South Carolina is, by its perfect location, a hiker’s delight. From the mountains of the upstate to the lowlands of the coast and coastal islands, South Carolina is rife with hiking trails for every experience level. Now that spring is here and all of nature is in bloom, I recommend you get out that backpack and lace up those boots because I have 14 hiking destinations that are sure to please!
1. Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve (Kershaw, SC)
Forty Acre Rock Preserve actually spans 2, 267 acres, however, the rock itself is really only 14 acres. There are many trails for hikers to enjoy and the biodiversity of the preserve is astounding.
2. Congaree National Park (Hopkins, SC)
Congaree National Park is home to the oldest bottomland hardwood forest in the U.S. There are over 25 miles of hiking trails and 2.4 miles of that are boardwalk. There are even Ranger guided tours on Saturdays year around!
3. Audobon's Francis-Beidler Forest (Harleyville, SC)
Teeming with wildlife, this forested wetland is not only good for hikers seeking a change from the mountain scenery, but also a paradise for wildlife and bird enthusiasts. There are miles and miles for the experienced hiker, but there is also a 1.75 mile boardwalk that is wheelchair accessible. In fact, all facilities here are wheelchair accessible and they also have them to borrow if necessary.
4. Foothills Trail (Oconee Co, SC)
This is a 75-mile trail that travels across the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Be prepared for all the wildlife that you may run into such as black bear, white-tailed deer, and bald eagles. This place is also home to some rare wildflowers so don't forget to take your camera!
5. Jones Gap (Marietta, SC)
Who knows how many miles of trails are here, but there are many and they cover 11,000 acres! Made for the adventurer. There is also an interactive ecology center, however, be aware that there are only a limited amount of parking spaces and you could run into delays getting into the park as well as admission fees.
6. Paris Mountain Sulphur Springs Trail (Greenville, SC)
Get your burn on with this one! The trail will take you up and down rocky slopes, through forests, and back again for a 3.5 mile loop. Don't forget to bring insect repellant with you!
7. Peachtree Rock Nature Preserve (Swansea, SC)
The trail comprises approximately 7.5 miles. On a scale of 1-10, it is ranked a 2-3 with some steep climbing here and there. In years, there have been some graffiti and littering. Please leave only your footprints. Oh, and don't forget insect spray in the warm months.
8. Raven Cliff Falls Trail (Greenville Co., SC)
Ready for a workout? If so, this trail was made for you! It is 8.8 miles and rates a 7 out of 10 on the difficulty scale, but, oh, the sites you will see complete with a waterfall and a walk over a suspension bridge (not for the faint of heart).
9. Sassafras Mountain Trail (Sassafras Mountain, SC)
It is 9.9 miles of amazing vistas including the French Broad River Valley. This is a hike for the experienced hiker. Note, you will need two cars for this one; one at each end of the trail as this is a one-way hike.
10. Sesquicentennial State Park (Columbia, SC)
1,400 acres of breathtaking nature in the heart of Columbia, SC, this park offers so much including the much needed getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. Family-friendly and pet-friendly with a load of amenities. Note that there is an admission fee.
11. Table Rock State Park (Pickens, SC)
Some say this hike is strenuous and some say that it is moderate. My guess is it depends on your physical ability. I would wear some really good shoes either way and take a bottle or two of water. This hike is 6.8 miles and a section cuts through a field of boulders! The view at the top is one amazing, jaw-dropping sight and well worth every step.
12. Poinsett State Park (Wedgefield, SC)
Also known as the "Mountains of the Midlands", there are plenty of nature trails and amazing sights to see from beginning to end. Definitely family friendly hikes and pet friendly. The best part besides all the beauty that will be surrounding you? It's free!
13. Bull Island (Awendaw, SC)
Wanting something different? I've got just the hike for you! You will have to do a little planning and take a ferry to get to this island, but you won't ever regret it. Left mostly to its own devices, this island offers stunning sights. Hikers will come across the 1.5 mile Boneyard Beach where Red Cedars and Live Oaks have become skeletons of their former selves.
14. Cedar Falls Park (Fountain Inn, SC)
A nice sized park with plenty of land to cover, Cedar Falls is just in the beginning of its hiking age. They have one trail, which is paved and rated super easy, open now that passes by Cedar Falls. Many trails will be marked in the future as well as other amenities added to the park.
Don’t you want to get out those hiking shoes now? I know I do! For me, there is nothing better than getting in the middle of nature. My stress goes way down while my happiness reaches beyond the skies. The great part of it is South Carolina has every level of nature enthusiast covered from easy to difficult trails.
P.S. With all the State Parks and hidden trails, I’m sure I have missed someone’s favorite so I encourage you to share your favorite in the comments below. Happy Hiking!