Plan a Spring Escape to Lake Hartwell Country

And just like that, the abundant fresh signs of spring have swept winter away from Lake Hartwell Country. Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens Counties are once again alive with a symphony of sights, sounds, and activities awaiting your arrival. It’s time to venture outside and explore all the wonders this slice of heaven presents for you to behold!

The mountains, rolling hills, lakes, and forests of Lake Hartwell Country are flourishing with 1000 shades of green. New leaves and buds are emerging from tree branches and ground cover in all directions, blanketing the landscape with gorgeous color. Every imaginable hue of this season of renewal is on display, and you’re invited to wander through Mother Nature’s amazing, artistic canvas 

Botanical Gardens

Trees blossoming in April include pink and white flowering dogwood, cherry, and several species of magnolia. Daffodils add splashes of vivid yellow all around, and azaleas are bursting forth with a palette ranging from fuchsia to coral to snow white. Jasmine and honeysuckle are flourishing, along with countless other wildflowers. And it’s hard to miss the rhododendrons that enhance the walkways through these forests we love.

Nothing shows off the splendor of this season better than a hike on one of Lake Hartwell Country’s many nature trails. A nice place to start is Station Cove Falls Trail at the Oconee Station Historic Site.  This easy 30-minute hike is a showplace for an array of wildflowers, including pink lady’s slipper orchids, as you meander to a magnificent, 60-foot stepped waterfall. Along your way, you can see beaver ponds and rare plant life that grows in the spray of the falls. Station Cove Falls Trail is among the most beautiful wildflower trails in the area, and a treat for nature lovers.

Yellow Branch Falls

Among the most popular hiking areas is Yellow Branch Falls Trail near Walhalla. This is a moderately challenging 3-mile hike, but the payoff at the waterfall is well worth the effort. Start your adventure at the picnic area off Highway 28 and take the connector the main trail toward the 50-foot falls. Along the way, you’ll see numerous wildflowers in the hardwood forest and cross several streams. Bring sturdy shoes and be careful along this beautiful trail.

Another great spring hiking option is the Raven Rock Loop Trail in Keowee-Toxaway State Park on Highway 11 near Sunset. This picturesque loop is just over 4 miles and takes a little over two hours to walk, so be ready for some exercise. You’ll cross a natural granite bridge over Poe Creek and climb gradually to the peak before descending toward Lake Keowee. You’ll see spring blossoming everywhere among the trees, rocky outcrops, and lakeside shoreline. You’re sure to encounter other hikers, and dogs are welcome to explore the trail with you.

For more ambitious hikers, The Table Rock Trail in Pickens County will get your heart pumping. This challenging trail is nearly 7 miles of rugged adventure. It’s a popular area, so you’ll have lots of company along the way. Blooming wildflowers and greenery are everywhere, along with streams and small waterfalls. You’ll navigate uneven rock stairs, roots, and rocky areas on your way up the mountain, but the views are worth all the effort. The panoramic view at the peak is breathtaking!  Allow about half a day to complete your hike and be sure to bring plenty of refreshment.

Historic Pendleton Spring Jubilee
Historic Pendleton Spring Jubilee

Looking for a little local culture in Lake Hartwell Country? The Historic Pendleton Spring Jubilee takes place April 2nd and 3rd at The Village Green. This family-friendly exhibition, just below the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is Upstate South Carolina’s oldest juried arts and crafts festival. 

Now in its 45th year, the Spring Jubilee began in 1978 as a kickoff event for the tourism season in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens Counties. Artwork categories on display include painting, pottery, metal work, photography, glass, and jewelry. Enjoy delightful musical entertainment and food vendors with crowd favorites all weekend as you see the skills of professional artists and crafters.  This event is free to the public on Exchange Street in downtown Pendleton.

The colors and flavor of spring are everywhere, so take a day trip to enjoy nature’s bounty. Whether you choose a drive on winding roads, a casual walk on an easy trail, or a hike that provides a workout, April is sure to provide a feast for your eyes. We featured a few of the more popular trails here, but there are so many more to explore. This is an excellent time of year to take in the vast variety of flora and fauna our area has to offer. Bring some friends or family, your camera, a few snacks…and your sense of wonder. Lake Hartwell Country is in full bloom, and it’s amazing! 

For more information, take a look around our website or keep up with us on Facebook and Instagram. Lake Hartwell is proudly supported by Discover SC. You can also stop by our visitor center in Pendleton!

All photos courtesy of Lake Hartwell Country

Places to Go, Things to See: