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Southeast Excursions

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Enjoy the views from Caesars Head

By Mark Alan Hudson
Correspondent

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    Caesars Head State Park, near Cleveland, S.C. has free admission; trail-access fee of $2 for adults; camping fees range from $8-$20 per night. Day-use hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Park info: 864-836-6115; www.southcarolinaparks.com; camping info: check the website or call 866-345-7275.



The iconic granite gneiss outcropping known as Caesars Head – in the same-name South Carolina state park – offers some stunning views year-round, but during cooler months it’s not unusual to be able to see Greenville, S.C., more than 30 miles away.

Distance

From Charlotte, it’s about 120 miles (2 1/4 hours), one way.

To see and do

Drive to the very top of this mountain peak, where a great welcome center awaits: Get an idea of the lay of the land from a 3-D representation of the park that pinpoints locations of interest.

A short walk will get you to the actual overlook, which provides a great view of the Blue Ridge escarpment: A sheer drop of 2,000 feet below you is the beginning of the Piedmont. Across the way, you can easily see Table Rock and keen eyes can pick out Greenville on clear days. It can be breezy here, so dress appropriately.

There are 34 miles of trails to test your legs. One of the most popular is the Raven Cliff Falls Trail, 4.4 miles round-trip. It is not an overwhelming walk and offers a stunning view of a 420-foot falls. There is a nice shelter suitable for resting or a picnic lunch.

Other trails offer longer walks and also 24 backcountry camping opportunities. You can find spots along trails as close as a quarter-mile and as far away as 11 miles. Reservations are highly recommended. The sites are primitive and have no water; some have fire rings.

The trials also offer many viewing opportunities for nature and scenery, including five additional waterfalls. Birders have ample opportunity to try to identify some of the 160-plus species that have been seen in the park’s 7,500 acres. Fall and spring hawk migrations from the overlook are very popular.

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