Established in 1994, The Palmetto Trail was named for South Carolina’s nickname, The Palmetto State, and is meant to “inspire active, healthy living, and to showcase the state’s diverse natural beauty and history.” It’s one of only 16 trails in the country to traverse an entire state, connecting the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. The trail itself can be reached within two hours from anywhere in the state, with options for hiking, biking, or horseback riding. Most recently, plans to extend the Palmetto Trail up to Walhalla, SC will add approximately 16 extra miles to the trail. The Palmetto Trail currently has 350 miles of completed trail with 26 passages that range from 1.3 to 47 miles. The Palmetto Trail has historically significant landmarks like the Cowpens National Battlefield and Camden Battlefield where battles of the Revolutionary War took place.
South Carolinians love the Palmetto Trail and are dedicated to seeing the completion of the trail’s 500 planned miles. The RJ Rockers Brewing Company in Spartanburg, SC partnered with the Palmetto Conservation Foundation to create The Palmetto Trail Pale Ale. This is a “pale, lightly hopped American Pale Ale that’s then dry hopped with a heavy dose of Citra and Amarillo hops” which basically sounds like the most refreshing and perfect thing to sip after a day hiking on the Palmetto Trail. Sales of The Palmetto Trail Pale Ale will go towards the Palmetto Conservation Foundation as part of the “Finish the Trail” campaign. This month, we’ve rounded up some must-hike spots for our TT campers to explore. Check it out below!
Swamp Fox Passage
The longest section of the cross-state Palmetto Trail is Swamp Fox Passage. This 47-mile passage takes you through four distinct ecosystems, through Francis Marion National Forest, and is a relatively flat, enjoyable section, suitable for all hiker levels. Swamp Fox Passage can be accessed from three different trailheads, any access point being an enjoyable trip for all, and is located approximately 90 – 120 minutes from The Oaks at Point South RV!
The Awendaw Passage is a 7-mile, single passage section of the Palmetto Trail. As you follow the The Awendaw Passage, which follows the creek of the same name, you will wind along a salt marsh. At the Buck Hall Recreation Area trailhead, visitors are greeted by the famous palmetto trees, the symbolic tree featured on South Carolina’s state flag. Buck Hall also has camping opportunities as well as great camp views. Don’t miss a scenic overlook and boardwalk at Walnut Grove. Awendaw Passage can be reached via US-17 N.
Lake Moultrie Passage
Around the eastern and northern shores of a 60,000 acre lake is the Lake Moultrie Passage. This 28.4-mile point to point trail is located near Bonneau, SC and is popular for good reason! This passage is very scenic, offering panoramic views of the lake and Francis Marion National Forest. The Palmetto Conservation Foundation recommends that a short hike from the Hwy 52 trailhead, opening up to the Pinopolis East Dike is a perfect place for catching spectacular sunsets. Lake Moultrie Passage can be accessed via I-95 N from The Oaks at Point South RV. If you’re splitting up the Lake Moultrie Passage into two days, consider taking I-26E from Carolina Landing RV Resort.
Capital City Passage
At least one part of the Palmetto Trail passes through an urban part of South Carolina, Capital City Passage, the first urban passage on the Palmetto trail. This part of the trail follows city sidewalks through downtown Columbia, SC and features walks through beautiful neighborhoods, city parks, and local schools. You can spend all day on this section of the trail! With restaurants and shopping, Capital City Passage is a nice relief from the swampiness of the Francis Marion National Forest. Capital City Passage links Fort Jackson Passage to Riverfront Park and the Broad River. Columbia, SC is located two hours east of Carolina Landing RV Resort and just under a two hour drive from The Oaks at Point South.
Have you ever hiked a section of the Palmetto Trail or tried The Palmetto Trail Pale Ale? If so, tell us about it in the comments!