Bill Kimball - Coldspring Branch Loop

Greenville, South Carolina

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1 Review
3 out of 5
The playful waters of Coldspring branch offer a nice counterpoint to the overwhelming views of the rock dome called El Lieutenant, the key attraction of this half-day loop. The loop hike described here is a combination of two Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area trails. The Bill Kimball Trail is the more difficult and spectacular, while Coldspring Branch Trail is the more restful. Together, they create a dynamite, but difficult, loop trail. This hike is recommended only for experienced hikers with appropriate equipment, because parts of the Bill Kimball Trail are steep, rocky, and uneven. The star of this hike is a huge rock dome. Its resemblance to the famous El Capitan of Yosemite National Park has led trail-builders to dub it El Lieutenant. Coldspring Branch harbors now-rare native trout, while ravens, seldom encountered in South Carolina, hang out at El Lieutenant. Broad-winged hawks soar overhead. Of course, Coldspring Branch has plenty of rhododendron and mountain laurel, but the stream is also noted for its spring wildflowers. Trees along the way include northern red oak, scarlet oak, white oak, chestnut oak, white pine, Fraser magnolia, and hickory. Carolina hemlock grow on El Lieutenant.
Hiking South Carolina

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking South Carolina

by John Clark & John Dantzler (Falcon Guides)

The playful waters of Coldspring branch offer a nice counterpoint to the overwhelming views of the rock dome called El Lieutenant, the key attraction of this half-day loop. The loop hike described here is a combination of two Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area trails. The Bill Kimball Trail is the more difficult and spectacular, while Coldspring Branch Trail is the more restful. Together, they create a dynamite, but difficult, loop trail. This hike is recommended only for experienced hikers with appropriate equipment, because parts of the Bill Kimball Trail are steep, rocky, and uneven. The star of this hike is a huge rock dome.

Its resemblance to the famous El Capitan of Yosemite National Park has led trail-builders to dub it El Lieutenant. Coldspring Branch harbors now-rare native trout, while ravens, seldom encountered in South Carolina, hang out at El Lieutenant. Broad-winged hawks soar overhead. Of course, Coldspring Branch has plenty of rhododendron and mountain laurel, but the stream is also noted for its spring wildflowers. Trees along the way include northern red oak, scarlet oak, white oak, chestnut oak, white pine, Fraser magnolia, and hickory. Carolina hemlock grow on El Lieutenant.

©  John Clark & John Dantzler/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Greenville
Distance: 4.6
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: Half a day
Season: Spring, summer and autumn.
Trailhead Elevation: 3,000 feet
Top Elevation: 3,200 feet
Local Contacts: Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, Caesar's Head State Park, 8155 Geer Highway, Cleveland, SC 29635; (864) 836-6115.
Local Maps: Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area map, available at Caesar's Head State Park; Cleveland USGS quads
Driving Directions: Directions to Bill Kimball - Coldspring Branch Loop

Recent Trail Reviews

4/17/2010
0

This is a great half day loop trail. It gives you several different hiking experiences. This trail is great for dogs as it has many water sources that remain constant in the hot summer months. Starting on Bill Kimball is a downhill hike past large cliffs and down switchback. At the gap you hike along the Saluda River. There is a connector to the Jones Gap Trail as well. The Cold Springs trail is a moderate up hill hike that you will feel when you get to the end. There are not any water falls to view, but you also avoid the crowds. Pack a lunch and enjoy it while cooling your feet in the river.



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May 2018