Hiking South Carolina: 8 Exciting Beautiful Trails 

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South Carolina is bordered by the blue ridge mountains in the northern part and by beautiful beaches in the east. It is home to many unique springs, creeks and forests such as the bottomland forest in Congaree National Park. This means there is a lot of good hiking options in South Carolina available.

I had the privilege of living and spending many months in South Carolina due to a travel contract. You bet I explored and hiked many places during my time. So if you’re looking for some good trails to check out. I have you covered. Here in this guide I am going to show you some of the finest hiking in South Carolina that will take your breath away. Also, if you plan on doing a lot of these hikes you may want a South Carolina All park passport to give you access to 47 parks and save you some money.

*Note: As always before embarking on any outdoor journey make sure to show good Trail etiquette and follow Leave No Trace to respect others and protect these beautiful natural areas

The view from the top of Table Rock

Table Rock Trail 

  • Length: 7 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 2316ft 
  • Route Type: Out & Back 
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes, on a leash 

Out of the hiking trails in South Carolina we would rate this as our number one. This trail is located at Table Rock State Park and takes you up to the towering mountain called Table Rock. The trail is surrounded by parts of the blue ridge mountains which makes for a grand view. We found the trail pretty challenging; some portions of it require scaling up rocks and climbing what feels like countless stairs. The view is all worth it though 

Rainbow Falls 

  • Length: 4.5 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 1181ft 
  • Route Type: Out & Back 
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes, on a leash 

This trail is nestled in the Jones Gap State Park. It starts off super flat and feels fairly easy to us at first. But about the middle of the trail that quickly changes as you go up many stairs which makes this hike mostly uphill. The top of the trail rewards you with gorgeous waterfalls. There are some areas that make for a good picnic also. 

Standing next to Mountain Lake Dam near Sulphur Springs

Sulphur Springs 

  • Length: 4.5 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 695ft 
  • Route Type: Loop 
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes, on a leash 

I would start this trail earlier in the morning as Paris Mountain State Park gets fairly busy during the day. The trail starts off fairly gentle at first and makes its way to a steady fluctuating Incline. It’s super relaxing as it follows the creek along the way. Towards the end you are rewarded with  mountain lake and sulpher springs. 

Yellow Branch Falls 

  • Length: 3 mile
  • Elevation Gain: 465ft 
  • Route Type: Out and back 
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes on leash some areas may allow for dogs to be off leash

We found this trail somewhat difficult. It does have some steep inclines and down hills but other than that not too bad. The trail offers good shade for most of it nestled in the trees. Also, you can hear the sound of the creek for a good portion which we always enjoy on a hike. It does get somewhat busier later in the day. I would recommend doing the hike in the morning. At the end you are treated with a spectacular waterfall. 

Boardwalk Loop 

  • Length: 2.3 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 13ft
  • Route Type: Loop 
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes, on a leash 

Probably one of the most accessible trails on this list. This trail is really unique as it takes you through South Carolina bottomland forest. Tons of wildlife around, during our hike we saw turtles, woodpeckers, and various birds. If you’re lucky you might get to see a gator also. When doing this hike take in consideration the season. Congaree National Park can flood during the winter and spring so sometimes parts of this trail get immersed in water and are closed. Also, in the summer bring bug spray or buy some at the visitor center. 

Planning on visiting Congaree National Park? Check out our full guide here.

Riley Moore Falls crashing down

Riley Moore Falls 

  • Length: 2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 357ft 
  • Route Type: out and back 
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes, on a leash 

This is a fairly popular trail in the Sumter National Forest. Fairly easier for us, it starts off at a steady decline and on the way back up it’s a steady incline. But, overall the trail is easy to navigate and the distance isn’t too bad. The road to the trailhead is a little rough, we just parked at the lot and walked to the trail head. It gets pretty busy during the day so like a lot of these trails I would recommend going earlier in the day if possible. 

Huntington Beach State Park Trail & Marsh Boardwalk 

  • Length: .3 mile 
  • Elevation Gain: 6ft
  • Route Type: loop 
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes, on a leash

Huntington Beach State Park is such a cool beach park. If you’re by Myrtle Beach make sure to swing by this park as well it’s worth it. This trail is basically two in one recommendation. First up, the Huntington Beach State Park Trail had so much wildlife when we went. The trail takes you next to the beach the whole time so it’s fairly flat, we saw many birds and even got to see a barn owl.  

The second trail is the Huntington Marsh boardwalk which is a bit shorter, just about half a mile long. It is super accessible and very unique to the area. This one is a great one if you have kids. Also, be sure to check out the nature center right next to the boardwalk for a little fun family activity. 

Foster Mill Loop Trail 

  • Length: 5.5 mile loop 
  • Elevation Gain: 423ft 
  • Route Type: Loop 
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes, on a leash 

Croft state park was one of our favorite parks. We did multiple trails out here, this was by far our favorite though. I recommend going counter clockwise and saving Lake Craig for the last part of the trail as a reward. If you want to add a little more to the hike there is an option to take a trail that will take you to Lake Johnson. The trail to Lake Johnson does keep going on for miles so if you just want to see the lake I would go and turn back till you get back to Foster Mill trail. Overall, the hike has some strenuous parts due to steady inclines but fairly easy to navigate.

Making our way up Fosters Mill Trail

What To Wear Hiking In South Carolina

The weather is pretty mild throughout the year in South Carolina. This is what I would recommend to wear in the 3 warmer seasons, not winter. 

Hiking Bottoms

Overall, this is kind of your preference. My legs tend to not get too cold so I lean towards shorts most times but it just depends. For pants I usually wear Columbia Flex Roc Pants or something similar. For women Lissy opts for Prana Halle pants due to their lightweight and ability to stretch. When we wear shorts she likes Eddie Bauer guide pro shorts and I usually just wear a pair of trail running shorts like these from New Balance. Overall, it really depends on what you like and the season.

Hiking Tops 

For tops it just depends on the time and season again. I always recommend a layer because you can always take off a layer. I usually go with a tank or short sleeve. If I know it’s going to be cooler I might opt for a long sleeve shirt. I always like to wear some type of dry fit or merino wool product to help wick sweat off. Most hikes in South Carolina have a fair bit of shade and it can get somewhat humid. For the shoulder season I really like to layer with the Columbia Watertight windbreaker 

Hiking Shoes 

Hiking shoes depend on preference and what side you are on with the everlasting Trail runners vs Hiking boot debate. I use both hiking shoes and hiking boots. Most of the time we opt for shoes, my go to shoe is the Hoka Speed Goat trail runners; they are lightweight and more comfortable. You can read more about our 5  favorite shoes in this article. If I am going to be hiking in more wet conditions and I need some more water resistance and a more sturdy boot like the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX

Hiking Socks

Probably the most important piece of clothing you could wear. I have found very few socks that work better than Darn Tough. If you want to check out some other good socks to wear, view this article we wrote about our top favorite socks. For further help on what to pack checkout our hiking 10 essentials post to get a good foundation and build from there.


These are our favorite trails for hiking in South Carolina. Do you have any favorites that we missed? Let us know down in the comments below 

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