Enjoy South Carolina’s Forested Lands

Paris Mountain State Park

This article originally appeared on South Carolina Wild.

There are 46 Soil and Water Conservation Districts in South Carolina. Districts are a subdivision of state government, divided by county lines, and charged with promoting the wise use of soil and water through locally led conservation.

The National Association of Conservation Districts hosts a Stewardship Week each year to celebrate different aspects of agriculture and natural resources. This year, districts are celebrating forestry and forestlands through the theme “May the Forest be with You, Always.”

To help celebrate, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has compiled a list of forestlands and nature areas by county. Get outdoors and explore!

Be sure to find your county’s Soil and Water Conservation District and learn how you can get involved: https://dnr.sc.gov/conservation/index.html.


Parsons Mountain Recreation Area

Parsons Mountain Lake and Lookout Tower is located in Abbeville County and features a lake, camping area, restrooms with showers, lookout tower and a 4-mile loop trail. The forest around the trail is full of wildlife and abundant with dogwood, wild ginger, sparkleberry and much more! There are old gold mines in the area from the early 1800s and a lookout tower with beautiful views.

Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests – Parsons Mountain Recreation Area (usda.gov)


Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve

In 2005, SCDNR began a unique project in collaboration with the Savannah River Ecology Lab to recover and enhance the tortoise population at the Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve, home to the northernmost known population of gopher tortoises.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (sc.gov)

Hitchcook Woods

Located in the heart of Aiken, South Carolina, the Hitchcock Woods is one of the largest urban forests in the nation. With 2,100 acres of forestland and 70 miles of sandy trails, the Woods are a haven for hikers, equestrians, dog walkers, runners, bird watchers and nature lovers and history buffs. The extraordinary beauty of the Hitchcock Woods with its stunning variety of ecosystems is protected forever by a conservation easement held by SCDNR. In addition, the Hitchcock Woods has been designated as a South Carolina Heritage Trust site.

Welcome to the Woods – Hitchcock Woods Foundation

Silver Bluff

Silver Bluff is a 3,250 acre wildlife sanctuary and education center owned by the National Audubon Society. The site boasts a varied habitat of forests, fields, lakes, ponds and streams, nestled along 2.6 miles of the Savannah River. Habitat and wildlife diversity make Silver Bluff a favorite destination for those interested in observing wildlife (over 200 species of birds on the checklist), wildflowers, photography, or simply a quiet walk. Several interpretive walking trails of varying length give visitors an idea of the natural, historical, and cultural features of the property. Special events for the public are scheduled throughout the year. No fee for walking the trails, though donations are accepted. Hours for the trails are Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. No pets please.

Silver Bluff Audubon Center & Sanctuary – Visit Aiken SC


Lower Savannah River Alliance Greenway

Check out this 2.4-mile out-and-back trail near Allendale, South Carolina. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of about 45 minutes to complete. This is a popular trail for hiking, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of day. The best times to visit this trail are February through November.

Lower Savannah River Alliance Greenway (sctrails.net)


Rocky River Conservancy

Located in the city of Anderson, South Carolina, the Rocky River and associated swamp covers up to 400 acres of comprise wetland; open water for kayaking; walking, biking, equine trails; and a discovery center/ environmental education facility. There are multiple benefits that include economic development, conservation of land, enhancement of water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities for area citizens.

Rocky River Conservancy Anderson, SC


Battle of Rivers Bridge State Historic Site

This straight, easy-to-hike, mile long forested trail connects the Rivers Bridge Battlefield with the Rivers Bridge Civil War Memorial Grounds. It follows the route that the Confederate troops followed on Feb. 3, 1865 in their retreat from the Rivers Bridge Battlefield to the railroad junction in Branchville, South Carolina. The Rivers Bridge Nature Trail also adjoins the Retreat Road.

Battle of Rivers Bridge | South Carolina Parks Official Site


Barnwell State Park

The land for the Barnwell State Park was purchased in 1937 and was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was a work relief program implemented during the Great Depression. Many of the original structures are still on the property.  Barnwell State Park has two lakes home to freshwater fish, including largemouth bass. On the property community members can also take advantage of a community center, campsite, cabins, walking trails, canoeing, swimming, and a playground.

