Many parks offer nature trails and some have more difficult hikes. Check out the park listings near your specific Lake Hartwell vacation location.
If you are a “serious” hiker, you may want to check out The Foothills Trail which is a difficult trail that meanders over 76 miles as it follows the NC and SC border, skirting the northern shore of Lake Jocassee. You will see incredible views as the trail goes through Table Rock and Oconee State Parks in SC and Gorges State Park in NC. Go to www.foothillstrail.org or call 864-467-9537 for more information.
The Appalachian Trail is over 2,174 miles long. Go to www.appalachiantrail.org or call 706-265-6278/706-265-8888 for more information.
See Tullulah Gorge State Park which has two very strenuous trails. You can also go to www.localhikes.com or www.sctrails.net.
|Georgia Hartwell Region|
Sandy Creek Park
400 Holman Rd
Athens, GA 30607
On Lake Chapman, opened Tues. through Sun., hours vary by season), park entrance fee is $2 per person (kids under 4 and seniors are free) and disc golf fee is $1 per person. This pleasant park has a beach, playground, fishing pier, tent camping sites, dog runs, picnic area, horse trails, boat ramp, hiking trails, disc golf course, seasonal inexpensive canoe, kayak and paddle boat rentals; basketball and tennis courts.
Watson Mill Bridge
650 Watson Mill Rd
Comer, GA 30629
3 miles South of Comer, on GA Hwy 22
You can see an 1880’s covered bridge while hiking on one of the easy trails that start at the concessions area, picnic area, campsites, horse stalls, horse trails, no horse rentals, bike trail, fishing, canoe and pedal boat rentals.
Hart State Outdoor Recreation Area
330 Hart Rd.
North of Hartwell on Hwy 29, turn left on Ridge Rd and go 2 miles
On Lake Hartwell: 78 tent, trailer and RV sites, electrical/water, 5 lake side cabins, picnic areas, restrooms, playground, 2 swimming beaches, 2 boat ramps, docks, store, canoe, Jon boat and pontoon boat seasonal rentals, fishing, hiking and biking (1.5 mile multi-use trail).
Victoria Bryant State Park
1105 Bryant Park Rd.
Royston, GA 30662
Golf, camp sites, hiking trails, picnic areas, swimming pool, playground.
|Georgia Toccoa Region|
Moccasin Creek State Park
3655 GA Hwy 197
Clarkesville, GA 30523
Near the Lake Burton Fish Hatchery
On Lake Burton, hiking, RV and tent camping, boat ramp, dock, wheelchair accessible fishing pier, playground, seasonal canoe/Jon boat rental and fishing.
Elachee Nature Science Center and Trails
2125 Elachee Dr.
Gainesville, GA 30504
From the North Exit 17 or From the South Exit 16 off Hwy I-985
Indoor nature center – Parking is free.
Trails from 8am to dusk, you are free to use the 13 miles of hiking trails and picnic areas. There are many types of paths that range from a paved path that is great for strollers to a much longer hiking trail. From Mon. to Sat. from 10am – 5pm
The fantastic indoor nature center is usually open to the public for a fee (call to make sure that it isn’t closed for a school group, etc….). I like this center because they have tried very hard and have succeeded in creating a place for all age visitors. In each exhibit there is everything from an educational play area or interactive exhibit for small children to very high level scientific information. In the space room they have an area where children can play with astronauts and space ships on the moon. This room has weight scales that show you how weight changes from planet to planet because each planet has a different gravitational pull. The center also has a live animal exhibit.
Anna Ruby Falls
Take Hwy 75 North from Helen
Only a .5 mile easy paved hike to the double falls overlook. From here you can also hike the more difficult Smith Creek Trail this which is 4.6 miles one way to Unicoi State Park’s Little Creek campground (it is easier to hike down from Anna Ruby to Unicoi).
Unicoi State Park
Lake with a beach, rental canoe and pedal boats, several hiking trails, fishing streams, camp sites, lighted tennis courts, playgrounds, a lodge, cabins and a restaurant. You can hike from the Little Creek Campground to Anna Ruby Falls, it’s 4.6 miles one way (it is easier to hike down from Anna Ruby to Unicoi). There is also a 3 mile trail that goes to Helen.
