Foothills Trail Through Hike

HARD 44 reviews
#4 of 16 trails in

Foothills Trail Through Hike is a 67.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Mountain Rest, South Carolina that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

67.6 miles
18,274 feet
Point to Point

dog friendly





nature trips







wild flowers



The only way to appreciate the numerous washes, gorges, rivers and mountains is to set foot on this trail from start to finish. This is no walk in the woods and planning should be taken seriously. There are numerous bail out points making it accessible in case of emergencies. This trip will test your backpacking skills and it is worth every minute of it.

1 day ago

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

2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

3 months ago

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.

4 months ago

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.

4 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! :)

5 months ago

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

5 months ago

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.

5 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.

6 months ago

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

8 months ago

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

11 months ago

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.

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!

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Jewel!

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

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:

Friday, January 27, 2017

I love the foothills trail very fun and challenging.

Friday, January 27, 2017

I love this trail, so much to see. Well maintained.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Hiked it back in March, pretty incredible trail. My favorite section is the stretch along the Chattooga river.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Did 28.3 mile section in 10 hours for Make-A-Wish SC Trailblaze Challenge. Great time, great cause, great trail.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Go 2-4 times a year and each time is better.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Did this trail for the NC Trailblaze Challenge for Make-A-Wish. We did 28.3 miles in one day! This trail was beautiful even though it rained.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Did a thru hike of the Foothills Trail last march from Table Rock to Oconee. Like everyone's said, there's lots of water around. I was out for 5 days, unfortunately had a ton of rain for 2 of the days, but still had a great time. I only saw 2 thru hikers and maybe 5 day hikers(all in the same day), the rest of the time, I didn't see anyone at all. This is definitely one of my favorite trails.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

This an awesome hike for the spring. Plenty of water and cool temperatures. Not a ton of other hikers on the trail either.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I finished a thru hike of the foothills trail from Table Rock State Park to Oconee State park for the full 76 miles of the trail.

I was on the trail 5 nights and 6 days. I had some bad weather on my 2nd day through the third day in. The rest of my trip had perfect weather.

The defining feature of this trail all the way through is water, streams and waterfalls are abundant. The scenery is beautiful, containing old growth forests with giant trees, abundant wildlife, challenging terrain, and stellar camping opportunities, especially along the Chatooga River.

I highly recomend a thru-hike of this trail to experience the full essence of its remote beauty and wild character.
I have posted some photos on my blog. See the link below.

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