Kristin already made a post about her favorite trails, and I didn’t want to be left out. So here are my top three favorite hikes.
Stone Mountain Trail in DuPont State Forest is definitely one of my favorite trails. It was one of the first hikes I ever went on, and I still rank it in my top three. It’s got a lot going for it. One, there’s a great view at the end of this pretty short hike. In the winter time you can almost get a 360° view. In any season, it’s perfect.
It’s also a trip with a lot of solitude – one of the things I always want in a hike. I don’t like running into a lot of people. I want to feel like it’s just me out in the woods. With so few (if any) people on the trail, I normally opt for a little nap at the bald up top. It’s a bit of a challenge to reach the peak and in the summer months the warm weather just makes you want to doze off for a while.
Finally, the explorer inside me loves this trail. You can wander around at the top of Stone Mountain and find different views and clearings.
Rim of the Gap/Jones Gap
There are a lot of nice things to see on Rim of the Gap and Jones Gap Trails – views, waterfalls (especially after a good rain), and beautiful rock formations. I think the main allure of this trip though is the challenge. It’s not that it has a crazy elevation gain or is extremely long. No, the challenge on this trail is the technicality of it. The Rim of the Gap section of the loop will have you crawling under rocks, hugging a rock face as you sidestep along a drop, and carefully walking across waterfalls.
With all these challenges it’s no surprise that the Rim of the Gap portion of this hike isn’t frequently used – another plus in my book.
Pinnacle Mountain Loop
Finally, we come to Pinnacle Mountain Loop in South Carolina’s Table Rock State Park. Some of you may be surprised to hear that there are other trails in Table Rock State Park besides Table Rock. That seems to be the only one I hear people mention, but to me, going left at that first fork in the trail is the better decision.
First, you follow a stream for a ways, and if there’s been a good rain the waterfalls will be out on display. The attraction I love the most though is the view at Bald Knob Overlook – the best view I’ve seen in South Carolina. There’s two views really. One looks North East toward Table Rock and the other looks out at the hills and valleys. Both are breathtaking and worth the tough climb to get there.
I say tough climb, but that’s the other thing I love about this trail – I think it’s less of a challenge than Table Rock. It’s certainly still a challenge though, so bring ample water and food.
All of these trails are within a short drive of Greenville, SC (they’re close to Asheville too), but that wasn’t why I picked them. These are three amazing hikes that I look forward to doing again. They run the gamut in terms of difficulty, so regardless of fitness level, at least one of these hikes should be great for you. I hope you give them a try.