Tugaloo State Park
On Lake Hartwell
1763 Tugaloo State Park Rd.
Lavonia, GA 30553
Exit 173 off I-85, follow signs
On Lake Hartwell, 108 camp sites, most are on a wooded peninsula with great lake views, RV, cable TV, electrical/water, dump station, store, 20 lakeside cottages (some have private boat docks!), 5 primitive camp sites, swimming beach, tennis courts, picnic areas, playground, fishing, 2 boat ramps, 4 miles of hiking trails, miniature golf, volleyball, horseshoes and seasonal canoe rentals.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
338 Jane Hurt Yarn Dr
Tallulah Falls, GA 30573
A canyon that is 2 mile long and almost 1,000 feet deep, hiking, mountain biking, 1.7 mile paved “rails to trails” bike path, suspension bridge, lake with a beach, camping, swimming, fishing, tennis and picnic area.
GA Hwy 17
Toccoa, GA 30577
Hiking and mountain biking trails.
There are many caves in the mountain made by people looking for rubies, garnets and silver. The caves were later used by Indians to hide in order to avoid following the Trail of Tears and by people not wanting to fight in the civil war.
To find the trail up the front of the mountain take Hwy 123 west from Toccoa, turn left onto Hwy 184 south (Homer Rd), park at voting station on right (it’s a small white cinderblock building with 2 front doors and a porch. A sign on the front gable says Currahee GMD 402). You may see people rappel and hang glide here.
|South Carolina Clemson Region|
Issaquena Dam Trails
Dept of Forestry, Clemson University
By car: The recreation area is on SC Hwy 133 North of Clemson.
By boat on Lake Hartwell: Head North on the Keowee River from Clemson under 123 bridge, turn right into a cove with a waterfall.
Single track dirt bike trails, hiking/jogging trails.
Trail map can be found at www.gcmbc.com/wholemap.htm
Paris Mountain State Park
2401 State Park Rd (off US 25)
Greenville, SC 29609
5 Miles north of the city, this hillside park has pedal boats on lakes, stocked fishing ponds, picnic areas, biking and hiking trails.
175 Riverbend Rd.
Greenville, SC 29617
At the foot of Paris Mountain
Open Sat. 9am to 4pm, call for weekday hours, closed Sundays.
Free petting zoo next to the horse stables, picnic tables, hiking trails, small children can by appointment be lead around on a horse for a very nominal fee, horseback riding lessons.
Oconee State Park
624 State Park Rd.
Mountain Rest, SC 29664
Fishing, swimming, picnicking, carpet golf, boat rentals, RV/tent camping, cabins (most of which are along the park lake and have fireplaces) and hiking trails. They consist of the Lake Trail, which is a 45 min. nature walk around the park’s lake, the Oconee Trail which is an easy to moderate 3 hour round trip hike with lake and beaver pond views, the Old Water Wheel Site Trail which is a moderate 2.5 mile hike and the 3 hour strenuous Tamassee Knob trail, which takes you to the top of Tamassee Mountain and provides great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Sumter National Forest
112 Andrews Pickens Circle
Mountain Rest, SC 29664
864-638-9568 (office open Mon. – Fri., 8-12/12:30-4:30 Hiking/riding trails, fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking and rafting. 15 waterfalls, see website or get a map of the area to locate the trails that will lead to some of them. 350 miles of hiking trails are in this forest. Bikes are also allowed on some trails.
Walhalla Fish Hatchery
198 Fish Hatchery Rd
Mountain Rest, SC 29664
FREE, open 8am to 4pm daily, closed Christmas Day and during bad winter weather
Outside, trout are produced here in support of recreational fishing. For 25 cents, you can feed the fish.
Visitors are welcome to fish in East Fork, which runs through the hatchery grounds, walk around the hatchery and/or picnic in areas provided. Public restrooms are available, the best ones are inside the fish hatchery fence. The best time to visit the hatchery is in the fall, when you are able to see more stages in the Trout’s life cycle.
