As the temperature becomes cooler and the leaves begin to change into vibrant hues of red, purple and orange, fall paves the way in the Upstate and becomes an outdoor paradise. The wet summer has supplied waterfalls with plenty of water to cascade over rocks and rush along streams. And as thick tree canopies begins to shed their leaves, the mountain views become clearer and more expansive, making fall a great time in the Upstate to go hiking. Here are four area hikes where you can view fall colors in their entire splendor.
Falls Creek Falls
Part of the 11,000-acre Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, it’s named for the two watersheds that are within its boundaries. Mountain Bridge is considered the best hiking destination in South Carolina as it contains the most extensive trail system in the state. Don’t let the short distance of 1.2 miles at Falls Creek Falls one-way fool you, this is one grueling hike. The almost 600 feet in elevation change is significant and at times you will be climbing up tree roots. But the 100-foot waterfall at the end is spectacular and the mountain views as you climb make it all worthwhile.
Paris Mountain-Brissy Ridge
Paris Mountain is easily one of Greenville’s greatest assets. The close proximately to downtown Greenville makes this 1,540-acre park a nice family getaway, a place for a Sunday afternoon picnic or as an after work retreat. The park features over fifteen miles of hiking/biking trails along with camping, fishing and boating. With steep hills and twisting corners, the Brissy Ridge trail offers a challenging hike with great mountain views, especially in the fall and winter months, and is easily accessible.
Nine Times Preserve
This is Pickens County newest trail and is a bird lovers’ paradise. Over 110 species of birds have been logged in this 560-acre preserve since the new trail opened in mid-2012. The area is also considered to be the most biologically significant areas in the southeast with over 134 species of native wildflowers, 130 different trees, and seven distinct forest types and is home to black bears, turkeys and peregrine falcons. The trail at Nine Times leads along old logging roads and up over a small mountain area and offers great views of the surrounding area.
Chau Ram County Park
This park is considered one of Oconee Counties best kept secrets. Hidden away in Westminster, even some locals don’t know this park exists. This little gem offers waterfalls, sandy beaches for swimming and 4 major sets of rapids for kayaking, canoeing and tubing. Just off the parking lot is Ramsey Falls, a nice 40-foot waterfall. There are several other waterfalls downstream and Chau Ram features the longest suspension bridge in Oconee County.