Explore the most popular camping trails in Oconee State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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

hiking
1 month ago

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
2 months ago

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.

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.

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

Just got back from another church hike. Hiked from whitewater falls to Oconee Park. Trails in perfect condition.

I took the trail from Table Rock to Laurel Valley yesterday morning 8-3-18 during the rain. The Creeks and Falls along the trail were raging but awesome to see and hear. Crossing points were still safe but reccomend the upmost caution. The sky's cleared by the time I crested at Sassafras overlook. I made the section in 4:35. Looking forward to Hiking the trail all the way to OSP soon.

We did the first 30 miles from Oconee to Whitewater Falls October 2017 in 2.5 days. Pretty cruisy with some great camp sites. Didn't see anyone on our Thursday to Saturday walk. Went back to Table Rock SP May 3, 4, 5, 2018, and finished up the last 48 miles. Sassafras Mt. was closed due to the new tower construction. There was one worker dude up there in a truck hanging out with his girlfriend. We obeyed and took the detour but I wasn't pleased. We finished day 2 with Heartbreak Ridge and I agree with a previous poster on finishing the day with Heartbreaker and getting yourself one of the sweeeeeet campsites by the Toxaway because the next day you got about 16 pretty tough miles to the camp that the Girlscouts constructed close to the base of Whitewater Falls. Hats off to all the Eagle Scouts who did their community service projects on this trail; their everywhere. As for water... it's everywhere.

This trail really needs to be reviewed in sections, preferably from Scott Lynch's book. Some parts are definitely moderate with long stretches of trail that is smooth, easy, and crazy beautiful. Other parts are steep switchbacks with big trees to crabwalk under or scrabble over.
A friend and I did 35 miles, starting at Oconee and ending just before Whitewater Falls. Outrageously beautiful - all the streams and creeks were running, and the Chattooga was raging. Waterfalls everywhere! Mushrooms of all colors, waterfalls of ferns, every moss and lichen, blooming rhododendrons, We were glad we had planned low miles so we could stop to explore and take pictures.
My caution would be that it was hot with very high humidity, and we almost couldn't drink enough water to stay hydrated.
We will be back to do more.

I have sectioned about 45 miles of this trail on 2 separate visits. I keep coming back because I love the area so much. I will say it is a legit backpacking trail and not to be taken lightly if you intend to make a go of it. I agree with another reviewer who said it is hard to rate the terrain; some sections are quite easy and mild and other sections are rugged, steep, and hard on your body whether you're young or old. Of the sections I have done, Oconee to the beginning of the Chatooga river was easiest. The easterly section of the Chatooga and the section from Sassafras to TRSP were the most rugged. Expect slow going through those parts and some sore feet! Be in shape and allow 5-7 days to do the whole trail depending on your experience level. All in all it is really lush and beautiful terrain and there are so many cool trees, waterfalls, rivers, and rock formations to see. Water sources are plentiful in spring. There are no resupply options or town crossings, although there are rural road crossings every 5-10 miles and some very cool volunteer shuttle drivers listed on the FHT website. I highly recommend Jim Simpson, he is the man!! He picked me up on an hour's notice when I had some health issues and had to get off trail for the night.

7 months ago

I am rating this in advance only because I have sectioned much of it already. I am thru hiking it starting in the morning after a quick stop at the rei for a fuel can. wish me luck! :)

well maintained, even with the previous hurricane damage. BEAUTIFUL trail and excellent camping areas.

If you have trouble finding the start of the trail based on this apps directions like I did than drive past the cherry hill recreation center and about a mile or two up the road is a side road to the left named F708. Turn down that road and drive about 3 miles down the dirt road until you see the sign for a campground. Park in the campgrounds parking lot and walk down past the gate towards the campground and go to the very last campsite along the river. There will be a sign for the Chattooga River trail which is the trail you should follow. There will be an area where the trail splits into three directions, just keep following the green and white blazes along the trail until you see the small side trail that leads to the falls. It's not an official path so it is slightly dangerous to trek down but it will take you out right beside the falls which are breathtaking.