Barnwell | South Carolina Parks Official Site


Crystal Lake Park

Crystal Lake Park is 25-acres of forested upland and wetland habitat, salt marsh and a man-made pond. The half-mile loop nature trail around the pond features a quarter mile of 8-foot-wide boardwalk and a quarter mile of 6 to 8-foot-wide natural unpaved, earthen trail. Many species of birds have been documented at this county park, including songbirds, wading birds, birds of prey, migratory waterfowl, and endangered species such as wood storks. Egrets, herons, frogs, turtles, snakes and alligators also live here.

Passive Park Properties (arcgis.com)

Cypress Wetlands and Rookery

Cypress Wetlands and Rookery: The .6 mile boardwalk loop showcases a close-up look of this beautiful cypress swamp. There are several species of birds that call this place home, including herons, hawks, eagles, owls, falcons, geese, ducks, and other migratory waterfowl. It is absolutely a birdwatchers’ paradise. In addition to birds, regular visitors among the cypress trees are alligators, turtles and snakes.

Cypress Wetlands, Rookery and Amphitheater | Port Royal, SC

St. Phillips Island

St. Phillips Island is a nature lover’s paradise, providing critical habitat for alligators, sea turtles, bobcats and a myriad of seasonal and resident bird species, including bald eagles, roseate spoonbills and painted buntings. In 2017, the state of South Carolina acquired St. Phillips Island as an extension of Hunting Island State Park. The island features several excellent trail systems. Take the ferry from Hunting Island State Park to St. Phillips Island!

St. Phillips Island | South Carolina Parks Official Site


Wadboo Swamp

One of the prettiest bottomland habitats in the state of South Carolina, the Wadboo Swamp in the Francis Marion National Forest looks the same as it did over two centuries ago when Francis Marion roamed these parts! This area offers easy family hiking, moderate-level mountain biking and incredible photo opportunities. The Palmetto Trail also crosses through the Wadboo.

Wadboo Swamp Walkway (berkeleyoutdoorlife.com)


Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve

The Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve comprises 201 acres and contains steep, undisturbed bluffs bordering the Congaree River. Located in Calhoun County, the preserve harbors significant stands of American beech, oak-hickory and bottomland hardwood forest.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (sc.gov)


Caw Caw Interpretive Center

Caw Caw Interpretive Center was once a part of several rice plantations in the cypress swamps of Ravenel, South Carolina. The park features over six miles of trails and elevated boardwalks throughout the wetlands. In addition to its many species of waterfowl the park is also a known hotspot for many types of coastal songbirds.

Caw Caw Interpretive Center | Charleston County Parks and Recreation (ccprc.com)


Lake Whelchel Trail

Lake Whelchel Trail in Cherokee County is a 6.7-mile segment of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, which is a pathway used by militia during the Kings Mountain campaign of the Revolutionary War. The trail consists of a scenic route through wooded areas and around the lake.  The trail head can be found at 198 Concord Rd, Gaffney, SC.

Lake Whelchel – Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (U.S. National Park Service)


Chester State Park

Chester State Park has hiking trails, a 160-acre lake for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding with a beautiful bridge going across it. There are several covered picnic shelters to host events, a large playground for children as well as a camping area.

Chester | South Carolina Parks Official Site


Cheraw State Park

Chesterfield county has beautiful nature trails.  At the top of the list would be Cheraw State Park which has a wide range of trails from walking and biking trails to equestrian trails. The state park is home to a variety of trees and plants as well as a lake and waterfall. One could spend a couple days exploring all the nature this state park has to offer so camping is available.

Cheraw Trails | South Carolina Parks Official Site

Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge

Located in the Sandhills Physiographic Region of South Carolina, the Carolina Sandhills NWR is one of the Southeast’s premier sites for viewing the longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem and is comprised of 47,850 acres, including fee ownership of 45,348 acres, and nine conservation easements totaling 2,502 acres.

Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge | Visit Us – Trails | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (fws.gov)


Santee National Wildlife Refuge

Santee National Wildlife Refuge, encompassing 15,000 acres, was established in 1942 and is located in the upper Atlantic Coastal Plain region of South Carolina. The refuge contains a wide diversity of habitats that is home to many different species. The refuge features 40 miles of hiking and biking trails as well as canoeing and kayaking trails. Santee NWR also contains a historic site, the Santee Indian Mount- Fort Watson area.

Santee National Wildlife Refuge | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (fws.gov)


Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary

The Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary is comprised of over 800 acres of braided creek and hardwood flats.  The sanctuary offers boardwalks, bridges, bike, and walking trails for viewing natural Lowcountry wildlife and beauty.  Spanish moss drips from cypress trees and wildflowers abound as you pass a beaver pond, duck pond, butterfly garden. Free admission.

Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary | Walterboro, SC (walterborosc.org)

Colleton State Park

A paddler’s paradise, this Lowcountry park sits a short distance from I-95 and connects to Givhans Ferry State Park via 23 miles of blackwater river. Colleton State Park provides easy access to the Edisto River, one of the longest free flowing, blackwater rivers in the country, and serves as the headquarters for the Edisto River canoe and kayak trail. Other amenities include an easy nature trail, a campground, picnic shelters and ballfields.

Colleton | South Carolina Parks Official Site


Lawton Park

Lawton Park is located on the shore of Lake Prestwood. Amenities include a playground area, picnic area, kayak dock, two tennis courts, and a pavilion for event rental. A new boat dock is perfect for paddlers to begin their excursion into the cypress areas of Black Creek and on to Kalmia Gardens.

Lawton Park · Visit Hartsville, SC (visithartsvillesc.com)


Little Pee Dee State Park

Located in the South Carolina Sandhills region and named after the blackwater Little Pee Dee River, Little Pee Dee State Park is a subdued setting for those who want to enjoy the park’s natural features or fish the still waters of 54-acre Lake Norton for bream, bass and catfish. With its easy access to Interstate 95, and picnicking and camping amenities, Little Pee Dee is popular with coastal travelers and locals alike.

Little Pee Dee | South Carolina Parks Official Site


Audubon Francis Beidler Forest

The Audubon Francis Beidler Forest located in Dorchester County is one of only two forests in South Carolina that has never been logged.  Francis Biedler Forest offers two delightful trails, you can take a stroll through the swamp on the 1.75 mile long boardwalk or you can rustle through the Grassland-Woodland Trail.  Both trails are rich with the sounds and sights of nature!

Trails | Audubon Center & Sanctuary at Francis Beidler Forest


Forks Area Trail System

Located in the southern portion of the Long Cane Ranger District, the Forks Area Trail System (FATS) was designed with the mountain biking enthusiast in mind. Six stacked loops accessed from various locations provide up to 34 miles of hiking or biking through a variety of topography and vegetation. Highlights of your visit could include panoramic views, glimpses of wildlife and a distinctive, large grouping of saw palmetto not normally seen in this part of South Carolina.

Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests – Forks Area Trail System (usda.gov)


Fortune Springs Park

The city is in the process of restoring the parks amenities. There is a walking trail, a pond with ducks, a swimming pool and a beautiful flowing fountain. As families enjoy having a picnic in the park, there is playground equipment for the kids to enjoy.

Fortune Springs Park – Town of Winnsboro | South Carolina


Lynches River County Park

Located on Lynches River in the Pee Dee region, this 676-acre park features a river swamp with towering cypress trees, as well as sand hills, offering a wide variety of vegetation. Popular activities at the park include canoeing, camping, nature trails, splash pad, picnicking, geocaching, and a visit to the Environmental Discovery Center. Our 6,400+ square foot community building can accommodate groups of up to 400 people.

Lynches River County Park (lynchesriverpark.com)


Rocky Point Community Forest

The Rocky Point Community Forest is composed of  650+ acres that lie within the boundaries of Choppee Road, Choppee Creek and the Black River. It offers 15.46 miles of trails for walking, hiking and biking.

