Caesars Head State Park/Mountain Bridge Wilderness: Naturaland Trust Loop, Cleveland, South Carolina
The west half of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness is encompassed by Caesars Head State Park, named for a prominent rock outcrop with striking views of the South Carolina Upstate. One of the area's main highlights is Raven Cliff Falls, a majestic waterfall on Matthews Creek that is cited to be 420 feet high. Among the wilderness's most scenic trails, the Naturaland Trust Trail provides direct access into the Matthew Creek gorge, passing views of Raven Cliff Falls after crossing an elegant suspension bridge at the waterfall's top. Several other trails in the park can be used to create the 12-mile loop Naturaland Trust Loop, which is not only among South Carolina's top hikes but also a very strenuous one. An added bonus for hiking the full loop, however, is optional access to two more gorgeous waterfalls on the property of Asbury Hills Camp: Moonshine Falls and Confusion Falls. This hike occurred on Saturday, January 20th, 2018. My plan was to hike the Naturaland Trust Loop clockwise from the Raven Cliff Falls parking area, although I came away with the feeling that hiking the loop counter-clockwise is better.
Jones Gap State Park/Mountain Bridge Wilderness: Tom Miller Trail and Jones Gap Trail to Jones Gap Falls and Coldspring Branch Trail, Pumpkintown, South Carolina
While I do most of my far away hiking in North Carolina, there are a few places in South Carolina that stand apart from the rest, and are equally beautiful to North Carolina. The Mountain Bridge Wilderness area in Upstate South Carolina has around 50 miles of rugged and remote hiking trails. They pass by rivers and streams, waterfalls and cascades, and even some fantastic views. The Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area consists of two state parks: Caesars Head State Park and Jones Gap State Park. I am not entirely sure, but I think that the two are separated by US 276. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 29th, 2014. My plan was to start at the Raven Cliff Falls Access parking lot on US 276, take the Tom Miller Trail into Jones Gap, from there follow the Jones Gap Trail to Jones Gap Falls, and then backtrack to the Coldspring Branch Trail, taking it up the mountain back to the parking lot.
Mark Oleg Ozboyd
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