In May 2018, hiked from Table Rock to Bad Creek (45 miles) in 2.5 days. I would second everything that Bradley Glenn said in his review here and won't repeat it, except to recommend getting Scott Lynch's little guide to the trail. I kept it in my back pocket and consulted it frequently. In addition to what Bradley said, I would highly recommend the following campsites (2 of which we used, the others of which we saw): 8.6 miles from Table Rock (no name), on Lake Jocassee after Heartbreak Ridge (don't take the first one you see, wait for the picnic tables--the ones closest to the bridge over the Toxaway are best), Thompson River, and Virginia Hawkins Falls. This hike is A LOT of up and down. If you don't normally hike with a stick or trekking poles, you should still use them on this hike if only to save your knees on the downhills. We saw two adolescent black bears on this hike, both of which ran off with a little yelling. Hang your food or bring a bear canister. Expect isolation, at least in May. We had spectacular weather and saw maybe a dozen people over 2.5 days. Thompson River, Viriginia Hawkins Falls and Horsepasture River are perfect lunch spots. If you are following the Lynch 5-day thru hike plan, I'd recommend including Hearbreak Ridge at the end of day 2 instead of the beginning of day 3. You have another long, tough climb already early in day 3 after crossing the Toxaway River, and knocking out HB at the end of day 2 prevents having to start the day with 2 tough climbs. If you want a challenging trail that is well-maintained and free of crowds, the Foothills Trail is a great choice. If you need a shuttle, Google Lake Jocassee Tours and ask for Randy Cobb to shuttle you. Good guy and on time.

backpacking
8 months ago

Love it. My buddy and I hiked it October 2016. Took us 5 nights, 6 days. Not to bad for our ages, 58 and 61. Don’t take the trail lightly, it’s very tough. Would love to do it again, maybe.

backpacking
9 months ago

Through hiked it in 5 days, a lot of elevation change. Not to be taken lightly.

have done it end past 2 years. Going again in April

hiking
11 months ago

I parked at the cherry hill parking site and this trail starts down and across the road. I had trouble finding it at first. Once on the trail there were many fallen trees. I had my dog with and we had to stop about 2 miles in. We could have kept going but after hiking 3 miles on a previous trail and it being in the afternoon we turned back. There are also a few spots that are quite narrow and would be hard to navigate with small children or a rambunctious dog. I'm hoping they clear up the trees and I can go back in late spring/early summer.

hiking
Thursday, October 26, 2017

Definitely not a trail for beginners. That being said its a great trail to push your limits. Well marked and very well maintained. Water can be an issue toward the table rock end on a dry year so recommend getting the guide before taking off down the trail. If your looking for a walk in the piney woods search no further this is for you. Though there aren't as many vistas as some other trails but there are still plenty of gorgeous views and sites to see along the trail. Good well maintained camp sites and the steps. "Oh Thank God (and the volunteers) for the steps on Heart Break Ridge."
Definitely a trail worth repeating again and again.

hiking
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

To clear up the confusion about the area near the "end" of the trail:
You'll reach an area with a creek to your right and several signs and diverging trails. In order to continue on to the bend and awesome view of the rapids, don't cross the footbridge on the right, continue forward taking the trail marked with white and green blazing. You'll follow the trail for a bit above the river and eventually start switching back to descend.

hiking
Sunday, September 24, 2017

We hiked this past 9/22 and 9/23 and man is it tough after a hurricane. Tons of trees down that you have to go around and/or over. Many sections A9-A10 trail becomes invisible. Tons of yellow jackets. This is our favorite place to hike and there are men and women cleaning sections of trail as I write. We will be back in Oct with 30 men from church. Thank you to men and women cleaning trail. All volunteer work. Bless you.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