Rocky Point Community Forest | Georgetown SC | Facebook

Black River Cypress Preserve

The Black River Cypress Preserve was created to inspire, activate, and educate citizens about the extraordinary blackwater swamps and native pinelands of the South Carolina Coastal Plain. The Preserve offers miles of walking and biking trails as well as kayaking. Groups of 6 or more may schedule visits which are free, and a guide will be provided.

Home – Black River Cypress Preserve


Jones Gap State Park

Jones Gap State Park includes 60+ miles of trails and 17,000 acres of pristine mountain woodlands that join the park with Caesars Head in what is known as the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. The Jones Gap State Park trails allow hikers to traverse between the two parks, as well as connect to a portion of the Foothills Trail and Palmetto Trail. This park includes two scenic waterfalls and a fish hatchery exhibit and trout pond.

Jones Gap | South Carolina Parks Official Site

Paris Mountain State Park

Paris Mountain State Park’s roots date as far back as the Great Depression, when it was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. This heritage can still be seen in the preserved stone and timber outside of the renovated bathhouse, now known as the Park Center. Inside, the center features historical exhibits and a classroom to teach young and old about the park’s ecology. With 17 miles of trails, four lakes and a swimming area, this park offers something for everyone.

Paris Mountain | South Carolina Parks Official Site

Conestee Nature Preserve

Conestee Nature Preserve is a 640-acre nonprofit owned and operated Wildlife Sanctuary located just five miles south of Downtown Greenville. The Preserve includes over 13 miles of trails and boardwalks and 11 wildlife observation decks. Conestee has 226 identified species of birds, more than any other location in Greenville County, as well as beaver, river otter, deer, raccoon, fox, salamanders, frogs, snakes, and many other species of wildlife.

Home | Conestee Nature Preserve | Greenville, SC (conesteepreserve.org)


Heritage Trail

Built along Greenwood’s abandoned railroad lines, the Heritage Trail extends 2.5 miles and offers an excellent opportunity for biking, walking, jogging and skating. The trail can be accessed at the trailhead on South Main Street in the city of Greenwood (next to The Palmetto Bank).

Heritage Trail — Greenwood Parks and Trails (gwdparks.org)

Ninety Six Town Trail

This is 1.5 miles long and runs along Highway 34 through middle of Ninety Six.

Ninety Six Town Trail — Greenwood Parks and Trails (gwdparks.org)


Lake Warren State Park

Located in the lowcountry of Hampton County is Lake Warren State Park. There is a 200-acre lake for boating and fishing, as well as a community building, picnic areas, a playground, and a variety of flora and fauna. A 1.25-mile interpretive path, a .4-mile fit trail featuring ten workout stations, and a .3-mile nature trail are also found in the park.

Lake Warren | South Carolina Parks Official Site

Cypress Swamp Trail

Explore a blackwater oasis along the Savannah River in Hampton County. The major property is the Webb Wildlife Center with the Palachucola and Hamilton Ridge areas on either side. Many of the trails through the property cross between these three areas; it is to be noted that gates can close with no upfront notice due to scheduled/special hunts, flooding, and/or management use. Foot Travel and Bicycles are permitted beyond gates and barricades unless a hunt is taking place. This route spurs off Gregory Field Road and provides access to the Savannah River and Cypress Swamps. The trail takes you deep into the blackwater swamp with few water crossings. At the time of recording the swamp was flooded and the earthen bridge was washed out; however, the trail continues further through the swamp to the lake and Savannah River. Be cautious of the many deep mud puddles along this route.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (sc.gov) or Cypress Swamp Trail, South Carolina : Off-Road Trail Map & Photos | onX Offroad (onxmaps.com)


Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve

The Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve consists of over 10,000 acres, which lies northwest of Myrtle Beach, has a fascination natural history. The preserve is best known as the site of the famous and mysterious Carolina Bays. The bays support vegetation such as wax myrtle buses, mulberry bushes, wild orchids, the rare pitches plant and one of the world’s largest concentrations of Venus flytraps.  The Bays also is the habitat for Southern black bears, the protected red-cockaded woodpecker, and bald eagles. SCDNR maintains the pine savannah habitat through frequent prescribed burns, also called controlled burns.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (sc.gov)

Playcard Education Center

Playcard Environmental Center is made up of 200 acres of both upland pines and bottomland hardwoods. The Center houses a on-site classroom and full-time teacher. The Center was started in 1987 after several District Commissioners formed the Horry County Conservation Foundation. The Foundation has a long-term agreement with Horry County Schools to use the center to show students “the conditions of the County’s natural resources and realize the need for effective conservation,” while enjoying the outdoors.

Playcard Environmental Education Center / Welcome to Playcard (horrycountyschools.net)


Blue Heron Nature Center and Trails

The 10-acre Blue Heron Nature Trail and Learning Center offers relief for the road-weary, and it’s as easy to get to as any rest area. The nature trail is conveniently located at Ridgeland’s I-95, Exit 21. This in-town green space boasts a nature trail that travels around a three-acre pond and through forested wetlands filled with ferns and native plants. The property also includes a butterfly garden, picnic area, outdoor classroom, observation decks, and a Nature Center. Permanent trailside displays help visitors learn more about the native flora and fauna of Jasper County and the Lowcountry. Along the trail you will find benches, swings, and an attractive butterfly garden. Be on the look-out for wildlife that frequently stop along the shores of the pond. In addition to the herons, you may see egrets, ducks, turtles, fish, alligators, and other wildlife. The forest boardwalks take visitors in two different directions so make sure you travel both ways.

The nature trail is open daily dawn to dusk. The Nature Center is open Monday thru Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. There is a parking lot that has plenty of room for a camper. The nature trail is also dog-friendly but be sure to pick up what your furry friend puts down.

About Us – Jasper Conservation District


Nature as Teacher (NAT)

Margaret “Peggy” Lloyd donated her 800-acre woodland along the Wateree River to Clemson University with the intention that it become a haven for environmental education. Peggy was interested in nurturing the next generation of stewards who learn how to care for the environment by having opportunities for profound understanding, and familiar connection to the systems of nature and community. She believed that transdisciplinary and relevant programing could bridge gaps in both community and k-12 education surrounding ecologies, stewardship, and creative outdoor exploration. With Peggy’s vision at the heart of our mission, the motivation for activities at The Nature as Teacher Preserve for Education is always compassion and respect for nature, which is to be the primary inspiration for exploring the interconnectedness of learning, teaching, and practicing environmental, community and personal stewardship.

Nature As Teacher | Facebook


Lindsay Pettus Greenway

The Greenway is an integrated component of the city of Lancaster’s downtown revitalization efforts. Freely enjoy over two traffic-free miles of nature in the heart of Lancaster County. The mission of the Lindsay Pettus Greenway, Inc. is to solicit, receive, manage and disburse funds for the development, maintenance, and operations of the Lindsay Pettus Greenway and trail system in the City of Lancaster, South Carolina. As a 100% volunteer-led organization, efforts are focused on fundraising to expand and enhance the Greenway.

Lindsay Pettus Greenway


Joe Adair Outdoor Education Center

The Joe R. Adair Outdoor Education Center serves as a learning center for children and adults in Laurens County. The property, given to the Soil Conservation District in 1992 as a gift by retired Soil Conservation Service employee Joe Adair, also includes an office and classroom building, nature trails, a historic cabin and a picnic area. Instruction at the center focuses on the natural sciences and soil and water conservation. The center opened on March 22, 1996.  Since that time, thousands of students and their teachers have experienced “hands on” education at the center.

Joe R. Adair Outdoor Education Center | Laurens SC | Facebook


Lee State Park

This trail is one of several located on the outskirts of Bishopville, SC at Lee State Park. It provides an opportunity to view Lee County’s beautiful natural landscape and to capture many animal species in their natural habitat!

