The wife and I drive near Caesars Head all the time on our way to Jones Gap State Park, Dupont State Forest, and Table Rock State Park. US Highway 276 runs right over the crest of the mountain on the way to Brevard, NC, but we’ve never actually hiked there. Last weekend, we decided to finally see what it’s all about.
Caesars Head State Park is a series of peaks and valleys near the North/South Carolina border. The area is part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area and trails link all of the nearby attractions:
The name Mountain Bridge refers to the two watersheds that are within the boundries of this area, The Table Rock watershed and the Poinsett watershed. This is the most extensive trail system in South Carolina. Most of the trails are well marked and easy to follow. They trails range from easy creek hikes to strenuous loop hikes that can take all day. What makes this a fun destination is that most anyone of any hiking skill level can enjoy this area.
On any weekend with good weather, many people from all walks of life congregate at the trailhead. Most of the swimming holes for the fist mile of the Foothills Trail are occupied by “regular” people from the Greenville South Carolina area. Next to the North Carolina border, this area has elevations that range from 1400 feet along Oil Camp Creek to 3260 feet at Cesar’s Head State Park. Just over the border of North Carolina, a few short miles away, are 5000 foot peaks. Because of the sudden elevation change in just a few short miles, this area is the home to an stunning variety of waterfalls. The elevation change allows for a wonderful variety of plant life, more than 400 species in all. There are some rare varieties as well, some only found in this area.
We spent a few minutes at the Caesar’s Head overlook and then drove a mile to the trailhead for Raven Cliff Falls. There’s a 2.2 mile hike that runs along the crest of the mountain to the viewing area across the gorge from the falls. The cascade is 420 feet high, making Raven Cliff Falls the highest waterfall in South Carolina.
There’s a bridge over the falls. If you look closely at the second-to-last picture, you’ll see a hiker with his/her dog standing on the bridge looking down the falls—providing us with some valuable scale.