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Make the most of half a day at Caesars Head and DuPont’s High Falls

Weekends are busy, and as much as I’d prefer a long hike, sometimes I just can’t get us out of the house until after lunch.

That’s OK!

Recently, we left Greenville around 1:30 p.m. to head up S.C. Highway 276 toward Brevard, North Carolina, and we still packed our day full of mountain fun.

Leaving Greenville, Wildcat Wayside Falls is always a possibility, and it’s just off the side of the road, no hiking required. It’s close enough that we’ve even gone after school and hit Sidewall Pizza in Travelers Rest for dinner on the way home. On our most recent trip, though, we bypassed Wildcat because the boiled peanut truck was there, and my daughter is severely allergic.

Instead, we stopped to stretch our legs at Caesars Head State Park. The kids got a kick out of their first trip down to the Devil’s Kitchen. One of my kids was relieved there wasn’t “a guy and a stove down there.” I found it quite a squeeze. If I want to go back, I need to lay off the cupcakes.

The trail continues along the ridge until you see the profile of the “head,” and we debated which parts of the rock formations were noses or eyes.

Next, we went up to Brevard, and I parked by the Visitors Center for some hiking information for the future. We stopped in next door for ice cream and coffee, and we browsed the adjacent shops, finding the toys located in the far corner.

On the way back to Greenville, in the town of Cedar Mountain, an easy to waterfall to see is Conastee Falls, located in a small park of the same name. It’s not a hike – just a walk from the parking lot. A wooden ramp leads directed to an overlook of the twin falls. The site is worth a visit because it’s so easily accessible, but I do find the overlook oddly placed. You have a clear view of one of the falls, but an awkward view of the second cascade.

Not far down the road, travelers will see signs for DuPont State Recreational Forest. Previously when I wrote about DuPont, I described a hike with three waterfalls: Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls. That’s a three-mile hike, and while it’s only moderately strenuous, late afternoon just isn’t a great time to start a hike that long.

Since time didn’t allow for a hike that long, we drove to the Visitors’ Center by the High Falls loop trailhead. The whole loop is 1.2 miles, but we walked to the falls and turned back, which cuts out part of the loop.

Along the way, however, we added a side excursion to the Covered Bridge, which added .4 miles both ways. The Covered Bridge is a cool, rustic structure at the top of the waterfall.

This itinerary worked well for us because we were presentable in downtown Brevard, and by the time we’d gotten sweaty, we were ready to head back to Greenville.

If you choose to follow in our footsteps for your own day trip, and find you have extra time, an easy add-on would be Hooker Falls. From the Hooker Falls parking lot, the falls are essentially right there.