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South Carolina Hiking Trails

This site is designed to provide quick, organized access to informative South Carolina hiking websites. Private hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on South Carolina hiking trails -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.

  • ACE Basin the Ashepoo, Combahee and South Edisto (ACE) River Basins is a paradise for paddling, hiking, boating, and sightseeing. This page, on the site, has plenty of info and a downloadable GPS Map to help you make sure you can find your way there and back.

  • Bartram Trail retracing the steps of William Bartram through the Southeast. The Bartram Trail Conference, Inc., founded in 1976, has sought to identify and mark Bartram’s southern journey and works to promote interest in developing recreational trails and botanical gardens along the route. The BTC also seeks to encourage the study, preservation and interpretation of the William Bartram heritage at both cultural and natural sites in Bartram Trail states. This is their official site.

  • Berkeley County Area Includes brief descriptions of the Palmetto Trail Lake Moultrie Passage, Swamp Fox Passage and The Francis Marion National Forest. Not a spectacular site, but helpful to anyone interested in Berkeley County.

  • Chattooga River Trail and the spot marking the border of SC, GA & NC. Nice photos, fun site by Tony Presley.

  • Congaree National Park Formerly Congaree Swamp National Monument. Hiking page on the NPS site. Good information; better than expected.

  • Congaree National Park on-line .pdf map of entire NM; good for finding your way around but not much else.

  • Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests This is the "official" trails page on the US Forest Service website. Truth be told, it's not bad. Click on "trails matrix" and then on the individual trails for some nice .pdf trailmaps. Good site. (By the way, we repeat this link below for people who are only looking for Sumter...don't tell 'em...let it be our little joke)

  • General -- Waterfalls of South Carolina not a hiking site per se, but many are "hiking" destinations. Offers great photos, suggestions, and inspiration. I especially like this site by Allen Easler.

  • General -- South Carolina Waterfalls Another waterfall photo page, this one by Jon Maloney. Many are small, little-known falls along hiking trails. And another site by Jon...

  • General -- Northwest SC I really recommend this page by Jon Maloney (see waterfall site immediately above). Reason being it has about 60 hikes, all detailed with directions, elevation info, descriptions, and a mile-by-mile guide so that you can really keep track of things. A must-click for the northwest part of the state.

  • General This is the SC Trails website...this link drills down to the clickable map, which we think is the best starting spot on this fantastic website. Well, they could make it easier to find this page; we found it once then had to sift around to re-find it. Anyway, this is as good a site as you'll find for a South Carolina hiking trail finder; we've used it ourselves when we aren't lounging on the beach at Hunting Island.

  • Lower Whitewater Falls (Oconee County) The Whitewater Falls chain – six different waterfalls along the North and South Carolina border – is the highest series of falls in eastern North America. The Lower Falls in Oconee County comprise a dramatic 200-foot drop. A 45 minute hike. From the SC Trails network.

  • General site called (link above for ACE Basin) worth exploring for downloadable maps and plenty of photos and info for exploring the Carolinas.

  • Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail this page features hiking trails located near this new auto touring trail courtesy the NPS. Not a heck of a lot of information, but I guess this tells how a hiker would best like to experience the OVNHT. Otherwise, don't bother with this link.

  • State Forests Information on Sandhills, Harbison, Manchester. Includes rules & regs, online trail maps, some basic info. Site by the SC Forestry Commission. Not the best, but not bad.

  • Sumter National Forest This is the "official" trails page on the US Forest Service website. Truth be told, it's not bad. Click on "trails matrix" and then on the individual trails for some nice .pdf trailmaps. Good site.

In Captain Cook fashion...

Well OK, I've never actually been to Hawaii, and when I blow the dust out of my wallet, it doesn't move into the "someday soon" category. So I plod along on I-80, enjoying the endless New Jersey winter of ice and sleet, trying to avoid some psychopath at the wheel of a Humvee barking into a cel phone. At home in my closet is one of those fold-out fabric chairs that comes in a bag...only this one is the mother of all pop up chairs...replete with pop-up footrest, drink holders on both armrests, and a nice comfy pillow that velcros to the back. When I put this thing on the beach at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina (the $5 entry fee is a bit less than the Hawaii package) and close my eyes, I have no problem imagining myself in a far more exotic locale. But then again, sitting in this chair at Hunting Island...with palmettos clacking, breeze blowing, and pelicans pelicaning...I really don't need to imagine myself elsewhere.

One of my all-time favorite beach hikes is indeed at Hunting Island. We park at the day use area by the lighthouse, and claim one of the picnic tables under the palmettos. When we finally gather the energy to take a hike, we walk north -- past the camping area -- to the inlet. At low tide you can work your way to some of the distant sand bars (be careful, people drown doing this), easily a quarter mile off the beach. It's just you and the sea gulls...

Two guidebooks I find indispensible are John Clark's Hiking South Carolina (FalconGuide), which I'd be lost without, and The Waterfalls of South Carolina by Tim Cook. If you know anything about waterfalls in SC, you know that most of them aren't roadside have to hoof it a bit. Cook's book points the way to the best, and most of the rest.

-- Rick Bolger

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Want to add YOUR South Carolina hiking page? It's free, it's easy, and there are no strings attached. Please click the "Submit a Site" button, above left, for instructions and complete information.

PS: Have a dinner invitation? Instead of bringing a bottle of humdrum wine or some meaningless flowers, consider bringing a copy of Like a Brother by Gerry Beckley, Robert Lamm, and Carl Wilson. If those names sound familiar, they should. Beckley is a key member of the group America, and you know his voice from Sister Golden Hair. Robert Lamm is still the driving force behind the group Chicago, perhaps his signature song is Saturday in the Park. The late Carl Wilson was the angelic-voiced youngest brother of the Wilson clan, also known as The Beach Boys. His was the ethereal lead on God Only Knows. This album was recorded just prior to Wilson's passing, finished by Beckley and Lamm, and released after a battle with the label. Few have heard it, but those who do are generally at a loss for words to describe the incredible beauty captured on this disc. It is arguably a cut above anything else released in the past decade. If you click on the link (to Amazon) you can listen to samples of a few of the selections.


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