Great trail. I left on a Thursday at 6am from Oconee and walked off at Table Rock Sunday at 11 in time for Fathers Day lunch. Day 1, 27 miles, camping bear round too. Day 2 about 22 miles camping in west side of Canebrake boat launch. Day 3 about 20 miles camping just past Sassafras, at the homesteader site. Then the last 8 with some of the best views on Sunday morning. Too many miles on day 1, but if I had not slept in day 2&3, or had not enjoyed a driving lightning storm on day 2, I may have made it in 3 days. That being said, a 4-5 day trek would have been more enjoyable. For my first through-hike, it was a huge learning experience. Saw no snakes, but two bear cubs and a turkey day 1. An adult bear on day 2. More turkey and other wildlife throughout. Not too many people until near Table rock. The early evening at sassafras was emotional and beautiful.

backpacking
blowdown
off trail
1 month ago

What an awesome trail! First of all, I’d have to say that the trail was one of the best maintained trails I’ve hiked in the southeast, though they were a few large blow downs that we had to navigate around. We got picked up by “Taz” (great guy). We got a late start on May 1 and didn’t get to Table Rock until 6pm. With 5 days of food, Our goal was to do it in as many days. We ended up doing it in 4 day. We pushed ourselves, but t was well worth it. What really helped was that the trail was truly well maintained, with very few hiccups. Traveling from E to W made the last part of the trail a breeze.

I see where people are saying that they can’t find the trail. There are two lakes in this state park. If you don’t see paddle boats and kayaks that you can rent, you’re at the wrong lake. Easiest way for me to explain it is to find the putt-putt. Beside the parking area for that you will see a trail that says “waterwheel.” Follow that. It takes you to the lake. Next, you want to go left. I know, there’s a trail to the right. It leads to nowhere. Go left, follow the lake shore, and just beyond the playground area you’ll find the trail.

hiking
snow
5 months ago

We are locals to the area and have hiked several legs of this trail over the years. Yesterday we hiked the spur trail from Caesar’s head to sassafras. We were pleasantly surprised with snow when we started our trip which just added to the amazing scenery. This trail is not for the beginner! It is 14.2 miles with a lot of elevation change and ends with a half mile accent to sassafras. The views,falls, creeks, rock formations make it worth the effort. Start early, wear appropriate clothing, pack food and water and enjoy.

backpacking
5 months ago

Great trail, poor weather. We (gf and myself) hiked NE bound from Oconee SP to Table Rock SP. The trail is very well maintained by rangers and volunteers throughout. Trail paths are very well marked with white blazes. The trail is not riddled with magnificent mountaintop vistas, but then again, this is the foothills hike. Lush forests, green canopies, crystal clear streams, waterfalls, and rewarding climbs are just a few of the scenes you can expect to witness. Vista views are present and gorgeous at the Table Rock/Pinnacle Mountain descent. There are a few miles in the Gorges Area with bridges and stairs coated in algae or similar slimy accumulations which make passing a bit precarious. In addition, crossing the Whitewater River takes some considerable effort. The bridge does not completely extend from one shore to the other and forces hikers to shimmy across a large 10’ boulder before tossing their pack onto the bridge over a 2-3’ gap giving way to the torrent below. We started the day prior to a winter storm blowing in and felt the repercussions, facing 4+ days of persistent rain, whipping wind, and temperatures in the 30/40’s. On day 4 all of our belongings were sopping wet, and the food that we had would not last the duration of the trip. Luckily, we were able to reach out to a true trail angel- “Taz” - from the Foothills Conservancy website. This godsend of a man picked us up, fed us, allowed us the use of his shower and washer/dryer, and took us to Dollar General for a resupply. That small reprieve renewed our spirits and allowed us to complete the journey. While I do wish the weather had been sunnier, I truly enjoyed the experience and would consider hiking the reverse in future years.

backpacking
bridge out
icy
5 months ago

Oconnee to Sassafras, late January. Made good 12 mile days, 5d 6n. 22f and 18f first nights, then warmed to above freezing. This pacing let us enjoy nice camping along many of the beautiful river junctions, excepting one night at Coley high up with amazing vista and stars. Setup camp just before rain fell near Toxaway bridge, on the lake. Rained hard from 8pm to 12pm the next afternoon. Might be a factor of the valley there to consider, with the high and long eastern ridge not allowing the sun to dissipate the clouds until it was straight up. However this half day of hiking dropped us right into Laurel Fork Falls that night, camping right on top. Be very careful here! Due to rain and other variables we left the next day on Mt Sassy where we'd left a car already. Overall very beautiful winter hike. Gorgeous rivers and falls. Super abundant water sources and camp sites. Provided a nice blend of challenge and ease. Highly recommend the guide by Scott Lynch, which made planning mileage very simple.