A Hiking trail is accessible from the picnic area. It follows the East Fork River for 2.5 miles until it reaches the Chattooga River, then you can either go up the river 1.7 miles to Ellicott’s Rock or down river 2.1 miles to Burrell’s Ford Campground and parking lot.
Close by is the Chattooga Picnic Area, run by the US Forest Service, which has a barrier free fishing pier on the Chattooga River and is accessible from the parking lot.
138 Hagood Mill Rd
Pickens, SC 29671
19th century water wheel powered gristmill, cotton gin, 2 log cabins with period items During daylight hours, you can picnic and hike on a shaded trail, over bridges and by a stream. The mill is open for tours, call for times and dates.
Table Rock State Park
158 E. Ellison Lane (off Hwy 11)
Pickens, SC 29671
10 miles of hiking trails, 2 stocked lakes (loaner poles available at the visitor’s center), rental kayaks, swimming area in lake, playground, picnic area, store, cabins and campsites for rent.
The park’s trails start at the small nature center. The Carrick Creek trail is a moderate 1.9 mile loop, the Pinnacle Mountain Trail is a strenuous 3.3 mile hike and the Table Rock Trail is a strenuous 3.5 mile hike to the top of the mountain.
Devils Fork State Park
161 Holcombe Cir
Salem, SC 29676
This park offers the only public access to Lake Jocassee. Camp sites, villas, hiking, nature trails, fishing and scuba diving are popular at this park.
Take exit 1 off of I-85, go about 40 minutes, turn left on Jocassee Lake Rd and go 3 more miles.
Keowee-Toxaway State Park
108 Residence Dr.
(SC 11 at SC 133)
Sunset, SC 29685
On Lake Keowee, hike, fish, picnic and visit the small Cherokee Indian Interpretive Center (FREE, open daily 11am – 12 pm and 4 pm-5 pm) where you can learn about the history and culture of the Cherokee Indians, that once lived in the Keowee Valley. Boat ramp and wooded campsites are available and a 3 bedroom cabin on Lake Keowee with a private boat dock. Restrooms are provided by the Interpretive Center. The parks 4 mile Raven Rock hiking trail is strenuous and takes about 3 hours.
Lake Hartwell Camping and Cabins
400 Ponderosa Point
Townville, SC 29689
3.3 miles North of I-85, exit 11, open year round, extended stay available
On Lake Hartwell: 9 cabins, RV and tent sites, boat ramp, dock, laundry facilities, boat rentals, outdoor pool, tennis, basketball, horseshoes, volleyball, playground, miniature golf, 35 acres of hiking/biking trails, wireless internet.
Issaqueenna Falls and Stumphouse Tunnel
206 N. Church St.
I-85 exit 1 to SC 11, then SC 28 or from Walhalla drive West 6.9 miles on SC 28. Look for park signs.
Free, Open daily 10am – 5pm, except Christmas Day or during inclement weather
Take a flashlight and explore the long dark and a little wet Stumphouse Tunnel whose inside temperature is 56 degrees and it has 85% humidity year round. It’s a nice break from the summer heat. It’s fun, a little spooky, watch your step and don’t wear nice shoes. The tunnel was started by the Blue Ridge Railroad and was left uncompleted around the time of the Civil War.
You can walk or drive a short way to the top of Issaqueenna Falls. Take an easy, very short walk to see the lovely 200 foot cascade. A hike to the bottom of the falls is a little steep, watch your step! There is a picnic area and another hiking trail. Port-a-lets are available.
Lower Whitewater Falls
From Walhalla, drive north on Hwy 11, take a left on SC 130 to the entrance to this Duke Power’s Station
Moderate one hour hike
Chau Ram County Park
1220 Chau Ram Park Road
Westminster, SC 29693
7 AM until Dusk
On Chauga River, 40 foot waterfall, suspension bridge, swimming, picnicking, hiking, biking, tubing, canoeing, kayaking (four major sets of rapids lie within the park waters), fishing and camping.