Greenville, South Carolina
Head for the Foothills!
When it comes to enjoying the great outdoors, Greenville, South Carolina is a natural.
|GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail Rollerblader|
Here’s the simple truth: the natural attractions of Greenville, South Carolina will surprise you. No matter how far you’ve traveled or how many places you’ve been, there’s just no getting around the fact that this place—from its 21-mile rails-to-trails masterpiece called the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail
to a seemingly endless collection of lakes, trails and waterfalls—is one long and delightfully winding road of outdoor discovery.
|Lake Jocassee from Jumping Off Rock|
The gems of the region are Lake Jocassee, Lake Keowee and Lake Hartwell: three of the largest and deepest lakes in the state. Lake Jocassee
is the northernmost of the three, covering 7,500 acres and reaching a depth of 300 feet. Widely regarded as the state’s most scenic and pristine, Jocassee’s cool, clear waters create a recreational paradise.
|Wakeboarding on Lake Keowee|
Separated from Jocassee by a hydroelectric dam, 18,300-acre Lake Keowee
is one of the area’s most beloved recreation destinations. Known for its breathtaking mountain views and crystal blue, warm waters, Keowee also boasts outstanding bass fishing. Checking in at more than 56,000 acres, nearby Lake Hartwell
completes this watery trifecta. It’s one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ most visited lakes, largely because of its outstanding watersports and legendary wide-mouth bass fishing. Word is that fish of more than 20 pounds are fairly common, and snapshots tacked to the walls of nearby fish camps back up the talk.
While the lakes of the region are surely worth the trip all by themselves, the countryside surrounding Greenville is no second fiddle. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the entire region presents itself as an outdoor lover’s paradise. And with three state parks within easy driving distance of the city, it’s no wonder.
|Caesars Head State Park Overlook|
Seated atop the Blue Ridge Escarpment, Caesars Head State Park
is appropriately named for a granite outcropping resembling the helmeted head of the famous Roman emperor. With its panoramic vistas and prime position as a flyway during the fall hawk migration, Caesars Head is a bird-watcher’s paradise. It also delivers world-class camping, hiking and fishing experiences. As part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, its trails connect seamlessly to neighboring Jones Gap State Park
, the 11,000-acre home of scenic waterfalls including Rainbow Falls, and an absolutely stunning 420-foot cascade tumbling from Raven Cliff. The park’s trails frequently flirt with the Middle Saluda River, where more than one weary hiker has taken a cooling dip.
Lastly, no discussion of Greenville’s natural assets would be complete without taking a look at the limitless opportunities awaiting those with a penchant for bicycling. This is the town that 17-time Tour de France veteran George Hincapie calls home, so it follows that the cycling here is spectacular. Whether you choose to head for the hills on one of the countless country roads or prefer instead to chart an easier and flatter course along the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail, leaving your bike at home is one mistake you don’t want to make.