We are surrounded by so many beautiful parks, hikes, waterfalls, and other wonders.
Here are the ones under half an hour to Heart Ridge:
1Eastatoe Passage of the Palmetto Trail This is a wonderful hike along the Eastotoe River. It’s easy and clearly marked. There are several little waterfalls that can be viewed. There are some massive rock faces at the beginning that can be seen. It’s a great hike for children in that there are no steep ridges. There are several spots for wading and playing in the river, too, just stay away from anyone who is fishing. It seems to be a very popular spot for that. It ends at a place where a bridge was washed away. When the bridge is restored, the trail goes the whole way to Keowee State Park. (Of course, you could wade across the river and continue on this trail.)
2Long Shoals Roadside Park This park is very popular during hot summer months because it is great for wading and sliding down a natural waterslide. During summer, try to avoid weekends, and or afternoons and look for less popular times or seasons. These beautiful shoals, which are the rock beds, create a delightful sight even in the winter months. There’s a short hike that goes along the river, but it’s also nice to hike up along the river on its rocky shoals. Many interesting rock croppings can be seen. Obviously, be cautious on the slippery rocks.
3Nine Times Preserve This nature preserve has many trails in varying degrees of length and difficulty. Please see their website to find the perfect trail for you. One of our favorite spots is the one that takes you to Cedar Rock Mountain. There are several trails that can take you there either looping or going up and back. What we like about it, is that at the top is a balding rock with a view, but without having the sudden drop off. The large rock outcropping is fairly safe to explore.
4 Twin Falls This is definitely one of the most spectacular waterfalls in South Carolina. The trail to it is fairly short, .3 miles. There are some parts that are close to steep edges, so small children must be accompanied. There is another Twin Falls trail called Upper Reedy Cove Trail that takes you to the top of the falls which is more difficult and longer. There have been tragic accidents at these falls. Stay off of the rocks.
5Palmetto Trail Head This is just one of many accesses to the Palmetto trail in this area.
6Big Rock Trail To get to this trail you pull into a neighborhood then look for the parking area on the left at the trailhead. This has some beautiful views as your climb along some rock faces.
7 Natural Bridge and Raven Rock Trail at Keowee State Park This is the hike that starts at the visitor center at Keowee State Park. There is a large interactive map that is fun to see as well as rangers to talk to if you have any questions. There are several versions of these hikes you can take. You can look at the map there to decide.
8 The Narrows or East Creek Heritage Preserve Trail This trail is in and out for a total of 5 miles. Not too strenuous as far as climbing high. The view of The Narrows or these waterfalls that go through the gorge are definitely worth it.
9 Beech Bottom Falls This well marked trail takes you up and through the mountains to see the beautiful Beech Bottom Falls. This trail is not for anyone with height issues as the trail winds along some steep edges. Absolutely beautiful views especially in the winter. In and out for a total of 1.8 miles.
10 Sassafras Mountain Overlook This is a great place to get a 360 degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains right on the border of North and South Carolina. It’s the highest elevation in South Carolina. There’s a short walk to get to the platform. It’s a stopping point on the Foothills Trail, a 77-mile footpath between Table Rock and Oconee state parks.
11 Devil’s Fork State Park This is a very popular park, especially in summer. It has clear, blue water. It’s a great place to swim or boat. Unlike Keowee, this lake has very few homes on it. There’s also a trail here.
12 Jumping Off Rock Overlook This is the best place to view Lake Jocasee and surrounding mountains. Most drive to this spot, but there is a long hike that will bring you here, too.
13 Table Rock This park is a lot of fun. It offers swimming in their small lake. Perhaps the biggest attractions are the hikes. They wander past many waterfalls where wading is irresistible. The challenging hike is to make it to the top of Table Rock.
14 Hagood Mill is a historic park with an 1845 gristmill, restored log cabins, blacksmith shop, cotton gin, moonshine still, nature trails, and a gift shop. It offers self-guided tours of these. It is also home to the Petroglyph Site of South Carolina. There’s a 9 hole disc golf course. It features many folk-like festivals.
15 Crowe Creek Landing This is the closest area to launch boats into Lake Keowee--all kinds, there is a nice boat ramp and lots of parking. Great place for kayaking, too.
16 Pickens County Flea Market A traditional country flea market every Wednesday morning. Find local crafts and produce, as well as lots of “treasures.”
17 Bee Well Honey and Downtown Pickens Bee Well honey offers tours and has a shop of all of their local honey products. Also walk through downtown Pickens which has antique shops, coffee shops, brewery, restaurants, and an amphitheater.. Kids will enjoy the Pickens Turtle hunt, where brass realistic looking turtles of every kind that is found in South Carolina are hidden in the downtown area.
18 Doodle Trail and Playground This 7.5 multi-use rail-to-trail that runs from Pickens to Easley. There are playgrounds at both ends and an old depot.