Caesars Head State Park
1855 Geer Highway
Cleveland, South Carolina
Raven Cliff Falls Trail to the Overlook.
Dismal Trail to the Naturaland Trust Trail
to the Gum Gap Trail.
Finish at the Raven Cliff Falls Parking Area.
(Link to directions at below)
to go down a hill
than up it
but the view is
much better at the top.
Henry Ward Beecher
This hike thrilled us. Challenged us. Amazed us.
We set off with directions Jeff printed from the Internet. He's gotten us lost enough times that I shouldn’t blindly follow him into the woods, but I do.
After viewing the Raven Cliff Falls waterfall from the observation deck, we both wanted to get as close to the falls as possible.
We were on a trail we knew nothing about, in a state we had never hiked, with a little less than five hours of daylight remaining.
We headed to the point where the trail began its decent. We looked up at the tree holding a sign that cautioned hikers about the trail. It said to allow 4 hours from this point. Make sure you have water, a map, food, and are wearing hiking boots. I think it might have said something about strenuous conditions, too.
We looked at each other and back at the sign. We had everything but the map, although we had taken photos of the map on our phone. What we didn’t have was our phone charger and we weren’t sure our phones would last the whole length of the hike.
We also didn’t have time for error. We had less than 5 hours to be off the trail and we weren’t 100% sure the trail looped back to where to where we parked.
A man heading towards the observation deck eyed us skeptically, and said, “Are you going down?” “We’re thinking about it.” “Did you have a map? Maybe you should walk over and look at the map.” He clearly didn't think we were up to the challenge. I wasn't so sure we were up to it, either.
We hiked down the mountain for some time. More than once I said to Jeff, “Maybe we should turn around.” Each time he replied, “Let’s just go a little further.”
These stones were covered in black ice and it was really hard to make our way across them without falling.
The trail was as beautiful as it was challenging. There were narrow footbridges, icy ridges, ladders, stairs, and 2000 feet of elevation gain. The solitude, cascades, spectacular views, and suspension bridge over the falls that made it all worth it!
Here are the detailed directions we followed for the hike. They were great and we would have gotten lost without them.
Jeff's after-hike beer pick: Reward Pale Ale from Boojum Brewing Company, Waynesville, North Carolina