East Fork Trail is a 3.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mountain Rest, SC that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
I've walked the east fork trail many times. It's probably one of my most favorite trail in northern Oconee. The grade is very good, the trail follows an old road bed for a good ways. At the intersection of the Chattooga trail are some very good camping spots.
Good trail. A nice workout. My 8 & 6 year old did it with a lunch break at the river spot.
This is a beautiful trail along a whitewater stream. Be careful at the start: the trail goes to the right of, and behind the pavilion and not immediately down by the stream. Gentle grades for most of the distance. You can extend the hike by continuing up or down the Chatooga Trail once you reach the river.
We hiked the East Fork as a part of a greater loop that incorporated parts of the Chattooga and Foothills Trail. The parking lot at the Fish Hatchery was our starting/ending point.
This is a very pleasant trail that takes you along the banks of the East Fork of the Chattooga. Since it runs along the river bank, there is virtually no ascent/descent to concern yourself with. In addition to the water, there is nice variety of vegetation and some pretty impressive rock along the way.
Three things that you need to be aware of:
1. Once you walk off of the parking lot and get a few yards down the trail, it is easy to become confused at the junction with the hatchery's loop trail. When you see the marker noting the East Fork trail, turn left. You will think that you are walking into a picnic pavilion, but move forward anyway. The East Fork trail is on the right, well hidden, just before you step into the pavilion.
2. The trail is not cleared often. In fact, we ran into a couple heading back out who warned us of a blockade down the trail. Since they were just day hikers, they simply turned back. When we got to the large tree and all the accompanying branches, we were able to make our way through it, but it would be difficult for anyone with small children or a less than helpful sense of balance (or adventure). This was the most difficult of several obstacles we ran into.
3. For those who are continuing on to the Chattooga Trail, the trail is not well marked. The East Fork ends at the bridge crossing the river. On the opposite side of the bridge there is a large clearing where people often camp. Move through that clearing to about 2 o'clock and you will see a trail heading up the ridge. That is the Chattooga. You will be alongside the river in no time.
Overall, a very enjoyable walk that is easy to get to. Since it is a one-way, you can walk as far as you want and turn around when you have had enough.