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Palmetto Trail
Length 425 miles (684 km) planned
235 miles (378 km) completed
Location South Carolina, United States
Trailheads Oconee State Park
Intracoastal Waterway
Use Hiking and mountain biking
Equestrian on a few passages
Lowest Point Intracoastal Waterway
Trail Difficulty Easy to moderate
Season All seasons

The Palmetto Trail is an ambitious plan for a 425 miles (684 km) foot and mountain bike trail in South Carolina for recreational hiking and biking. Several of the sections are also equestrian trails. It will extend from the Oconee County mountains to the Intracoastal Waterway in Charleston County. It currently consists of eighteen segments totalling 235 miles (378 km). Maps and trail guides are available.[1]

The trail is sponsored by the Palmetto Conservation Foundation in cooperation with the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. The trail has support from the South Carolina General Assembly. Actual trail construction has been aided by volunteer groups, land managers, Santee Cooper, the South Carolina National Guard, and many others.[2]

Mini-Trail Guide

  • The Oconee Passage
This is a 3.2 miles (5.1 km) section of the trail in Oconee County. It descends about 1,000 feet (300 m) from Oconee State Park to County Highway 95. It passes near Station Cove Falls. There is a hiker-only spur trail to the falls. At the terminus of the Oconee passage, there is a short spur trail to the Oconee Station State Historic Site. At Oconee State Park, campsites are available. Hikers can also connect to the Foothills Trail.
  • Jocasse Gorges Passage
This is a 12.5 section of the trail. It begins at Table Rock State Park, goes west past the Wesleyan Camp, and extends in the Jocassee Gorges, which is owned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Campsites are available at Table Rock State Park.
This is 6.6 miles (10.6 km), moderate section of the trail that begins at Orchard Lake Campground in Polk County, North Carolina. It travels southeasterly back into Greenville County, South Carolina. Then it goes through the Pointsett Watershed of the Greenville Water System. It ends at Vaughn's Gap where is continued by the Blue Wall Passage. The trail has about a 900 feet (300 m) net ascent from Orchard Lake to Rocky Spur, which is nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) from Vaughn's Gap. From Rocky Spur, the trail descends about 400 feet (100 m).
  • Blue Wall Passage
This is a 14 miles (23 km), moderate section of the trail in Greenville and Spartanburg Counties. It goes through the South Carolina Nature Conservancy's Blue Wall Preserve. Then is goes through Landrum, South Carolina. Finally, it goes into North Carolina and ends at the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (F.E.N.C.E.). There is a campsite in the Blue Wall Preserve.
  • University of South Carolina Upstate Passage
This is a 1.3 miles (2.1 km), easy to moderate section of the trail in Spartanburg County that goes through the University of South Carolina Upstate campus. It begins at the John M. Rampey, Jr., Center and goes along Lawson's Fork Creek.
  • Glenn Springs Passage
This is a 7 miles (11.3 km), easy to moderate section of the trail in Spartanburg County that goes from Croft State Park through the historic town of Glenn Springs, South Carolina, on continues south toward Union County, South Carolina.
  • Blackstock Battlefield Passage
This is a 4 miles (6.4 km), moderate section of the trail that goes around the site of the Battle of Blackstock's Farm at the boundary of Union and Spartanburg counties. Portions of the trail go along the Tyger River. Campsites are available.
  • Sumter Passage
This is a 14 miles (23 km), moderate section of the trail in the Enoree Ranger District of the Sumter National Forest in Newberry County. It goes from the Brickhouse Recreation Area on on Forest Service Road 358 off South Carolina Highway 66 to Forest Service Road 379 (Franklin Road) near South Carolina Highway 81. There is a primitive campsite about on Indian Creek around the midpoint of the section.
  • Lynch's Woods Passage
This is a 3 miles (4.8 km), moderate section of the trail for hikers and equestrians. It was developed and is managed by the Newberry County Soil & Water Conservation District. The trail is a loop trail just outside of Newberry, South Carolina. Campsites and picnic sites are available. There are additional equestrian trails.
  • Capital City Passage
This is a 7.5 miles (12.1 km), easy, urban section of the trail that goes from Riverfront Park in Columbia, South Carolina to Fort Jackson. It passes by the South Carolina State Capitol and the Horseshoe of the University of South Carolina.
  • Fort Jackson Passage
This is a 20 miles (32 km), moderate section of the trail that goes through Fort Jackson in Richland County, South Carolina. This is contiguous with the Capital City Passage. Much of the trail goes along the southern boundary of this basic training center.
  • High Hills of Santee Passage
This is a 14 miles (23 km), easy section of the trail in Sumter County. It goes through Poinsett State Park, Manchester State Forest, and Mill Creek County Park. In addition to hiking and mountain biking, this is also an equestrian trail. It is contiguous with the Lake Marion Passage.
  • Lake Marion Passage
This is a 25 miles (40 km), easy section of the trail in Sumter, Clarendon, and Orangeburg Counties. It goes along the north shore of Lake Marion, crosses the lake on U.S. Route 301 and ends in Santee, South Carolina. It is contiguous with the Santee Passage.
  • Santee Passage
This is an 11 miles (18 km), easy section of the trail in Orangeburg County. It starts in Santee, South Carolina, parallels the south shore of Lake Marion, and ends in Eutawville in Orangeburg County.
  • Eutaw Springs Passage
This is a 19.2 miles (30.9 km), easy section of the trail that starts in Eutawville in Orangeburg County, and ends on the south side of the Division Canal between Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie at South Carolina Route 45 in Berkeley County. There is a campsite east of Eutawville.
  • Lake Moultrie Passage
This is a 24 miles (39 km), easy section of the trail that goes around the top half of Lake Moultrie in Berkeley County. It begins on the north side of the Diversion Canal and ends at the Canal Recreation Area. It has several primitive campsites.
  • Swamp Fox Passage
This is a 42 miles (68 km), easy section of the trail that starts at the Canal Recreation Area north of Moncks Corner in Berkeley County. It goes through the Francis Marion National Forest and ends at Awendaw in Charleston County. It incorporates most of the former Swamp Fox National Recreational Trail. There are primitive campsites along the trail.
  • Awendaw Passage
This is a 7 miles (11 km), easy section of the trail in Charleston County that starts near near Awendaw and ends at Buck Hall Recreation Area on U.S. Route 17 at the Intracoastal Waterway. Campsites are available at the terminus.


  1. ^ Palmetto Conservation Foundation
  2. ^ Edgar, Walter, ed. The South Carolina Encyclopedia, University of South Carolina Press, 2006 ISBN 1-57003-598-2, p. 699



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