Explore the most popular backpacking trails near Mountain Rest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

There are some well established camp sites right at the beginning of the trail, once I got past those it was complete solitude. Saw 3 people over 24 hours. Trail itself runs along the Chatooga and there are about 6 dispersed camping sites Allen g it’s banks. There aren’t any huge inclines/declines but plenty of fallen trees, washed out trails, etc to keep you on your toes. Would recommend it for those looking to get away from the crowded North Georgia areas.

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.

After hiking the Foothills Trail four times I have seen this one enough. Besides I like Upper Whitewater Falls better..

Great trail with scenic views. Only did 8 miles and back. Found several great spots to fish and swim in the river. Several campsites located along the river. A few trees had fallen along the trail, but they were easy enough to step over or crawl under. A very small portion has been washed out along the river bank but it wasn't dangerous. I highly recommend it for camping. Overall not difficult, would be good for all skill levels.

The trail was in overall great shape. We hiked four miles in hoping to find big bend falls. It’s practically non-existent, we couldn’t find it and the trail boss said it’s really hard to find and not worth seeing. We ended up setting up camp about 4.2 mi in from the Burrell ford parking lot on a GREAT beach spot. Hiked back out the next day and stayed at the campgrounds there which were in good shape. Fishing was decent. Water was great for swimming. All around awesome. Definitely make sure you hit kings creek fall while you’re there it was the highlight to the trip.

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.

backpacking
3 months ago

The trail is lovely and not too difficult. It was a perfect first backpack trip for my 10 year old. For a mid-week trip, the trail was pretty busy and there was one large group of backpackers that left a lot of trash... There is a small section of the trail along the river that is washed out and would be more than a little challenging in higher water. We also encountered a few snakes and I nearly stepped on a copperhead in the middle of the trail. The highlight? Seeing otters playing in the river while eating breakfast.

Gorgeous river and waterfalls. Great swimming holes at the base of the initial decent. However this trail does not allow camping due to whitewater corridor protection (the reason for the 3 star rating). However we hiked to Thompson river, 2.7 miles past the turnaround. This was a spectacular 4 star hike. Next time we will start at Bad creek parking to get to Thompson river. (A lot of ticks in June!)

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! :)

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

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
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.

We parked @ Sloan Bridge and hiked to Burrell’s Ford and back. Consider doing the reverse if you want the more moderate hike the first half and don’t mind driving down the gravel road to Burrell’s Ford to start. Spectacular Spring day. Chattooga River was rushing. Fresh, new green growth and wildflowers abounded. Sections with lots of roots but others covered with easier pine straw. Great views along the way. Trail well maintained.

backpacking
6 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

A nice, enjoyable hike. We parked one vehicle at Oconee State park and then drove other vehicle to pull off at Jumping Branch Trailhead. Got on the trail at Jumping Branch and traveled to Oconee. Distance is 4.6 miles.
If you have the time, take the side trail to Hidden Falls. It's worth the extra couple miles there and back.
Once finished Hidden Falls and heading back to Oconee State Park you will hear some rushing water off to your left. There is a smaller cascade just a very short distance off the trail. Super easy to walk to and it's a pretty cool little cascade where the water comes down a small rock face and then goes underground. It really is pretty cool.
All total from Jumping Branch with side trail to Hidden falls and to Oconee State park was around 6.6miles.

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
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!

I only got a few miles in, but I had kids. I didn't want to turn them against hiking. I think it's a great hike though and if u get hot take a dip in the ice cold mountain water. I camped here once before and loved it.

fishing
Friday, July 28, 2017

Camped 2 nights on the river. Did some fishing. I'll use this trail again.

hiking
Monday, July 10, 2017

Great well marked trails nearby, this one was temporarily closed.

Trail was difficult to follow but worth every minute!

A Jewel!

This is a great day-hike trail. It has a bit of an anticlimactic finish, but the views along the flower lined river are great the whole trail. Be prepared, though. The trail gets a bit narrow after the bridge. It also has quite a few downed trees and some slippery spots after some rain.

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

hiking
Saturday, April 29, 2017

My favorite section of this trail by far. Stays w/ the river all the way w/ some great swimming holes. Not a lot of trash or people to run into and not very strenuous. Check out spoon auger falls at burrell's ford on the way back to finish the trip.

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