10 hiking trails in South Carolina

Southeast Region

(WSPA) – There are dozens of beautiful, scenic trails to hike in the state of South Carolina from the Upstate to the Low Country. Here are ten options for both the most experienced hikers and those just looking for a nice, easy stroll.

Included with the following trails will be their difficulty level ranging from easy to moderate to hard based on the criteria established on alltrails.com. Distances are approximations and may vary.

Now let’s check out some of the best hiking spots in South Carolina!

Riverwalk Greenway Trail (4.6 miles)

Location: Rock Hill, S.C.

Difficulty: Easy

Riverwalk Greenway Trail (sctrails.net)

This paved trail runs along the Catawba River and provides an easy hike for all skill levels, though there are some points that are slightly uphill and downhill. Great for visitors looking to enjoy a scenic route along the river. A part of the city’s Greenway and Trail system, this path also includes several benches to serve as rest stops, and local restaurants easily accessible from the trail.

Maps, reviews and other information can be found here.

Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail (.6 miles)

Location: Sullivan’s Island, S.C.

Difficulty: Easy

Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail (charlestoncounty.org)

Bird-watchers and fans of wild flowers gather! The Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail crosses protected land, featuring plenty of wildlife and unique flowers, and ends with access to the beachfront. This short and relatively flat trail is perfect for those looking for a peaceful walk to study nature. It also includes observation decks and convenient parking at the trail entrance.

Maps, reviews and other information can be found here.

Palmetto Trail (500 miles)

Location: Cross-state

Difficulty: Easy to Hard

Palmetto Trail Map (Mary Roe/Palmetto Trail)

For those looking for a challenge, the complete 500-mile project running from the Ross Mountain Passage to the Awendaw Passage can be traveled in roughly one month. But for those wanting a day-trip or a quick trip, don’t worry as there are 31 passages along the route and each can be traveled independently. The project has finished about 350 miles of connected passages. The remaining 150-miles of trails can still be hiked on their own, though connecting to the rest can prove to be a bit difficult. The Palmetto Trail crosses just about every type of terrain imaginable. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to more flat trails in the Midlands and even hikes along the southeastern coast of the state, there is a path to appease all hikers/bicyclists etc. The project was started by the Palmetto Conservation in 1994. Since then, several hikers have completed the full trek.

For more on the Palmetto Trail and the individual passages, click here.

Issaqueena Falls Trail (.3 miles)

Location: Walhalla, S.C.

Difficulty: Easy

Issaqueena Falls (sctrails.net)

Issaqueena Falls is a must-see spectacle in the Upstate. The trail is a quick, easy hike culminating in a 100-foot waterfall reveal along Cane Creek. The Issaqueena Falls Trail is perfect for the family and you can bring your dogs as long as they’re on a leash.

Maps, reviews and other information can be found here.

Table Rock Ridge Trail (10.7 miles)

Location: Table Rock State Park (Cleveland, S.C.)

Difficulty: Hard

Table Rock State Park (southcarolinaparks.com)

The Table Rock Ridge Trail is a looping trail that is accessed via the Pinnacle Mountain Trail. The Pinnacle Overlook is a highly recommended scene as part of the path that also includes a waterfall and some difficult terrain. The hike also incorporates the Table Rock Trail, which leads to the top of Table Rock Mountain, which offers spectacular views. This hike is full of boulders, uneven rock stairs and is one of the more challenging ones in the state. Several reviewers described the trail as being “strenuous.” Parking is located at the Nature Center right by the trailhead.

Maps, reviews, and other information can be found here.

King Creek Falls Trail (1.4 miles)

Location: Mountain Rest, S.C.

Difficulty: Easy

King Creek Falls (sctrails.net)

This out and back trail located in the Sumter National Forest district near the S.C./Georgia border culminates with a 70-foot waterfall, where one can kick back and relax. This hike is relatively easy, though the final stretch may prove to be closer to the moderate level of difficulty. Regardless, the hike can be accomplished within a half hour and is good for almost all skill levels.

Maps, reviews and other information can be found here.

Saluda Riverwalk (4.5 miles)

Location: Columbia, S.C.

Difficulty: Easy

Saluda Riverwalk (River Alliance)

Just recently opened, the Saluda Riverwalk is a lengthy, but relatively easy trail that’s accommodating to all skill levels. Along the trail you’ll find several options for activities including paddle boarding, fishing and many more. It’s also great for an outdoor lunch as the path includes picnic tables and seating. A hot spot in Columbia, this paved trail also includes wooden boardwalks and is good for stroller, or wheelchair use as well. The Saluda Riverwalk is perfect for those wanting a quick hike or a lengthy, scenic trip.

Sulphur Springs Trail (4.5 miles)

Location: Paris Mountain State Park (Greenville, S.C.)

Difficulty: Moderate

Sulphur Springs Trail (sctrails.net)

The Sulphur Springs Trail is among the most popular in Paris Mountain State Park and sees some of the most traffic among trails in the Upstate. It’s a looping trail within the mountains that features some narrow, steep and rocky terrain. It’s recommended to go clockwise along the trail as counter-clockwise presents much more of a challenge. If you’re looking for a decent challenge in the forest, this is the trail for you.

Maps, reviews and more information can be found here.

Pinckney Island Ride Trail (4.1 miles)

Location: Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Difficulty: Easy

Pinckney Island Ride Trail (sctrails.net)

A popular trail in Hilton Head Island, the Pinckney Island Ride Trail offers plenty of great views for those looking to snap photographs along their hike. The gravel, grass and dirt paved trail is a one-way path featuring a variety of wildlife and bodies of water (creeks/lakes). The fall is the perfect time to make the journey, avoiding some of the more humid months.

Maps, reviews and more information can be found here.

Rainbow Falls Trail (4.4 miles)

Location: Jones Gap State Park

Difficulty: Moderate

Rainbow Falls (sctrails.net)

The highlight of the Rainbow Falls Trail is, predictably, the spectacular waterfall that runs down an eye-catching granite cliff. The round-trip trail features a considerable elevation of over one thousand feet. The pathway features long stretches of narrow paths, bridges, and rock stairs making for a well-rounded hike that approaches five miles. This doesn’t require the most experienced hikers, but beginners may struggle with some of the rough terrain.

Maps, reviews and more information can be found here.

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