Calling all nature lovers and adventure seekers! Discover the best hikes in South Carolina, a state brimming with diverse natural beauty and scenic trails. From the awe-inspiring waterfalls of Raven Cliff Falls and the breathtaking views at Table Rock State Park to the serene marshes of Sewee Shell Ring Interpretive Trail, there’s something for every outdoor enthusiast. Whether you seek challenging mountain routes or easy urban walks, South Carolina offers an array of hiking experiences. Lace-up your boots and embark on unforgettable adventures amid the Palmetto State’s stunning landscapes.
Best Hikes in South Carolina
Check out the best places to hike in South Carolina, where picturesque outlooks and adventure await. Table Rock Trail offers a challenging 6.9-mile out-and-back route, rewarding hikers with extraordinary views at the summit. Raven Cliff Falls Trail, the king of South Carolina waterfalls, impresses with a 420-foot cascade and captivating ravens soaring above the cliffs. For a refreshing experience, Rainbow Falls Trail leads to a majestic 100-foot waterfall amidst lush greenery. Whether you seek challenging terrains or serene landscapes, these trails will leave you in awe of South Carolina’s impressive wilderness.
1. Table Rock Trail
Table Rock Mountain Trail, South Carolina, USA
Location: Pickens Mileage: 6.9-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: This hiking area is popular, so expect to encounter fellow hikers. The trail remains open year-round. Dogs are permitted but must be leashed at all times. Access the parking lot for this hike at the nature center located on West Gate Road within Table Rock State Park. Be vigilant for bears along the trail.
Get ready to experience the
Table Rock Trail
in Table Rock State Park near Pickens, South Carolina. This 6.9-mile out-and-back trail is no walk in the park - it's considered quite challenging, taking around four and half hours on average to complete. Be prepared for uneven rock stairs, boulders, and logs as you make your way up to the summit, but the view from the top is absolutely stunning. Don't forget to take a breather at Carrick Creek Falls and the Governor's Rock overlook along the trail.
2. Raven Cliff Falls Trail
Raven Cliff Falls Trail, South Carolina 29635, USA
Location: Cleveland Mileage: 3.8-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: Expect to encounter fellow hikers in this popular hiking area. The trail offers year-round access and stunning beauty at any time. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Please note that Caesars Head State Park has an entrance fee. The trail at Caesars Head State Park
that leads to Raven Cliff Falls is a must-see for anyone visiting South Carolina. This magnificent waterfall is estimated to be around 420 feet tall and is near the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Matthews Creek flows down from Raven Cliff Mountain and drops 2,000 feet to Piedmont below. Because of this geological feature, the area is home to many waterfalls, but Raven Cliff Falls is one of the most picturesque and popular. The falls were named after the ravens that inhabit the high cliffs surrounding the falls. In fact, over 150 species of ravens have been spotted in this region.
3. Rainbow Falls Trail
Rainbow Falls, Jones Gap Rd, Marietta, SC 29661, USA
Location: Cleveland Mileage: 4.4-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: Prepare to encounter lots of fellow hikers, runners, and walkers. Dogs are permitted but must be kept on a leash. Jones Gap State Park requires reservations made 48 hours in advance and charges an entry fee.
We wanted to share a great hiking trail with you -
Rainbow Falls Trail
near Cleveland, South Carolina. It's an out-and-back trail that covers 4.4 miles, and it's considered moderately challenging, taking about two and a half hours to complete. The route starts off easy enough but quickly becomes steep, with many stairs to climb. The elevation gain is quite significant, but the views of the falls are breathtaking and make the effort well worth it. Just be aware that some parts of the terrain can be tricky, particularly the rocky areas where you should watch your footing.
Best Short & Easy Hikes in South Carolina
Consider these short and easy hikes for a delightful outdoor adventure. The Boardwalk Loop Trail offers a stroll through wetlands and captivating wildlife. Mountain Lake via Sulphur Springs Trail treats hikers to a lake nestled in the mountains, perfect for a quick nature getaway. For a historical twist, Oconee Station and Station Cove Falls Trail features a fascinating old trading post and leads to a picturesque waterfall. These trails are perfect for beginners and families, providing a taste of South Carolina’s natural wonders without breaking a sweat.
4. Boardwalk Loop Trail
Boardwalk Loop Trail, 100 National Park Rd, Hopkins, SC 29061, USA
Location: Gadsden Mileage: 2.3-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Get ready to encounter fellow birding enthusiasts, campers, and walkers in this popular area. The trail remains open throughout the year. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Additionally, this trail is likely accessible to visitors using wheelchairs, mobility equipment, or strollers.
There is a
2.3-mile loop trail
near Gadsden, South Carolina, that is highly recommended for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts. The route is easy and takes around 40 minutes, making it perfect for a leisurely afternoon walk. The trail is raised nearly six feet above the forest floor and winds through a diverse old-growth forest on an elevated boardwalk. Walking among the tall trees and hearing the sound of woodpeckers hammering away above is a magical experience. The trail also passes by Weston Lake, an old channel of the Congaree River, offering a beautiful spot to take in the scenery and snap some photos.
5. Mountain Lake via Sulphur Springs Trail
Mountain Lake, South Carolina 29609, USA
Location: Greenville Mileage: 1.1-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Prepare to encounter fellow hikers and walkers in this highly popular area. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed at all times. Please note that Paris Mountain State Park charges an entry fee, which grants access to the designated swimming area when it is open.
Go on a hike along the
Mountain Lake via Sulphur Springs Trail
near Greenville - it's an incredibly tranquil and easy trek along a picturesque stream. The trail is an out-and-back route that's around one mile and culminates in a breathtaking waterfall. As you make your way along the path, you will be surrounded by rocks, flowers, and lush greenery, and before make you ascend, be sure to take in the stunning view of the lake.
6. Oconee Station and Station Cove Falls Trail
Station Cove Falls Trailhead, State Rd S-37-95, Walhalla, SC 29691, USA
Location: Walhalla Mileage: 1.6-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Expect to come across fellow birding enthusiasts, hikers, and walkers in this highly frequented area. The optimal times to explore this trail are from March to May. Dogs are allowed and may be off-leash in certain sections.
Explore the Oconee Station and Station Cove Falls Trail in Oconee State Park. It's a
1.6-mile out-and-back trail
near Walhalla and is generally considered an easy route, taking an average of 34 minutes to complete. The route leads through a swamp and a forested area that is absolutely magnificent to see during the spring and fall. And the highlight of the trail is undoubtedly the falls themselves, which allow close-up access to the 80 ft waterfall that forms from headwaters atop Station Mountain. It's an amazing sight and definitely worth the trip!
Hardest Hikes in South Carolina
Get ready to conquer South Carolina’s most demanding trails that will test your endurance and spirit for adventure. The Table Rock to Sassafras Viewpoint Loop, Sassafras Mountain Trail to Table Rock Viewpoint, and Pinnacle Pass Trail are not for the faint of heart. These challenging hikes offer a perfect blend of rugged terrains, steep ascents, and exhilarating descents, rewarding you with unparalleled vistas and a sense of accomplishment.
7. Table Rock to Sassafras Viewpoint Loop
Table Rock, South Carolina 29671, USA
Location: Pickens Mileage: 19.6-mile loop trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: This trail is well-known for backpacking, camping, and hiking, but you can still find moments of tranquility during quieter periods of the day. It remains open throughout the year, and dogs are permitted but must be kept on a leash.
Take on the challenging
Table Rock to Sassafras Viewpoint Loop
in Table Rock State Park near Pickens, South Carolina. This 19.6-mile trail is popular for backpacking, camping, hiking, and trail running. Enjoy outstanding views along the way, with the first three miles being the toughest. The ascent to Sassafras offers opportunities for running, while the way back treats you to smooth, downhill stretches. You'll encounter a few fellow hikers, but the trail is clear enough for uninterrupted runs and hikes.
8. Sassafras Mountain Trail to Table Rock Viewpoint
Sassafras Mountain Road, Sassafras Mountain Rd, South Carolina, USA
Location: Sunset Mileage: 17.4-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: This trail is ideal for backpacking and hiking, providing a sense of seclusion with minimal encounters with other people. It offers year-round access and captivating beauty regardless of the season. Dogs are allowed and may be off-leash in certain designated areas.
Sassafras Mountain Trail to Table Rock Viewpoint
in Table Rock State Park near Sunset, South Carolina, is a 17.4-mile out-and-back trail known for its rigorous terrain and takes an average of 10 hours to complete. It's a fantastic choice for backpacking and hiking enthusiasts. Prepare yourself for stunning views, refreshing air, and well-maintained trails throughout your journey. Be ready to summon your stamina as you encounter some inclines along the way. Trust us, the effort is absolutely worth it - the panoramic views at the Table Rock Viewpoint will leave you in awe.
9. Pinnacle Pass Trail
Caesars Head State Park Visitor Center, 8155 Geer Hwy, Cleveland, SC 29635, USA
Location: Cleveland Mileage: 16.9-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: This trail is well-liked among birding, hiking, and running enthusiasts. It remains open year-round, and dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Please note that Caesars Head State Park charges an entrance fee.
