Words cannot express how READY we were for mountains after spending the majority of the winter along coastal lowlands! We had originally planned a 5 day thru-hike of the Foothills Trail, an 80 mile trek through the foothills of the Appalachians but then we discovered there was an arctic rain blast coming through and shifted gears – but still got plenty of hiking in!
On our first day, we headed north from Columbia, where we had just finished touring the eastern side of the state. In our minds, we considered this a mere transition day between the midlands and mountains, but were pleasantly surprised by the great things to do along the way.
First, we stopped at the Musgrove Mill State Historic Site. The pictures below don’t do this place justice. The real gem here is the park manager. She wouldn’t allow pictures, but she is a MUST MEET person – just hilarious. Additionally, the visitors center boasts some great historical exhibits and there are some geocaches to be found on the trails! We also continued collecting Ultimate Outsider State Park Stamps!
Horseshoe Falls is also actually a part of the Musgrove Mill State Historic Site, but located a few miles away across the river. Definitely worth a visit though perhaps not at night, apparently the locals like to get naked! One of the park manager’s jobs is running the naked people out of there…
Continuing our route north, we stopped in a little town called Fountain Inn, the home of the Peg Leg Bates Statue. Peg Leg Bates was a famous one-legged tap dancer from this town. What we loved about this statue is that there was a mystery geocache here. We used the statue to solve clues for GPS coordinates to another park in town to enjoy!
Continuing our quirky route north, we pit stopped at a street corner with the random grave of Leila Howell, a mysterious child buried all alone…on a corner.
And as a final quirk, we visited Tiny Town in Easley, SC. In 1974, the Jennings began building tiny replica buildings, originating with a log cabin. Over time, they amassed about 80 buildings in total, only some of which have survived.
Then we were finally ready for the mountains! Instead of hiking the Foothills Trail, we decided to make a home base at the Devils Fork State Park campground, where we scored an awesome site right on the water!
On our second day, we took advantage of being close to an old friend in Greenville from our Americorps days. One of the best things about traveling around the country is seeing our peeps in person instead of just on Facebook!
Kaevonda planned a day full of secret activities for us! First, she took us to eat at a local favorite: Stax Omega. Yum!
Next, we explored Paris Mountain State Park. We scored two geocaches here!
Finally, she took us to Falls Park in downtown Greenville, which was probably our favorite! The gorgeous falls you see in the picture below used to be covered up by an overpass until they renovated the downtown area and built a park around them. It’s a must visit place!
On our third day, we were ready for some mountain hiking so headed for Caesars Head State Park. From the visitors center, you can easily access some stunning overlooks.
If you go just past the overlook, you can also climb down into Devil’s Kitchen.
After a little warm up, we started a hike on the highly rated Raven Cliff Falls and Dismal Trail Loop. If only looking for a short hike with big payoffs, you can go to an overlook of Raven Cliff Falls just about 1-2 miles in.
However, for the more intrepid, you can continue the loop trail – but heed the posted warnings! It was HARD (but so totally worth it)!
On our fourth day, we were ready for some more hiking! We headed to Table Rock State Park super early to get a jump on Saturday hiking traffic.
We chose to hike the Pinnacle Mountain Trail, which features amazing waterfalls for the first 2-3 miles.
After the waterfalls, it gets steeper and creepier, as you climb up through the clouds!
The best view isn’t from the top of the mountain but from Bald Knob, about a mile from the top. Just a sea of clouds!
The actual top of Pinnacle Mountain isn’t very exciting…
On our fifth day, we had big plans but the weather had other ideas. We wanted to start with a visit to nearby Toxaway State Park, but instead opted to get our hiking in before the thunderstorms started at Oconee Station State Historic Site. We were excited because there is a 3 mile trail that connects this state park with Oconee State Park. Two stamps!
Once we got to Oconee State Park, we got our stamp and had just enough time for some geocaching before having to run back to our car before the rains came.
But, we did have time to stop in at the Station Cove Falls on the way back, even if we did end up getting drenched!
On our sixth and final day in western South Carolina, we had really really wanted to do some Kayaking at Devil’s Fork State Park. There are several beautiful waterfalls you can kayak to, but the weather was too windy and cold to get out on the water.
Instead, we chose to nab a few geocaches – starting with a really easy cache at the Bad Creek Overlook, where you can see a great view of Lake Jocassee and some waterfalls (at a very far distance).
We ended our day with a visit to Whitewater Falls, which are spectacular and easily accessible.
Thanks for following along! Be sure to stay tuned for our corresponding YouTube episode featuring western South Carolina and our upcoming adventures in North Carolina!