So you want the perfect weekend away, but this time you want to focus on the great outdoors, here is our list of Best Upstate South Carolina Hiking.
Article Updated 2/10/2020 with new Trails and Maps!
Now just because the title reads ‘hiking’ does not mean that you have to hike all weekend, sometimes the best tasting food is after a long hike. The great thing about upstate South Carolina is that you can leave the wilderness, and be in downtown Greenville or Spartanburg in no time. On this list, we try to stay away from the backpacking type parks and focus on trails you can easily make a day of, and still have some time for dinner in town.
So where do you go to find the best trails and scenery in the upstate of South Carolina? Check our list below.
Foothills Trail – Mountain Rest, SC
If you are looking for the ultimate Upstate South Carolina Hiking, then look no further than the Foothills Trail located along the border of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. This trail is one of the most beautiful stretches of trail in the United States. Many long-range hikers use this trail to train for upcoming multi-month trails such as the Appalachian Trail. The Foothills Trail is just over 77 miles long with just about every terrain imaginable.
From beautiful lakes and rivers to some of the best mountaintop views anywhere in the United States. This trail features the highest point in South Carolina (Sassafras Mountain). Now if long-range hikes are not your thing, there are many ways you can break the Foothills Trail up into shorter hikes, just takes a little planning ahead.
Devils Fork State Park – Lake Jocassee
Devils Fork State Park has to be on the top of our list for a weekend hike. Lake Jocassee (also located in the park) is known as the cleanest lake in the state and boasts crystal clear mountain water. In addition to the beautiful lake, Devils Fork State Park has some good little hiking trails that are on the easier side. Although Devils Fork State Park does not offer miles and miles of hiking, the area itself is enough to warrant a visit.
Some of the most popular activities in the park include camping, hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, swimming, and waterfall hunting. Devils Fork State Park has a small entry fee of $5 for adults and $3 for children. If you visit Devils Fork State Park, be sure to check in with the rangers to request a map. Something to note, the park is considerably further away from the major city of Greenville than some of our other choices, but we think it is a must-visit
Paris Mountain State Park
Paris Mountain State Park is located just outside of Greenville, SC and offers multiple hiking trails, lakes, boat rentals, and more. We really like this park due to its close proximity to downtown Greenville. The park has hiking trails for all experience levels, and enough mileage to keep you busy for the day. There is no primitive camping allowed in the park, but Paris Mountain does offer an RV park with just over 42 sites.
Be sure to check-in at the rangers station for a detailed map and additional park info. Some of the trails in the park are on the difficult side, so be sure to plan your hike accordingly. As we mentioned above, the Paris Mountain is just a 20-minute drive from downtown Greenville. There is a $5 fee for adults and $3 for children.
Croft State Park
Croft State Park is located in Spartanburg County and is within minutes from the charming town of Spartanburg. What makes Croft a fabulous choice for a hiking adventure besides beauty, is the history of the area. In 1944, the United States Army set-up camps around the country in response to the situation in Europe. Camp Croft was used as one of the camps to train army infantry and artillery units. There are a few places in the park that warn you not to go off-trail due to the property formerly being an Army Base that used explosives regularly.
In addition to military history, if you take the southside loop trail, you will find a graveyard dating back to the early 1800s. It is possible to miss the graveyard, so keep an eye out for it. The graveyard is at the top of one of the steep inclines on the left, about 1.5 to 2 miles in. After your hike, head into downtown Spartanburg for a bite to eat, there are many great restaurants in town. Croft State Park is for sure some of the best Upstate South Carolina hiking.
Lake Conestee Nature Park
Lake Conestee Nature Park and trail is a great place to get away to nature close to town. Located close to downtown Greenville, this makes for the perfect escape if you are looking to recharge your batteries quickly. Conestee Nature Park offers close to 12 miles of trails and plenty of boardwalks around the water. Dogs are allowed in the park but must be leashed at all times and may not enter the wetlands.
Be sure to check Lake Conestee Nature Park hours and all rules and regulations before heading out. You can find more information here.
In Closing: These are a few of the most popular choices among travelers for a beautiful day hike in the upstate of South Carolina. We considered each park to be reasonably accessible to lodging, restaurants, and other upstate attractions. Check back often as we will update this post with restaurants, attractions, and lodging ideas.