From a distance, from the base, Caesar's Head is absolutely one of the most impressive Southern Appalachian peaks I have seen, and I've seen most of the major ones. It presents as extremely a rugged face that I've encountered, with lots of sheer granite walls and unbroken cliffs. While not very high, even by Appalachian standards, it does rise over 2000 feet from its base, being one of the major mountains along the Blue Ridge escarpment of South Carolina. This mountain is very imposing, and there is a state park on its summit (Caesar's Head State Park).
However, much of the mountain is in private hands and it has been, and
continues to be, extensively developed. Even on the peak, just inches from the park boundary, there are homes that line the amazing cliffs there. One of SC's major trails is now closed due to land changing hands and ending up under the ownership of a developer who is building homes in former wilderness and who cancelled right of way for hikers. All along the Blue Ridge escarpment, and everywhere one looks in the southern high country, private land is being developed as subdivisions, destroying what little remains of our eastern wilderness heritage. There seems to be no stopping this trend.
** (12-31-2004)The Rim of the Gap Trail that leads from Caesar's Head and intot the Mountain Bridge Wilderness down to Jones Gap State Park is now open again. The developer who bought the land parcel and had the route closed caught so much grief for his actions that he ended up allowing a reroute which was constructed by the SC Park Service with the help of the local Sierra Club. And so, what some claim is the most spectacular mountain trail in South Carolina is whole again and open to foot traffic. The parcel of land he bought out from under the park service is still, however, in private hands and is being developed.
This mountain is one of the trailheads into the Mountain Bridge Wilderness of SC, which effectively connects Jones Gap State Park to Caesar's Head State Park. This area provides about 50 miles of back country hiking and scrambling with access to some of the best and highest waterfalls in the eastern US.
There is also drive up access.
Directions to the peak are:
From Greenville SC take Highway 276 West for about 30 miles. The park is located at the top of the mountain. The NC border is about three miles away.
There are no fees to drive to the top of the mountain and use the picnic
area and to take advantage of the overlook on the summit. However, there is a $2 fee to use the Raven Cliff Falls Trail, one of the main trails accessible from the park.
The Rim of the Gap Trail is open again after being rerouted necessary because of the efforts of a filthy, stinking land developer.
When To Climb
Any time of year. Keep in mind that some of the trails in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness are very rugged and cross exposed rock and skirt cliff faces and go through slides and boulder fields. In icy condtions these areas can be very dangerous.
Back country camping along the trails and in the wilderness is $4.00 per night.
Check the weather for Greenville SC. Subtract five to ten degrees for summit temps, especially in winter.