backpacking
6 months ago

Great trail and it gives all the experience of the best of the Foothills mountains. It goes through some super remote places and I've been out on the trail for days, not seeing another person the entire time. It has lots of big climbs and drops so I wouldn't over estimate your miles if you aren't in decent shape or don't plan on waking up early. One super important detail for trip planning is that in certain sections it's very tough to find campsites. From upper whitewater to Laurel valley falls and then from 178 to Sassafras I would only plan on camping at established sites that you know are there. I've made the mistake of planning for a certain amount of miles and not for a campsite and had to walk an extra 45 min just to find a site.

Wonderful well maintained trail. Plenty of clear, beautiful water consisting of streams, rivers, springs. Lots of up and downs. Feels remote most of time. We saw a bear. You must hang bear bag all year round; the bears do not hibernate here. We were out for 9 nights and ten days. We took our sweet time to go down spur trails to see the many waterfalls and we bathed in some to quell the hikers stench. In early December, we saw only 4 other backpackers along the 77 miles we hiked. We had beautiful weather the first 6 days, high 50’s highland high 30’s low. Then 3 days rain followed by cold front and a last cold sunny day. All in all not bad weather. The Foothills Trail conservancy as done a wonderful job keeping this trail in beautiful shape. Thank you to all of the trail maintainers for keeping the trail clear of tree falls and thanks to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for the improved camp sites and resting benches.

hiking
over grown
9 months ago

This was day one of a through hike. The foliage was pretty high but over all good.

Three of us hiked this as a part of a 26 mile section of the FHT. We started at Oconee Station falls entrance and hiked up to Oconee State Park on the Palmetto Trail then began the FHT and on to Burrells Ford, then took the East Fork trail to the Fish Hatchery to finish. It’s a challenging 26 miles but beautiful section along the Chattooga and East Fork rivers! We spent two nights hammock-camping with our first night being about a half-mile down off of hwy 107 next to a nice creek that they have installed a cistern in for collecting drinking water. (Use filter or treatment). We continued on the FHT to Burrells Ford and spent the second night there along the Chattooga river. Then on to the East Fork trail to finish the third day. Awesome!

hiking
bugs
rocky
10 months ago

hiking
Sun May 19 2019

We started at Table Rock, wanting to hit the worst of the elevation in the first days. We left mid-day Friday and pounded out 17.5 miles before dark. The first part of the trail out of Table Rock was shaded and cool with plenty of water but with the climb comes more heat and sun and less water. The new lookout platform on Pinnacle is worth a quick stop for sure. We camped in Laurel Valley the first night at a makeshift site on the side of the trail. The second day we did about 21 miles and made it in and out of Gorges and to Bearcamp Creek. Heartbreak Ridge is the least of your worries! Budget some time to relax by the lake and cool your feet in the Toxaway River. Day 3 was 22 miles to Burrell's Ford campground (0.3mi detour off trail; bear hangs and toilets present) after a lovely walk along the Whitewater River (and a perhaps slightly less lovely climb out of the valley). This left us about 17 miles for the last day -- the first section of this was along the Chattooga where there are many idyllic campsites worth a stop. The last section into Oconee was the least pleasant of the hike, being dry and hot with some areas of significant prior fire damage. Upon completion we realized we had left our car in the wrong lot (we dropped off at night and so did not know exactly where to drop the car) and had an extra mile to our car -- be sure you part at the trail terminus for sure! This was very doable as a 3.5 day hike but 4-5 days likely makes more sense and would give you a bit more time to enjoy the lovely campsites and water sources all along the trail. The trail is very well marked and easy to follow but you can get maps and books that outline the trail in detail and are great for planning and emergency use. Water is never an issue and we rarely carried more than a liter at a time (some of the higher elevation points lack water sources so a carry what you are comfortable with); likewise, most campsites are near water. This hike has a lot of elevation and you will be benefited if you do a shakedown of your gear before you leave -- just bring what you really need and keep it as light as you can. We left Table rock with 30 pounds between the two of us, and 13 of that was food and water. If you can keep your pack light you will be able to cover more ground with less fatigue. With less gear you can shed the lead weighted boots and trade them in for a nice light pair of trail runners -- they will give you a whole new appreciation for hiking. I should also put a plug in for using hiking poles -- really help on the climbs on this trail. As other reviews note, there are plenty of road crossings and access points so you can do this trail all at once or in sections as you see fit. The Chattooga section, in particular is prime for some R&R by the river with beach and woods based sites. We saw a huge amount of wildlife -- birds, amphibians, and reptiles mostly. Sadly no bears on our trip but they are around so hang or cannister your food. I did not mark water sources (they are everywhere) but I tried to mark as many sites as I could -- see my recording. The boy scouts have done an admirable job improving many sites, particularly between Table Rock and the whitewater river area. Finally, a plug for the foothills trail conservancy (www.foothillstrail.org) which has done an amazing job with this trail and the surrounding environs. They have trail maps and resources on their site to help you plan. Join and submit your hike to them you can become a member of the Order of the Peregrine! Enjoy.

