On the way back from running camp in Brevard, NC, I decided to go 12 miles out of my way to get in a nice longer run. I'd heard about Caesars Head State Park & seen pictures, but hadn't really investigated the trail maps or anything. Never heard of anyone going there, so it was a mystery. Turns out, Caesars Head & the adjoining Jones Gap State Park have some of the best trails, waterfalls & overlooks around! Who knew?
I showed up at the Visitors Center & talked to the friendly rangers who seemed genuinely interested in my running. They warned me, "The trails are kinda gnarly," but they weren't that bad. I ran most of the trails on the east side and went back & forth over creeks and along the scenic Middle Saluda River. Saw Jones Gap Falls, which is about 50' tall and though outstanding, is supposed to be the least spectacular of the several waterfalls in the two adjoining parks. The 5 mile (one way) Jones Gap Trail was the least technical of the trails I ran, but it still had its share of rocks & roots. Seemed like an old logging road. The other trails were more narrow & technical.
I gave myself 2.5 hours Saturday because I wanted to go home after a week of being away from the family, but next time I go, I'll plan on getting out to most of the trails in the park which would be a solid 5-6 hours most likely. I can't think of any trails 2 hours from home I like more than what I saw here!
About 10 years ago, I started getting into photography & spent a good deal of time in the woods taking pictures. Waterfalls were my favorite subjects. It disappoints me that I can only carry a tiny, basic point & shoot camera when I run. Every time I'm out somewhere new, I want to spend an hour or two taking pictures. Of course, if the equipment were lighter & smaller, that would severely alter my running routine!