South Carolina has an incredibly diverse range of terrain and wildlife. As well as no shortage of amazing views. So it’s no secret that one of the premiere activities anytime of the year is hiking trails.
From the mountains of the Upstate, to the marshes and coastal wetlands of the Low Country. From beginners to seasoned hiking veterans. South Carolina has something to offer everyone.
Here are some of our favorite South Carolina hiking trails in no particular order. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
First on our list is Table Rock Trail. Located near Pickens, South Carolina. The trail is 6.7 miles long, and is considered heavily trafficked. Table Rock Trail features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash. Table rock Trail is accessible all year round.
We recommend starting Table Rock Trail early in the morning and taking your time if you are a beginner. Trekking poles will help for the trip back down, which is considered the hardest part of the hike. Be sure to follow the red markings and you are good to go. We recommend bringing an adequate amount of water for yourself and any furry friends you may bring.
Keep in mind that this is a heavily trafficked trail, so it can get crowded. Table Rock Trails only drawback would be that it can get congested.
Next on our list is Rainbow Falls Trail. Rainbow Falls Trail is a 4.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Cleveland, South Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate.
The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from September until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
If you want to visit Jones Gap before 2 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays, you need to pay $5 and reserve one of the 30 parking spots available the day before your visit. This parking fee is in addition to the visiting fee. Reserved parking spaces will be held until 2 p.m. Parking spot reservations may be made here: https://reserve.southcarolinaparks.com/mountain-bridge.
Starts off easy when you enter the trailhead, but will quickly get steep as you walk up a lot of stairs. We recommend bringing A LOT of water, especially during the summer. The view of the falls are BEAUTIFUL!
Boardwalk Loop Trail is a 2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Hopkins, South Carolina that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
This park is known to flood, so trails may be closed seasonally. Please check the park’s website for more information: https://www.nps.gov/cong/planyourvisit/trail-information.htm.
Raised nearly 6 feet above the forest floor, the elevated boardwalk winds through a diverse old-growth forest. Use the self-guided brochure and listen for woodpeckers hammering away in the tall trees above. The boardwalk passes by Weston Lake, an old channel of the Congaree River.
Opossum Creek Falls Trail is a 5.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Long Creek, South Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
NOTE: The trailhead is before the parking area and between two boulders. It is labeled.
Beautiful trail following a creek much of the way with a few downed trees to get around but very doable. The trail up to the falls from the Chattooga river was cleared of vegetation not difficult except for one creek crossing as so many websites claim. Hardest part is the steady climb on the way back.
Raven Cliff Falls and Dismal Trail Loop is a 8.8 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Cleveland, South Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Although dogs are allowed on this trail, some users have reported that the trail has ladders and steep rock faces, making it difficult for dogs.
Combining the Raven Cliff Falls trail, the Gum Gap trail, the Naturaland Trust trail, and the Dismal trail for a great adventure! This is a great workout with a tremendous payoff.
Hike trail #11(FHT/Raven Cliff Falls,easy) to trail #13 (Gum Gap,easy). Follow Gum Gap to trail #14 (Natureland Trust, strenuous) over the suspension bridge and down the the side towards Matthews Creek at the bottom. Along the way there is a great break spot on a ledge and the Cathedral formation. This section is very steep going down. Cross Matthews Creek on the cables and start the vicious switchbacks on Trail #12 (the Dismal Trail) back to trail #11 and eventually the parking lot.
This hike is outstanding. Be prepared, either direction this is a hard hike with a well earned payoff.
Falls Creek Waterfall Trail is a 2.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Slater-Marietta, South Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
This a great little workout, a bit much for the toddlers but okay for the pre-teen crowd. The hike starts uphill and stays that way for a good while. There are some flat stretches mixed in and a couple of stream crossings. Being this short the hike reaches the falls before you’re too tired to enjoy the falls and they are beautiful.
You can cross at the base of the falls and hike up the trail on the other side for a great picnic spot. The cables at the base of the waterfall have been removed as of November 2020.
There is limited parking so arrive early! The trail is do-able with dogs on a leash, but may be difficult for some dogs.