Embark on the
Pinnacle Pass Trail
in Caesars Head State Park near Cleveland, South Carolina. This 16.9 trail is known for its challenging nature and takes an average of nine and a half hours to complete. The journey is rewarded with a gorgeous view that makes the hike up the pass worthwhile. While tackling this trail, keep a close watch on the trail markers to stay on the right path.
Best Waterfront Hikes in South Carolina
South Carolina is home to some of the most picturesque waterfront hikes in the South. Some of the most popular trails are Raven Rock Loop Trail, Weston Lake Loop Trail, and Mountain Creek Trail. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, these trails offer something for everyone. So, grab your gear and explore the best waterfront hikes that South Carolina offers.
10. Raven Rock Loop Trail
Keowee Toxaway State Park, 108 Residence Dr, Sunset, SC 29685, USA
Location: Sunset Mileage: 4.2-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: Anticipate coming across fellow birding enthusiasts, campers, and fishing enthusiasts in this popular area. The optimal times to visit this trail are from April to October. Dogs are allowed and may be off-leash in certain designated areas.
If you're looking for a quick getaway hike, the
Raven Rock Loop Trail
is a great option. You'll get to see a natural bridge with rocky outcrops, as well as a beautiful stream crossing. The trail starts out easy enough, and you'll cross Poe Creek over a natural granite bridge. From there, the next section is uphill through a boulder field, but you'll be rewarded with beautiful views when you top out and drop into a steep valley. The climb out to the top of the ridge is a bit challenging, but once you're up there, you'll enjoy the ridge walk until you start your descent to Lake Keowee. There's a fantastic campsite on the peninsula, but you'll need to reserve it ahead of time at the ranger station. The way back is a bit tougher, with plenty of uphill and steep downhill, but you'll also get to experience a nice river crossing. The last leg of the hike is uphill and ends at the old church and the parking lot.
11. Weston Lake Loop Trail
Weston Lake Loop, South Carolina, USA
Location: Gadsden Mileage: 4.7-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: This area is loved for birding, hiking, and running. Dogs are allowed on the trail, but keep them leashed.
We highly recommend checking out the
Weston Lake Loop Trail
in Congaree National Park for waterfront views. The trail starts with a beautiful elevated boardwalk that takes you through a stunning old-growth forest. Eventually, you'll leave the boardwalk and continue on the Weston Lake Trail, where you'll pass by Weston Lake and Cedar Creek. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for various types of wildlife that you may encounter along the way. Plus, there are plenty of benches throughout the trail where you can take a break, enjoy a snack, and soak in the breathtaking scenery.
12. Mountain Creek Trail
Mountain Creek, South Carolina, USA
Location: Taylors Mileage: 2.6-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Anticipate encountering fellow birders, hikers, and mountain bikers. The trail is most enjoyable from March to November. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash. Please be aware that Paris Mountain State Park charges an entry fee, which includes access to the designated swimming area when it is open. This trail in Paris Mountain State Park
is relatively easy to navigate. It features a typical forest trail with lush trees along the way and a small stream at parts. Picnic shelters and restrooms are available at both ends, which is convenient. However, the trail does have some rocky and narrow areas, making it unsuitable for motorized wheelchairs. You may encounter mountain bikers sharing the path with you. So, be prepared to share the trail and enjoy a vibrant and active atmosphere as you explore the park. Nevertheless, it is easy enough for kids and dogs on a leash to enjoy.
Best Winter Hikes in South Carolina
Embrace the charm of South Carolina’s best winter hikes, where the colder months bring unique delights to the trails. The Winding Stairs Trail, Sewee Shell Ring Interpretive Trail, and Cherokee Path Trail offer enchanting experiences amidst the winter landscape. Don’t miss the chance to hit the trails during the cooler months – it’s the perfect time to explore the Palmetto State’s beauty.
13. Winding Stairs Trail
Winding Stairs Trail, South Carolina 29686, USA
Location: Mountain Rest Mileage: 6.9-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: This trail is well-liked among hikers, runners, and walkers, yet you can still relish moments of solitude during quieter periods of the day. The optimal times to visit this trail are from April to September.
Winding Stairs Trail
in Sumter National Forest, near Mountain Rest, South Carolina. It's a 6.9-mile out-and-back trail that's generally considered moderately challenging. It's an easy hike with a gradual descent and ascent, perfect for all skill levels. The route has a beautiful canopy of trees half of the way, providing some much-needed shade on a hot day. There are also several small creek crossings which is a definite plus. This is definitely one of those trails you could do every day!
