on a region.
packs some amazingly diverse terrain into a relatively small region.
The Palmetto State forms a triangular area from a sliver of the Appalachian Mountains to the sandy,
sub-tropical coastal plain. In between lies a band of sandhills,
leftover from a time eons ago when the ocean reached some 100 miles
further inland than it does today.
geographers, and hikers find enjoyable common ground in our
mountains-to-the-sea topography, yet all too often,
outdoor lovers seem to bypass South Carolina in favor of popular National Parks
in North Carolina or Florida. Aficionados of coastal
exploration or waterfall discovery often overlook the Palmetto
State where most tourists visit the beaches, play golf, go shopping, and
enjoy the fine restaurants along the coast. Of course, an upside
of this is that sometimes it makes for secluded hiking in spectacular wetlands,
such as the ACE Basin, or
colorful mountain gorges in Oconee, Greenville, or Pickens counties.
this guide you will find everything from short, level nature trails to long, multi-day
backpacking treks, where you can explore the hidden
nooks and crannies of South Carolina’s wild places. Surprisingly, some
of the best trails are just minutes from major population centers such as
Charleston or Greenville. An example is the Anne Springs Close Greenway,
which provides a
fantastic woodland buffer between the bustling metropolis of
Charlotte, NC and the growing city of Rock Hill, SC. Historic hiking
trails wend their way through downtown Columbia as well as through the remote
backcountry of the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River Corridor.
Wherever you choose
to explore, remember to follow some simple guidelines:
footwear can help keep you and your feet comfortable. In the
prepared for long stretches of sitting water. Wear waterproof boots
synthetic socks. In the Upstate,
rugged, rocky trails require hiking boots or shoes with firm soles.
gear includes more than an umbrella. Hiking outfitters sell a variety
of jackets, ponchos, and pants to keep you dry when the weather turns
wet and modern synthetics have all but replaced cotton as the outdoor
clothing of choice.
Humidity and hot summer days offer their own hazards including heat
exhaustion and sunburn. Mosquitoes and other flying insects can be a
terrible nuisance in the summertime, which makes insect repellant a
handy preventative tool. In the Lowcountry, insect repellant is a must
(preferably some with
“deet”), since mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects
thrive year-round in warm and humid conditions.
snakes in South Carolina include the eastern diamondback rattlesnake,
the cottonmouth, and the copperhead, which you may eventually encounter if you spend
enough time outside. Avoiding them is usually simple enough: Just give
the snake a wide berth. Remember that there are at least four-dozen
species of snakes in South Carolina, only a handful of which are
is allowed in some hiking areas during certain times of the year.
Call the trail manager for hunting dates and be sure to wear
orange if you decide to hike.
no trace. Please pack out everything you pack in. This shouldn’t
even need to be said, but trash is a common problem in popular outdoor
destinations. Thanks to you who pack out your own trash along with a
piece of waste
left by another, less-considerate hiker.
wildlife, plants, and trees. There are many places in South Carolina
you may have the opportunity to spot a black bear or rare species of
bird. Some 1,600 known plant species make their home in South
Carolina; mountain wildflowers bloom throughout the year and hardwoods
turn brilliant colors each autumn. Respect all these elements of the
environment. Never cut live trees for firewood. Instead use a portable stove when cooking in the backcountry.
Updated: August 22, 2008
South Carolina State Trails Program
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1205 Pendleton Street :: Columbia, SC 29201 :: 803-734-0173
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