Taking a Hike on a Perfect Autumn Day

One of the most exhilarating outdoor activities in Lake Hartwell Country is taking a hike on a perfect autumn day in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens Counties.  

Our breathtaking burst of fall colors lasts well into November. Each trail has its own seasonal palette, from the bright yellows of hickory, beech and tulip poplars to the bold reds and oranges of maples to the deep reds and browns of oaks and much more. 

Get started in In Anderson County’s , Fant’s Grove Trail System, part of the Clemson Experimental Forest, More than 35 miles of trails, ranging from easy to difficult, wind through this beautiful, wooded area.  Most trails are shared by hikers, bikers, and equestrian riders, so stay alert. The Fant’s Grove Lake Trail offers a 9.4-mile moderate trek with lake views, a rock quarry, and wetlands, while Treaty Oak Trail is a pedestrian-only, 1.5 mile pathway, near Lake Hartwell.  

Those looking to challenge themselves can try Table Rock Trail in Pickens County’s Table Rock State Park. One of the best-known hikes in South Carolina, it is a strenuous 3.5 miles to the summit of Table Rock Mountain, but the foliage views are more than worth it! More challenges and breathtaking views await at the 4.2-mile Pinnacle Mountain Trail. Looking for more family-friendly trails? Try the state park’s Lakeside and Carrick Creek trails, each with two miles of picturesque forest and mountain scenery. 

Pickens County also offers the Natural Bridge Nature Trail at Keowee Toxaway State Park on Residence Drive in Sunset, SC.  Considered one of the state’s most colorful fall hiking trails, it’s 1.3 miles of moderate-to-strenuous walking that crosses a natural bridge over Poe Creek. This trail ties into the Raven Rock Trail, a tough 4.4-mile loop through the land where the Cherokee once walked with brooks and small waterfalls.

How about some trout fishing with a view in Pickens County?  Anglers up for a rugged trail can discover an excellent, and spectacular fall spot by taking the Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve, a 2.3-mile hike down to the lower gorge area.

Add first-rate trout fishing to your hiking adventures with a stop on the Chattooga River in Oconnee County, easily accessed along the Hatchery Trail, which begins at the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery, a must-stop for fishing enthusiasts. 

Fly fishing lovers can get all geared up at the Chattooga River Fly Shop (chattoogariverflyshop.com), which offers full and half-day guided fly-fishing wade trips, rods, reels, waders, vests, a huge variety of flies, and a comprehensive knowledge of the best local spots.

Oconee State Park is the gateway to several hiking trails among the fall colors.  Station Cove Falls Trail, which takes you by the historic Oconee Station, is an easy walk-through forest that delivers you to a 60-foot waterfall.  It’s less than two miles round-trip, and it’s ideal for families with young children. The Foothills Access Trail is 1.2 miles of moderate to strenuous hiking that leads to beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, which plunges down into the rolling hills of the Upstate.These are just a few of the abundant hiking opportunities available throughout Lake Hartwell Country.  To see a more comprehensive list and a map with locations, click on “Hiking” under the Outdoor section of our website. Remember to be courteous to others, and to wildlife.  Always carry enough water, and travel with others.  Take only pictures and leave only footprints!  And be sure to keep up with us on Facebook and Instagram. You can also stop by our visitor center in Pendleton!

Learn more about Lake Hartwell Country here!

Places to Go, Things to See: