’t get a good view of the falls up close but did find some nice cool water to play in along the way. It took us 4hrs round trip including our stops. Definitely recommend.

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.

such a beautiful trail! so many cool spots to see. would definitely recommend going. probably one of the prettiest hikes I’ve been on.

Enjoyable trail! Beautiful waterfalls.

hiking
4 months ago

First time hiking this trail. I did get lost on Natureland Trust. It looked as if there had been a lot of rain previously where trees and rocks were washed down on the trail in some spots; however, I did find an amazing view of the waterfall. Be careful on Natureland Trust Trail-easy to loose markers in spots. Fantastic group of trails-especially Natureland Trust. Definitely NOT for children. You will need hiking boots. From advice here, I took the strenuous paths first and do recommend that! I did #11 to #12, #14, #13, back to #11 and parking. With my off the trail excursion, around 9 miles and it took me around 4 hours. Will do this hike again!

Just did this hike and really enjoyed it. A surprisingly busy area. My GPS had it at 9.3 so something is going on there, I wonder if parts of the trail have been re-routed, especially on the down side of Dismal Trail. Certainly some rough spots and the climb up the valley on Natureland can be tough. The only reason I rated this 4 instead of 5 was that I never found a way to get close to the falls, other than going over the top on the suspension bridge.

Great trail. It is technical but if you’re a strong hiker you’ll be fine. Having done it both ways I prefer to do it clockwise. This leaves the most technical bit of ROG for the end but you do much of the return claim early in the return rather than the end. Pick your poison. The spur to rainbow falls is worth it if you have time and can stand the additional elevation. A bit about gear, not specific to this trail — consider using hiking poles and trading in your hiking boots for a lightweight trail runner with great tread and grip. Changes like this will make all the difference on a trail like this.

First time doing this trail. Completed the Raven Cliffs Falls, then decided to go down the purple/pink trail. It was hard! Before you embark on the trail, do make sure you have food and water as the sign says. However, I completed (looped around the bleu trail and then back on the red trail/raven cliff falls) the whole trek at 8.28 miles in a little over 4 hrs (including getting lost a few times) according to my gps. But I went without taking breaks and fueled up as I progressed.
Views were okay . The bridge was okay. Not my favorite hike but definitely a good workout! Raven cliff falls and the bleu trail would be good for running so I will probably do those again in the future.

Awesome trail, but it somehow turned into an eleven mile trek. Take lots of water, some food and be sure to leave in enough time to get back before dark.

trail says about 8 miles but my GPS had us over 11. take on dismal trail by coming from raven cliff falls trail. that sends you down the hard way first and the end will be easy, me and my fiancee went backwards unknowingly and it was rough. definetly the most difficult trail I've hiked. but it's very rewarding.

This trail was a butt kicker! But absolutely worth it! 7.5 miles total, crazy terrain, pretty views and a workout!

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