It’s a perfect time to travel to a place where you can let your worries about indoor crowding escape into the open outdoors. Allow the mountains and trails and sparkling water to remove the stress of your daily grind. Embrace the fresh air serenity of a beautiful corner of South Carolina known as Lake Hartwell Country…and learn about countless opportunities to enjoy nature at LakeHartwellCountry.com.
This abundant relaxation zone encompasses three of our wonderful state’s counties – Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens – which all border postcard-perfect Lake Hartwell. With nearly 90 square miles of tranquility dating back to the early 1960s, Lake Hartwell serves as a hub for a world of outdoor exploration, adventure, and plain old fun. And being out in the open is a great way to add a little enjoyable distancing to your social activities.
The lake itself is named after Nancy Hart, a fiercely brave woman who defended her family from a British home invasion during the Revolutionary War. She tricked the enemy soldiers into letting their guard down, cleverly took their muskets, and held them at gunpoint until help arrived. Today, the lake provides drinking water for thousands, and its dam generates power for the surrounding area.
Lake Hartwell is bustling with activities, like boating, swimming, fishing, and skiing. Like her sister lakes in the area, Jocassee and Keowee, she also provides opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and nature tours. And each of these reservoirs offers gorgeous, shimmering views in any direction. But there are even more adventures waiting in this region beyond the deep water’s edges.
Few things are more refreshing than a rushing waterfall, and Lake Hartwell Country has more than 30 to explore and behold. In the northern part of the region, you can take in the beauty of Twin Falls, Beech Bottom, or Laurel Fork. Toward the Georgia border, the falls have names like Pigpen, Licklog, and Muika. And further south, behold the rushing waters of Chau Ram, Riley Moore, and Waldrop Stone. Some are tall and powerfully majestic, while others are just the right size for children and pets to enjoy. You can plan your personal tour of the falls using an interactive map with directions on the Lake Hartwell Country website.
If river activities are more your style, you have several options in the area. Enjoy fly fishing on the Chauga in Oconee County, catch the perfect trout in Pickens County’s Estatoe Creek, or choose an entry point for kayaking on the Saluda. And if you’re more adventuresome, there’s white water rafting for a variety of skill levels on the Chattooga or Twelve Mile River. Plus, you’ll find hiking trails traveling alongside some of the area’s most picturesque, winding waters.
Speaking of hiking, Lake Hartwell Country is loaded with both scenic and challenging pathways to explore. Grab your boots and backpack, and head out for Sumter National Forest, Oconee State Park, or the majestic beauty of Table Rock. The Clemson Experimental Forest offers the Fants Grove Trail System and the Issaqueena Trail for walkers or runners. And you can seriously challenge yourself on the Tamassee Knob Trail or the Raven Rock Loop Trail, which features a unique natural bridge. There’s a helpful guide to many area trails on the Lake Hartwell Country site. A day hike is the perfect excuse to put a little distance between yourself and the rest of the world.
Some folks love to experience the outdoors on two wheels. If pedaling is your thing, this area has paved trails and mountain biking parks everyone can enjoy. You can leisurely cycle on the Doodle Trail from Pickens to Easley, hit the hilly trails near Southern Wesleyan University, or put your skills to the test at the Stumphouse Mountain Bike Park in Walhalla. Find even more options, with directions, on the website.
In Lake Hartwell Country, our natural resources define who we are. You can experience incredible environmental beauty in numerous state, county, and city parks, as well as protected areas. Whether you prefer hiking, camping, horseback riding, or a lazy afternoon in a hammock, there are parks and preserves waiting to welcome you. Enjoy kayaking or canoeing in Devils Fork State Park, or venture to Keowee-Toxaway State Park, the gateway to a scenic rainforest in Jocassee Gorges. Rent a cabin at Table Rock State Park, or see the wildlife, flora, and fauna of the Southern Appalachian Mountains at Nine Times Preserve. The options are endless.
If you’re not sure where to begin, consider a scenic drive in Lake Hartwell Country. Highway 178 in Pickens County curves through the mountains of South Carolina and leads to Jocassee Gorges and Sassafras Mountain. You can experience the changing landscape along Highway 76 from Anderson to Long Creek. Highway 28 travels through rolling hills and leads to waterfalls in Oconee County. And Highway 11, The Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, provides breathtaking views of Table Rock Mountain. Whatever road you choose, you’re sure to experience the wonders of nature.
When you’re ready to distance yourself socially, there’s no better place than the great outdoors in Lake Hartwell Country…The Land By the Blue Wall. Plan your itinerary, discover new destinations, read in-depth blogs, and find helpful guides to amazing adventures at LakeHartwellCountry.com. There, you can download the South Carolina Mountain Visitor’s Guide app. Or stop by the Visitor’s Center 120 History Lane in Pendleton. Then, go have fun!