We take 20/30 men on a church hike twice a year. This trail is as described by many, beautiful and perfect. We usually split up with one group starting at Nicholson Ford Access and the other group starting Upper Whitewater Falls. On the evening of the second day we all get back together at Burrell's Ford. Plenty of water on trail with the exception of Sloan Bridge to Round Mtn Gap. You are walking a ridge line most of the time.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Just finished the Foothills all the way from Table Rock State Park to Oconee State Park yesterday. This is a very beautiful trail with a lot to offer. We finished the trail in four full days and an additional morning. Like others have said on here, there is simply too much to see and too many miles to hike to fully experience all the trail has to offer in this short of a time frame.

I would suggest taking at least 6-7 full days of hiking to complete the trail because a lot of the main attractions such as waterfalls are accessed by hiking spur trails off of the foothills trail in which we simply did not have time to hike due to time constraints.

When it comes to difficultly, it is hard to rate this trail. There are sections that are a lot easier than others, and when I reference these sections keep in mind we hiked from east to west. The two easiest sections in my judgement was all of laurel valley and from grassy knob (starting about 3 miles past upper white water falls) all the way to Oconee State Park. The hardest section was from Table Rock to Sassafrass and from the Toxaway River through the climb to Grassy knob. This trail offers a good mixture of easy and hard hiking but at times it was strenuous for backpacking. This trail is definitely not for those who are first time hikers or those who are out of shape.

Water is abundant on this trail and rarely do you go over an hour without crossing some form of water source. I would suggest buying the comprehensive hiking guide book "Hiking South Carolina's Foothills Trail" by Scott Lynch because it provides a lot of good information on where to camp, mileage and where water sources are located.

Overall it was an awesome experience and I will definitely visit this trail again in the future!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

easy but narrow trail... on the way there you follow the blue marks on trees.....till the end where there are signs and pathways that split to other trails. one of the signs you could not read.....so we turned around.....we did the total 6 miles though but we never found the water/big bend falls....

hiking
Saturday, June 10, 2017

Somewhat narrow but well-blazed trail. Trail maintenance was not a serious issue. Fairly easy with no real steep areas. Very secluded: I did not meet another person on my hike. Big Bend Falls is easier to hear than it is to see.

A Jewel!

backpacking
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Love this trail current scout master troop 429 we will finish this trail this week end as we had to doit in section truly awesome scenery and everyone's friendly

Friday, April 14, 2017

Nice!

backpacking
Thursday, March 02, 2017

I through hiked the trail from Table Rock State Park to Oconee State Park in late February.

The entire through hike is 77 miles (not 67 as listed above), and includes a good bit of elevation change—you'll begin and end around 1200', regularly climb to over 3000' (Sassafras Mountain is over 3500') and regularly descend to below 1600'. There are many sections that are easy, and many that are quite strenuous for backpacking. Water is plentiful, as are camping sites. Thanks to the work of the Foothills Trail Conference, the trail is in great shape and very clearly marked.

For my through hike, I did about 9 miles the first day, 25 the second, 29 the third, and 15 the final day. That was arduous. I had set out to do the trail in three nights, and the next time around, I'll take my time. There is so much to see and so many delightful places to stop and rest. Waterfalls, overlooks, gorgeous streams. It's truly a special place.

Late February was a perfect time and my weather couldn't have been better. Highs in the low 70s, low around 31, clear sunny skies, and no leaves on the trees. Ideal conditions.

My favorite sections were where the Toxaway River enters Lake Jocassee (best camp sites on the trail) and the 5+ miles along the Chattooga River just after Burrell's Ford.

I relied heavily on Scott Lynch's exceptional little guide, "Hiking South Carolina's Foothills Trail."

I posted a bunch of pictures here:
https://flickr.com/photos/58433984@N00/sets/72157677284081154

backpacking
Friday, January 27, 2017

I love the foothills trail very fun and challenging.

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