East Fork, Chattooga River, Foothills Connector, and Foothills Trails Loop

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Ellicott Rock Wilderness

East Fork, Chattooga River, Foothills Connector, and Foothills Trails Loop is a 8.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mountain Rest, South Carolina that features a river 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.

Distance: 8.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,528 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Please note that the hatchery and bathrooms are currently closed due to COVID 19. This route starts at the Walhalla Fish Hatchery, continues along the East Fork Trail to the Chattooga River, and then turns east and returns via the Foothills Trail. The final mile is along a narrow winding paved road, so watch out for cars.

hiking
19 days ago

Nice hike for the weekend. Started at the hatchery (it is currently closed, as are the bathrooms, but all parking etc is open) towards the river. Along the East Fork was nice. Gorgeous and green. The trail is about one person wide with some water crossing on bridges and stepping stones. Some traffic, and people fishing where the trail touched the river. Recent storms caused a lot of fallen trees, but nothing that couldn't be ducked or dodged. It was neat to see a path where the storm blew through. There was a tree down on the bridge along the Chattanooga as well. The hike on the Chattanooga is beautiful. White sand beaches, and clear deep and shallow water (my Texas tubing did some dreaming). Plenty of campers and camping (hello hammocks!). There's a spur (10 minute hike one way) to Spoonauger Falls. A nice place to cool off, though I did see a snake on the trail back that didn't appear to be poisonous. This area is easily accessible from a roadside campground, so it's active. The hike up on The Foothills Trail almost murdered me. Be ready for elevation climb up to Medlin Mountain (no views other than sky through the trees to tell you that you have survived). I only saw 2 solo backpackers. The last bit back down on Hatchery Road is easy downhill work, but is on the road itself which is kind of a buzz kill. With the falls detour, picture breaks, and some hands-on-knees-heavy-breathing-why-am-I-the-way-I-am water breaks it took me about 5 hours. Even with absolutely no cell service my non-downloaded map on All Trails had to help me decide which trail was correct. Probably saved me from heading west on The Foothills Trail. Maybe someday Foothills...until then, I'm going to waddle my sore body to the kitchen to grab some cake!

1 month ago

This was a great loop. We did clockwise to avoid the extended climb in the middle of the hike. All gain was gradual. We parked at the parking lot at the fish hatchery and had to walk 1.7 miles back up on the road to the foothills trail. Check your map often to make sure you aren’t missing the turns as they are not all well marked. The final turn onto the East fork trail is marked (says “to fish hatchery”) but the actual trail is behind a fallen tree. It was tricky to see and we went a little ways past it on the Chatooga trail and had to backtrack to where we got off track. Beautiful trails with varied scenery.

Fantastic hike. Lots of water. Longer than 8.6. Clocked 10. Well maintained trail. Beaches next to the river were a nice treat.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is totally underrated and is absolutely breathtaking. The river route is littered with little beaches and large rocks to sit and enjoy the scenery while listening to the flowing water. My dog really enjoyed her time on this lightly trafficked hike. I will definitely be back in the near future. The last mile of the hike is on the side of the road so be sure to be watchful of kids and pets. Signage could be slightly better but it’s a large loop and therefore hard to get lost.

hiking
10 months ago

The "East Fork" section is not actually along the river - you can hear it the whole way but can rarely see/get to the water. The sign to veer off and catch the Foothills Connector trail is easy to pass and I found that section of the trail to be fairly overgrown (but still passable). Entire loop seemed like it does not see much use; however all river crossings were in good shape.

hiking
Thu Aug 09 2018

The part along the river is nice, but the poor signage in places and the abundance of downed trees along the trail make it hard to enjoy.

hiking
Mon Jul 23 2018

Nice hike! With the recent storms, there are a lot of trees down across the trail. The stretch with Blue Trail markers is not marked very often, and some of it is overgrown so it can be easy to lose the trail. The majority of it is well marked and well-defined. There are some challenging sections. Can be done as a day hike or broken up into 2 days. There are really nice camping sites along the Chatooga River Trail.

hiking
Sun May 06 2018

This was my first ever hike. It was beautiful, but not a great hike for a first hike. I recommend for someone who's used to hiking and does it often. It's mostly up hill. Had a great time, but won't try anymore hikes over 4 miles anytime soon.

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1 month ago

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8 months ago

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Sat Jan 14 2017

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Sat Sep 24 2016