■ HORSE TRAILS Rocky Gap – Willis Knob Horse Trails
– Trails 6)
Rocky Gap Trail in South Carolina and Willis Knob Trail in Georgia combine to offer some of the most scenic horseback riding in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Winding across deeply dissected ridges, the trails
descend into the beautiful Chattooga Wild and Scenic River corridor. For a fee the Whetstone Horse Camp in South Carolina serves as a base camp for many users of both trails. Earls Ford Road, located near Whetstone, provides a parking area and hiking trail access to the Chattooga River.
Hit the (Foothills) Trail If hiking is your game, then discovering all or part of the Foothills Trail is what you can find in Oconee County, SC. Hikers from all over the country come to enjoy the solitude and scenery of this National Recreation Trail, which was listed as “ one of the best long trails (50 + miles) in the country “ by Backpacker Magazine in 2011. Stretching from its western terminus in Oconee State Park and extending to the north and east for 77 miles to Table Rock State Park, nearly half of the Trail is in Oconee County and can be accessed from numerous trailheads on SC Highway 107 and SC 130. Day hikes of all sorts are possible from various trailheads, including the one in Oconee State Park. Leaving the park a hiker has options of a 4.5 mile or 6.0 mile hike, or a visit to a small waterfall. From Burrell’s Ford a hiker may go upstream along the Chattooga River and find Ellicott’s Rock, the point where GA, NC, and SC come together, or meander downstream with gorgeous views of the rocky 28 • Visitors Guide
rapids and shoals. The USFS parking lot at Whitewater Falls (SC130/ NC281) is the gateway to a 3.5 mile hike along the Whitewater River, and includes the crossing of two 60-ft bridges that span the river and a stroll through an area of tall White Pines. A tremendous viewing point can be reached by taking the Foothills Trail across the highway from Whitewater Falls parking area and hiking uphill one mile to twin benches placed there for the enjoyment of the hiker. After visiting the Walhalla Fish Hatchery, an easy 4-mile stretch of the Trail leads from the Fish Hatchery Road downhill to Burrell’s Ford. Visitors interested in backpacking can launch off from any of the same trailheads as day-hikers and tackle terrain that is rated from easy to strenuous, and allows for camping at most places except along the Whitewater River. The USFS campground at Burrell’s Ford has picnic tables, lantern posts, bearbag cables, and leveled sites. Fishing (with proper license) is allowed in the Whitewater and Chattooga Rivers. If a car shuttle is required, the Foothills Trail Conference maintains a list of volunteer drivers on their website. An orientation map can be found on page 26 in this guide, but more detailed information is available in the “Foothills Trail Guidebook “ and on the Foothills Trail Map, both of which are available at the Mountain Lakes office, 105 West South Broad Street in Walhalla; ordered through foothillstrail.org, obtained at local outfitter stores or at the state parks at either end of the Trail. The Conference may be contacted by email at email@example.com or writing to Foothills Trail Conference, P.O. Box 3041, Greenville, SC, 29602.
Visitors guide to Oconee County, SC, including Lakes Jocassee, Keowee and Hartwell plus the Chattooga River.