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.
When someone mentions Jones Gap, you may think they're referring to a low point on some sort of ridge... just like you would imagine with any other Gap. Jones Gap is actually the name of a deep depression, the Saluda River valley, that is located in the extreme northern tier of Greenville County, South Carolina. The Mountain Bridge Wilderness provides many hiking opportunities throughout the Jones Gap area. On this particular hike, you will ascend out of Jones Gap past seasonal views for a loop that circles along the south rim of the gap. This hike occurred on Saturday, February 13, 2016. My plan was to hike a short stretch of the Jones Gap Trail, and then to hike the Pinnacle Pass Loop by hiking the Pinnacle Pass Trail and the eastern half of the Rim of the Gap Trail.
Palmetto Trail: Oconee Station to Oconee State Park, Tamassee Knob Trail, Station Cove Falls, and Oconee Station Nature Trail, Walhalla, South Carolina
The Palmetto Trail is South Carolina's master trail, and when finished, it will extend across the entire state from the mountains to the coast. The trail starts off with a bang, and it's very first section is packed with interesting features, from a 60-foot waterfall to a historic site at Oconee Station to a breathtaking view from Tamassee Knob. Go in the winter, and you'll be treated to great views throughout the entire hike. This hike occurred on Saturday, December 19th, 2015. My plan was to first hike the Oconee Station Nature Trail, and then hike the Palmetto Trail's "Oconee Passage" from Oconee Station to Oconee State Park. Along the way, I would stop at Station Cove Falls. After reaching Oconee State Park, I would hike the Tamassee Knob Trail along a narrow ridge extending to a small summit with a fantastic vista.
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Year 1: 540.0 Miles
Year 2: 552.3 Miles
Year 3: 518.4 Miles
Year 4: 482.4 Miles
Year 5: 8.2 Miles