Started 3 years ago with some friends and did the first 50 miles from table rock to a big waterfall. Gearing up to do the last 20 or so miles this weekend. I'm looking forward to getting back out in it and enjoy all the beautiful sights nature has to offer. The trail is tough and very challenging at times, but there are plenty of water sources along the way. My favorite memory is of the minnows nibbling my toes as I soothed them in many of the ice cold streams along the trail.

This Foothills Trail sections A14-A13. Although it is perfect for a point to point trail due to a very small parking lot at the Jumping Branch (A13) trailhead I did it as an out and back starting at Oconee State Parks (A14) due to its much larger parking lot. If you are only interested in a point to point trip and have a great support transportation system, have them drop you off at A13 and travel the trail down to A14 (easier of the two-ways). Overall, the trail was easy to follow, well marked with white blazes, and mostly maintained. There were a few blow downs that had to be dealt with and was easier to climb over them. Despite being the great overall conditions, you need to be mindful of your footing as some areas are narrow and would be easy to slip down into a ravine. There were several stream crossings and the water appeared to be clear and could be used an emergency water source (with proper purification) and two backcountry campsites. All these items are marked as waypoints on my recording. Overall, a great hike that I would rate as moderate difficulty.

hiking
blowdown
bugs
muddy
rocky
scramble
Mon Apr 29 2019

This trail is beautiful and amazing just make sure you check conditions as they have had record breaking rain in both 2018 and 2019.

What a great trail! Lots of everything. Did it in five days.

Just hiked the first six miles and back. Enjoyable if unspectacular hike if you’d like to get some mileage and are in the area. Plenty of opportunities to add spurs or go point to point for a more scenic hike. Hidden Falls is a fairly short spur trail with a waterfall that may be worth taking.

hiking
Thu Jan 31 2019

Short hike but brush was up and was worried about snakes although I didn’t see any.

Fantastic trail. Did an overnighter with my daughter, then 12. Went from Upper Whitewater Falls to Burrell's Ford Rd. Highly recommended.

hiking
Mon Nov 26 2018

Went day after Thanksgiving for a short hike and took our dog. They have had a lot of fallen trees and brush; most which had been cleared, but not all. This trail had very little traffic and with the fallen leaves we had to look for markers, some were missing or far apart. Apart from the part of the trail near Foothills Trail, we were able to let our dog run free. There was no one in site. The trail is rated easy but there are two or three areas that have some log steps and have at least a 10-12% elevation for over 1200 ft. A moderate rating seems more appropriate. It was a nice, uncrowded, wooded walk. We enjoyed the nice short hike.

hiking
Sun Nov 18 2018

The directions link took me on a wild goose chase inside of Oconee State Park. We did find a lake but we did not find any specific trail that went around the lake.

Sun Nov 18 2018

The water Wheel has the remnants of stone and that was interesting, however there are absolutely no lake views and the trail in general was a bit boring. There are quite a few blow downs which were a little hard to cross. Note: to use this trail you park at the trail head in side Oconee State Park. There is a five dollar fee per person to get in. A more interesting trail is the Hidden Falls Trail Which goes to the left instead of the immediate right out of the parking lot.

hiking
Fri Oct 26 2018

We just went got back from what we thought would be a thru hike but weather was about to set in and I am more of a fair weather hiker. Overall the trip was great. We went from Oconee and made it to upper whitewater fall. Called Jim Simpson who was a saint and took us back to our car. Definitely will do this hike again and try to finish it. My hats off to all those people who maintain the trail. Overall it was in good condition

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