Location: Northwest South Carolina
Trip Starts: US 276
Trip Ends: US 276
Total Distance: 8.6 miles
Hike Type: Roundtrip, Loop Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trails Used: Gum Gap, Naturaland Trust Trails
Trail Traffic: Moderate to Heavy
Trip Type: Day or Overnight Hike
More Information:

Caesars Head State Park
State Park Service
8155 Geer Highway, Cleveland, SC 29635
(843) 836-6115


There are over fifty miles of hiking trails in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness and Recreation Area and the Gum Gap Trail is an access point to the well known Foothills Trail that runs near Caesars Head State Park. This hike to Matthews Creek is a popular one that requires a permit if you plan to camp overnight and despite some challenging terrain on this route (including a 1600′ climb to the Caesars Head visitors center), there are outstanding views from the top of Raven Cliff Fall and from the lookout platform at the visitors center. There is also an exciting traverse of Matthews Creek via a cable system that tests your balance and dexterity, especially for those hauling a fully loaded backpack.

The hike to Matthews Creek is a roundtrip loop hike that can be done in either direction, but a counter-clockwise loop hike is profiled here. It begins at the trailhead off US 276, which is 1.1 miles north of the Visitor’s Center at Caesars Head State Park. The blue-blazed Gum Gap Trail shares the first 1.4 miles of the route with the red-blazed Raven Cliff Falls Trail. The path heads west through a forest of hardwoods, where there is very little elevation change over the first few miles. When the blue and red blazes split at the 1.4 mile mark, turn right and follow the blue-blazed Gum Gap Trail for another 1.5 miles until it meets the pink blazed Natureland Trust Trail.

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