14. Sewee Shell Ring Interpretive Trail Location: Awendaw Mileage: 1.0-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This trail is ideal for birding, hiking, and running, offering a low likelihood of encountering many other people during your exploration. The prime times to visit this trail are from March to October. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash.
Set out on a delightful adventure along the
Sewee Shell Ring Interpretive Trail
in Francis Marion National Forest near Awendaw. This mile loop trail offers a pleasant and leisurely experience. With its easy terrain, it typically takes around 18 minutes to complete. As you stroll along the route, you'll be treated to expansive views of the marsh. This trail is also pet-friendly, making it a fantastic outing for furry companions as well.
15. Cherokee Path Trail
Ninety Six, SC 29666, USA
Location: Ninety Six Mileage: 2.8-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This trail is perfect for hiking and remains open throughout the year.
Discover the scenic
Cherokee Path Trail
near Ninety Six, South Carolina. This 2.8-mile out-and-back trail offers enjoyable hiking with lake views, easy terrain, and a well-marked path. It's a pleasant route suitable for all skill levels.
Besides being an excellent hike, it also holds historical importance as it follows the remnants of the old Cherokee path that once ran from the South Carolina Coast through Ninety Six. As you explore this wooded trail, you'll be able to connect to the Star Fort Pond witnessing the natural beauty and rich history of the Ninety Six area.
Best Hikes Near Columbia
Ready to embark on some awesome hiking adventures near Columbia, South Carolina? You’re in for a treat! Check out the best Hikes near Columbia and experience the beauty of Harbison State Forest’s Firebreak Trail or soak in the local history along the Columbia Canal Path. These trails are perfect for all skill levels, and you’ll be surrounded by lush nature.
16. Firebreak Trail
Firebreak Trail, Columbia, SC 29212, USA
Location: Columbia Mileage: 4.7-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Prepare to come across fellow hikers, mountain bikers, and runners. The trail remains open year-round, and dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.
If you're looking for a fun and easy trail to explore near Columbia, South Carolina,
in Harbison State Forest is a great choice. This 4.7-mile loop trail is popular among hikers, mountain bikers, and runners and takes about one and a half to two hours to complete. You'll love the well-maintained and groomed trail, home to plenty of plants and wildlife. Despite its popularity, the hike is not very busy, and trail markers are at every intersection to help guide you along the way.
17. Three Rivers Greenway Trail
Three Rivers Greenway, Columbia, SC, USA
Location: Columbia Mileage: 5.0-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This trail is well-regarded for birding, fishing, and road biking, yet you can still savor moments of tranquility during quieter periods of the day. Dogs are permitted but must be kept on a leash. Benches are conveniently provided along the trail.
An enjoyable outdoor adventure near Columbia is the
Three Rivers Greenway Trail
. This 5.0-mile out-and-back trail is generally considered an easy route. What makes this trail particularly interesting is its location at the confluence of three rivers: the Broad, Congaree, and Saluda. As you travel along this paved, multi-use, public greenway, you'll be treated to views of the forested areas and scenic river overlooks. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, including the Chimney Swifts that nest under the bridges. Whether you're looking to get some exercise or simply enjoy the natural beauty of the area, the Three Rivers Greenway Trail is a fantastic choice.
18. Columbia Canal Path
Riverfront Park, 1115 Gist St, Columbia, SC 29201, USA
Location: Columbia Mileage: 5.2-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This trail remains open throughout the year, offering scenic beauty at any time. Dogs are allowed and may be off-leash in certain areas. As shade is limited, it is advisable to bring water and sunscreen.
Take a look at this
in Columbia, South Carolina. It's generally considered an easy route, and takes around an hour and a half to complete. This urban trail follows a levy between the canal and the river and offers a paved path with historical buildings on both ends. And keep an eye out for signs explaining the area's history and nature as you walk too.
Have you enjoyed any of these trails? Think they are some of the best hiking trails in South Carolina? Which do you think are the best places for hiking in South Carolina? Let us know your top picks – we’d love to hear from you!
Whether you’re looking for a difficult hike in the upstate or on the hunt for trails for beginners in the lowcountry, this hub has everything you’ll need , and be sure to Try AllTrails+ For Free!
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More to Explore
The Best Hikes In South Carolina
Does South Carolina have good hiking trails?
South Carolina's best hiking trails include:
What are the best months to hike in South Carolina?
Winter is an ideal time to hit the trails in South Carolina. With mild temperatures and little chance of snow or freezing conditions, it's the perfect opportunity to embrace a winter hiking adventure in the Palmetto State. Don't miss out on the chance to explore the scenic beauty of South Carolina's trails during the cooler months.
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