Explore the most popular camping 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.

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.

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.

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
2 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
3 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
5 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.

Did the trail on 12-19-17. I agree with some of the other reviews of the trail that I don't believe it is a "loop" but I could be wrong as we did not go all the way to the bottom. My girlfriend and I were able to get phone coverage and the GPS placed us on the trail up to the last switchback and then the real trail took us away from the trail seen on the alltrails map which led us to turn around and go back as it was getting late in the afternoon. Overall it was a good trail for all experience types, the waterfall a little off the path but accessible enough to get right to it. May do it again to see if the trail actually loops or empties at another point.

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
8 months ago

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.

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.

Beautiful waterfall at the end. The trail was not long. It is NOT kid friendly!! Just took two 7year olds and a 4 year old and it was too dangerous for them at the end. But if hiking alone this is a really cool hike.

This trail is not in the Ellicott Wilderness. It's about 5 miles or so away from this trail. This is in Sumpter National Forrest.

Beautiful!!!

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.

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!

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....

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.

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.

Falls are off a side trail about half away down the switchbacks. Could not find the loop back trail. After going past it at least .25 mile, we turned around and went back the way we came. Nice trail but easy to go too far.

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

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