Standing on the edge of a 400 million-year-old rock looking 3,000 feet down a gorge, it’s easy to be swept away by the dramatic landscape and miss the featured attraction.
Such is the plight of many visitors to Caesars Head State Park. They head straight to the overlook and become so mesmerized by the stunning view of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, they inadvertently bypass the inconspicuous pathway at the back end of the outcropping.
A series of steep steps leads down to a narrow passageway between two massive rocks. From there, it’s just a short walk around the side of the giant gneiss to a perch offering a side view of the outcropping.
It has been said Caesars Head was so named because it looks like the profile of Julius Caesar. Seeing no resemblance to the great Roman statesman, others have theorized the moniker was bestowed on the rock in tribute to a hunting dog by the name of Caesar who accidentally fell from the granite cliff in pursuit of its prey.
And then there are those who believe Caesar is the crude adaptation of “sachem,” the Cherokee word for Indian chief.
Statesman, dog or Indian chief, it’s one cool rock worth a second look.