By Alli Hill
South Carolina is widely known for its great outdoor scene, and for good reason: they offer some of the best in hiking, fishing, watersports, and camping in the country. And while many outsiders shy away from South Carolina’s brutal summer heat, fall attracts visitors from near and far to marvel at the beautiful red, yellow, and orange foliage dotting the Palmetto State. And since the temperatures finally start to cool, it’s also the perfect time to enjoy one of these five stunning foliage hikes in South Carolina.
Though dotted with several amazing hiking trails, the Raven Cliff Falls Trail is one you don’t want to miss if you want the best fall views. This four-mile trail takes you over a suspension bridge overlooking the 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls, along with stunning views of foliage throughout the park. Caesars Head is also well known for its overlook at the summit of the Blue Ridge Escarpment that presents an array of color down below.
Partially connected to Caesars Head State Park’s trail system, Jones Gap’s position in the mountain cove makes it an ideal spot for leaf-peeping. Here you have your pick of several trails ranging in difficulty level. The Rainbow Falls Trail promises a sight of Rainbow Falls if you can handle the difficulty. Most of the trails here aren’t for the faint of heart, so make sure you’re prepared to work for your fall color feasts.
For families wanting to catch a glimpse of Mother Nature at work, head to Oconee Station State Historic Site. Two historic structures greet visitors before they embark on a simple 1.5-mile nature walk to the falls. The area is well known for its wildflowers in the spring, but you can catch stunning fall colors in October and November.
This bold, bare-faced mountain gives Table Rock State Park its namesake, but it’s not the only stunning vision here. Locals and travelers alike make it a point to visit the park during the fall to see rich fall foliage abounding at every angle. The park is brimming with trails ranging from easy to strenuous and every level in between. For a good view of the mountain, take the easy Lakeside Trail that’s perfect for families and beginners. Both the Pinnacle Mountain and Table Rock Trails are significantly more challenging, but they each offer spectacular, colorful views that make the extra effort worthwhile.
This mixed terrain park features a 10-acre lake, historical structures, and plenty of beautiful fall canopies to accompany you on your hike. Here you have your pick of several easy-to-moderate trails in the park, each one offering amazing views of South Carolina’s great outdoors.