My husband and I are active people who like to take our dog on adventures with us.
Greenville, South Carolina, has always been a place that I have been interested in traveling to. It seems like this town is advertised everywhere I go: billboards, magazines, social media, and even people. If you meet anyone in the South that has been to Greenville and ask them about it, their response is always, “I LOVE Greenville!”
I decided it was finally the time to stop wondering when I would go and just go. I did my research, and I found that there was a state park 50 minutes away from Greenville.
This article will include a detailed dog-friendly itinerary of my day trip, my experience, and what you need to know before you make the trip yourself.
Leave for Caesar’s Head State Park.
Arrive at Caesar’s Head State Park.
Caesar's Head Overlook.
Begin hike on Frank Coggins Trail.
Begin hike to Raven Cliff Falls Overlook and have lunch.
Drive to Greenville.
Explore Greenville and Falls Park on the Reedy.
Dinner at Smoke on the Water.
Caesar’s Head State Park
Get to the state park as early as you can. Parking is limited, and when you’re driving from afar, turning back to go home just isn’t an option.
There are two parking lots that I know of in this state park. The first parking lot that you will approach has the Visitor’s Center and the Caesar's Head Overlook included in it. If you plan on just hiking through Frank Coggins Trail, this spot will be the one for you.
If you would prefer to spend your entire hiking experience around Raven Cliff Falls, there is another parking lot that will be on your right about a mile past the first one. This parking lot will be directly across from the trail for the falls.
There are also parking tags that you must put in your car and pay a few dollars for. These payments are done by the honor system. The parking tag we picked up was found at the beginning of Frank Coggin’s trail.
Caesar's Head Overlook
This spot will give you a view of the following:
- Campbell Mountain
- Paris Mountain State Park
- Glassy Mountain
- Stool Mountain
- Pinnacle Mountain
- Raven Cliff Mountain
- Table Rock Reservoir
The view was so pretty even though it was a bit hazy that day. I would love to go back another time when the visibility is much clearer.
Frank Coggins Trail
If you are expecting a beautiful, scenic hike up a mountain, this trail is not the one for you. I was disappointed in that aspect as that is what I was expecting. Personally, I would recommend skipping this particular hike.
That said, this trail is a very easy 2.1-mile hike, and it was even a little fun! It's all woods, and you will cross some creeks, walk by a small waterfall, and cross a bridge at the top of a larger waterfall. You will have to hop on some rocks and climb over and under some trees in some areas to keep moving along. It was also muddy in some areas, but that shouldn't bother you if you are an avid hiker.
Raven Cliff Falls
My husband and I took the short cut to see this waterfall by just hiking to the Raven Cliff Falls Overlook. Something important to know is that this trail isn't called Raven Cliff Falls Trail; pay close attention to what is listed on the trail sign, consult your park map, or ask a park ranger for assistance in locating this trail.
This trail is a 2.1-mile hike, and the scenery was exactly what I was looking for. You get a healthy mixture of woods and a view of the mountains through the trees. The way the lighting hit the mountains all day gave off a beautiful bluish tint. I did do this hike in March, though, so this view may be different when there are leaves on the trees.
An active person such as myself would consider this hike to be moderate, but the soreness I felt after we were done could indicate a higher level. We were walking at a decent pace the whole time, and we even took a lunch break on the Raven Cliff Falls Overlook deck. Our muscles were so sore for four days later; we could barely walk!
I can see why people talk so highly of this town. I have never seen a town so alive. People were smiling, laughing, and playing musical instruments almost everywhere you went.
Falls Park on the Reedy
It was such a beautiful day to walk around this park. I think the most amazing part was walking across the Liberty Bridge, which allowed us to see the Reedy Falls from high up.
The structure of this bridge is very similar to the glacier walks that parts of Canada have to offer. The Liberty Bridge is suspended in the air, and it even curves, allowing you to see the Falls at different angles. There are also benches and bench swings for you to relax and soak in the view.
Smoke On The Water
This popular restaurant has quality food for a good price, and their cornbread is to die for! For two beers, one soda, one appetizer, and two entrées, our bill came out to $52.
They don't do reservations, but calling in the day before to be put on a list helps. It will reduce your wait time by more than half of the time of those who are not on the list.
Other Places You Can Visit in Downtown Greenville
- Yee Haw Brewery
- Fire Forge Brewery
- Up on the Roof
- Blind Horse Saloon
- Trappe Door
- Gather GVL
- Nose Dive
- Spill the Beans coffee shop
What Would I Do Differently?
Caesar's Head State Park
If I had to do it all over again, I would skip the Frank Coggins trail. I enjoyed my time on this trail, but I think I would have enjoyed my time more around the trails surrounding Raven Cliff Falls.
I also would make sure to not park at the Visitor's Center parking and instead park at the lot near the trail that would take me to the Falls. This would have saved us a lot of time and energy.
Next time I go to Greenville, I would like to stay the night. Although I enjoyed my time there, having our dog with us really held us back. I would have loved to have gone into all of the shops on the River Walk and checked out the bars that some of our friends recommended we go to.
© 2021 Jackie Zelko
FlourishAnyway from USA on March 11, 2021:
I grew up in the South Carolina upstate. It sounds like you had a great time in Greenville and the park. I'd like to go back to the area one day.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2021:
Thanks for all your tips on how best to spend time in that area. I enjoyed the photos as well as your descriptions.