9 Best Winter Hikes in South Carolina

By Alli Hill

9 Best Winter Hikes in South Carolina

Some may argue there’s no better time to go hiking in South Carolina than the winter. This southern state rarely sees snow or temperatures below freezing, so there’s not much excuse not to enjoy a winter hike in the Palmetto State. There’s no end of things to discover on a South Carolina winter hike, if you know where to look. Start with these nine best winter hikes in South Carolina to chase away your cold weather cabin fever. 

1. Falls Creek Waterfall Trail, Cleveland, SC

Tucked away inside Caesars Head State Park, Falls Creek Waterfall Trail delivers just what it promises—a magnificent cascade at the turnaround point. Caesars Head State Park is a favorite among both locals and tourists, which means it gets quite crowded during warmer months. That’s why winter is ideal to enjoy the falls (perhaps have the views all to yourself!) as well as a short yet sometimes strenuous hike. The effort will be well worth it. 

2. Issaqueena Falls Trail, Walhalla, SC

Located just a stone’s throw from famed Stumphouse Tunnel, Issaqueena Falls Trail offers a short, spirited walk with a waterfall reward at the end. While you’re there, make a pit stop at Stumphouse Tunnel, the remainder of a failed attempt to build a rail line connecting Charleston to the Midwest. Both the trail and Stumphouse Tunnel are completely free to access.

View this post on Instagram

Couldn’t have ended the break in a better way. Thankful for family and thankful for times like these.

A post shared by Teddy Giard (@teddyg111) on

3. Long Creek Falls, Westminster, SC

This one isn’t the easiest trail to navigate since it’s not an officially maintained trail. However, the view of Long Creek Falls makes a suitable adventure for anyone looking to liven up a gray winter. The trail itself is rated as moderate, and will cost you 3.2 miles’ worth of energy round-trip. The trailhead is located off Turkey Ridge Road in Long Creek.

4. Peak to Prosperity Passage, Fairfield County, SC

This amazing rail trail is as beautiful as it is fun. Along the nearly 11-mile trail, you’ll get to cross transformed railroad trestles, including one that spans across the Broad River. The trail also offers a cell phone tour to help you discover more about the surrounding area. 

5. Awendaw Passage, Awendaw, SC

This final section of the Palmetto Trail dead ends at one of the greatest end rewards possible—the Intracoastal Waterway. Just over seven miles, this easy hike is best enjoyed in the winter to avoid the onslaught of Lowcountry bugs and pests along the way. Be prepared for a $5 parking fee if you enter at the Buck Hall Recreation Area—otherwise, your hiking experience won’t cost you anything but time.

6. Foster Mill Trail, Spartanburg, SC

Clocking in at 6.5 miles, this hike is easy enough if you have the time and endurance. Located inside Croft State Park, this trail features several historical points of interest, including a cemetery and old trestle bridges. You’ll also get lake and creek views, as well as views along the ridgeline. If you’re hiking in the winter, these things will be clearly visible without much greenery getting in the way.

7. Beaver Run Trail, McCormick, SC

Loved by hikers and bikers alike, this trail inside Hickory Knob State Park isn’t without its challenges for either group. Over the course of 2.5 miles, you’ll experience slight elevation changes as you take in the lake and other pretty scenery. The reason the winter is the best time to visit is because access to this state park is completely free (good news if you’re tapped out from all that holiday spending!).

8. Magnolia Forest Trail, Beaufort, SC

Located on Hunting Island, the short and sweet Magnolia Trail offers beach views to make your winter day brighter. Known for its abundance of beautiful Magnolia trees, visitors get all the best sights and sounds of Hunting Island and warm up in the Beaufort sunshine.

9. Coquina Trail, Wedgefield, SC

If you’re looking for an in-the-mountains feel without having to travel all the way to the mountains, enjoy a hike around the Coquina Trail. Located in Poinsett State Park, this fun trail is a favorite among hikers and mountain bikers alike for its varying terrain and lake views. This trail intersects with several other trails in the park for those looking to extend their hike.

Subscribe for future Step Outside News!