Lee | South Carolina Parks Official Site


Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve

Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve in Lexington County. The only natural waterfall on the state’s coastal plain is located here as well as native longleaf pines. Layered sandstone formations, with the fossils of ancient marine creatures, line the trails that are available here. Experience geology, wildlife, and plants at this wonderful nature preserve located just 30 minutes from downtown Columbia.

Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve in South Carolina | TNC (nature.org)


Amazing Grace Park

Located on 3.2-acres behind the Marion County Museum, this park honors Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, the late state senator. The park features a walking trail, picnic structure, dog park, playground with sensory interaction, and a custom art installation.

Home | Amazing Grace Park


Lake Paul Wallace

Lake Paul Wallace is an outdoor recreation hub located in Bennettsville, South Carolina, and the Lake Wallace Walking Trail is a fantastic walking loop trail that was recently resurfaced — the diversion dam is now paved — much to the delight of trail-users! The walking path encircles beautiful Lake Wallace, and can be enjoyed on foot or bike.

Lake Paul Wallace | City of Bennettsville, SC (bennettsvillesc.com)


Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve

Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve, a 434-acre property, has a unique bluff. In 1959, the late Dr. Albert E. Radford of the University of North Carolina wrote a scientific paper on the discovery of a “relict plant community” in South Carolina. The paper documented an interesting bluff that he and Dr. Julian Harrison of the College of Charleston had found on Stevens Creek. Dr. Radford concluded that Stevens Creek bluff harbored a group of plants that had probably been here since the latter part of the Pleistocene or the last Ice Age. There is a 1.9-mile loop trail through the property.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (sc.gov)

Savannah Valley Railroad Trail

The Savannah Valley Railroad Trail is a “linear” park that results when unused railroad trails are repurposed into hiking and biking trails. Our trail is “rustic,” meaning it is composed of densely packed soil with a grassy surface. Its mild grades are most suitable for walking and fat-tire biking.  When completed, it will cover nearly 20 miles in McCormick County, South Carolina.

Savannah Valley Railroad Trail | Savannah Lakes Community, SC| Lakefront Living – Savannah Lakes Village (slvreservations.com)


Lynch’s Woods Park

This 276-acre park is full of large pines and old-growth hardwoods and contains 5 miles of moderately challenging hiking, biking, and equestrian trails which take a little less than two hours to complete. Rocky Branch Creek flows through several sections of the park providing a tranquil experience for those who venture the trails. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.

Lynch’s Woods Park | Newberry County

Dreher Island State Park

Dreher Island State Park spans three islands, 348 acres and provides access to 12 miles of Lake Murray shoreline. Offering lodging, camping, swimming, picnic areas, fishing, bicycle and hiking trails.

Dreher Island | South Carolina Parks Official Site


King’s Creek Falls

A very popular nature trail in Oconee County is the one to King’s Creek Falls. This is an easy 30-minute walk to a spectacular 70-foot waterfall in a cove. It is near the Burrell’s Ford Campground and is close to the Foothills Trail, The Chattooga River Trail, another wonderful waterfall named Spoonauger Falls, and trail access to the Ellicott’s Rock Wilderness Area.

Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests – King Creek Falls (usda.gov)


Edisto Memorial Gardens

The city of Orangeburg provides the Edisto Memorial Gardens free of charge to the public. The Board Walk winds through the cypress-tupelo swamp and features a Chinese Water Wheel on the North Fork of the Edisto River. The entire loop is about a mile featuring views of the Edisto River, an award-winning Rose Garden, and cool places to rest in the Azalea Garden. Across the street there is a Prayer and Sensory Garden. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the waterfall. Bring a painted rock to leave and take one from the Rock Garden sponsored by local Girl Scout Troops.

Edisto Memorial Gardens | City of Orangeburg, SC


Tohi Trail

Named after the Cherokee word for “wellbeing,” the Tohi Trail now spans more than a mile in length before it connects via footbridge to another employee walking trail at the adjacent AnMed Cannon Hospital grounds. The business area of the city of Pickens is accessible from the existing AnMed trail by sidewalk.

Go Take a Hike – Pickens, S.C. | Carolina Crescent


Harbison State Forest

Harbison State Forest offers guided and self-guided nature hikes as well as exciting educational activities for the entire family to enjoy. A bird’s eye-view will show the winding Broad River along its northeastern edge, where you can use a canoe landing to begin your canoeing or kayaking adventure. With 2,137 acres of forestland to discover, explorers of all ages can experience its beauty on over 30 miles of roads and trails nestled between the mixed pine and hardwood forest.

Harbison State Forest – South Carolina Forestry Commission (scfc.gov)


Saluda Park

This park located in the town of Saluda has a flat paved trail that starts at the parking area and encircles the park. Large trees shade and protect you from the sun while walking during the day. A gazebo, located in the park, provides a good place to rest or relax while you are there.

Saluda Park (sctrails.net)


Peter’s Creek Heritage Preserve

Peters Creek Heritage Preserve covers 160 acres in Spartanburg County with 3.6 miles of trails. This piedmont cove forest, with its rolling topography, an old mill dam, two creeks and walking trails, is a pleasant and peaceful place to visit.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (sc.gov)

The Cottonwood Trail in the Edwin M. Griffin Nature Preserve

Over 4 miles of trails offer runners and naturalists a break from city traffic. It provides a place for citizens to run, walk, kayak, canoe, and to enjoy other recreational outings. This urban greenspace has many unique and outstanding features including several wetlands, open spaces, geological formations, and offers habitat for deer, wild turkey, fox, beaver, raccoon, numerous birds and reptiles, wildflowers, and trees.

Cottonwood Trail | SPACE (spartanburgconservation.org)


Poinsett State Park

Poinsett State Park is located in Wedgefield, South Carolina, and has something for everyone! Whether you are a novice, or advanced hiker there are multiple trails that lead through Manchester Forest with beautiful views. Poinsett Park boasts an impressive campground; with rustic cabins, primitive sites, and RV hook-ups. Enjoy fishing, boating, geocaching, swimming, hiking, bird watching and more! Often referred to as “The Mountains of the Midlands,” Poinsett offers rich biodiversity with cypress swamps, tulip poplars, and Spanish moss-covered laurels.

Poinsett | South Carolina Parks Official Site


Tyger River Spur Trail

The trailhead for the Tyger River Spur Trail can be accessed via the Nature Loop Trail. The trail runs 0.5 miles out to the Tyger River. It is unpaved, shaded by forest, and has a roughly 100-foot change in elevation. Sights to look for include large gullies where cotton fields from the 1800s and early 1900s has eroded the soil. The last part of the Trail is located on the riverbanks and may be inaccessible if the Tyger River has flooded.

Rose Hill Trails | South Carolina Parks Official Site

Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site

The Nature Loop Trail has two trailheads: one near the picnic shelter and another near the rose garners. The trail is unpaved, shaded by forest, and has a roughly 50-foot change in elevation. Sights to look for include an old stand or hickory trees (some of which date to the late 1700s and early 1800s), historic roadbeds, and the preserved ruins of a tenant house. Waysides mark significant sites along the trail.

Rose Hill | South Carolina Parks Official Site


Gilland Memorial Park

Gilland Park located on the banks of the Scenic Black River in Kingstree, South Carolina. This small park offers picnic tables and shelter, playground, swimming and a boat ramp.  Surrounded by native forest and streams.  Open daily, no fees.

Gilland Memorial Park – Town of Kingstree – Official Town Site – Kingstree, SC


Nanny’s Mountain

Nanny’s Mountain Historical Park provides a 1.8-mile trail up to a small mountain formation that is known as a monadnock, a single rock outcropping surrounded by gently sloping or even flat land.  This trail is good for all skill levels. The trail splits with one trail taking hikers to the education center at the top of Nanny’s Mountain, and the other to a picnic area and scenic overlook displaying Lake Wylie, Kings Mountain, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Nanny’s Mountain (visityorkcounty.com)

Written by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.