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Day Hiking The Foothills Trail From Burrels Ford To Licklog And Back


Scout
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This past Wednesday, I dropped off my daughter for band camp and then drove to the trailhead at Burrels Ford. My goal was to hike the 8.1 mile section of the Foothills Trail from Burrels Ford to Lick Log, then back to my car for a total of 16.2 miles. I would need to be done by about 4:30 pm in order to make it back in time to pick my daughter up from band practice.

I was on the trail by 8:40 am. The morning was pleasantly cool with temperatures in the upper 50’s to the low 60’s. The weather forecast called for clear skies.

After hiking about a half mile I crossed this log bridge and then arrived at the spur trail that leads to King Creek Falls. The Foothills Trail turns right and begins to climb away from the creek.

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This section of the Foothills Trail parallels the Chattooga River for most of the way. The Chattooga River flows 50 miles from Whiteside Mountain near Cashiers, North Carolina and ends at Lake Tugaloo. It forms the border between South Carolina and Georgia.

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Along the way, the trail passes under several large and impressive rock faces.

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The Chattooga River was designated a Wild and Scenic River in the early 1970’s and is popular for fishing and whitewater rafting. Twenty years ago, while on our honeymoon, my wife and I took a day-long rafting trip on the Chattooga. That was long before we decided to move to the area.

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At about mile 3.6, there is a steep spur trail that takes you down to Big Bend Falls. It’s hard to get a clear picture of the falls without getting too close, but the sound created by the force of the water was pretty spectacular.

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After hiking 5.5 miles, I stopped and ate my lunch here while sitting on a large boulder.

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I arrived at Lick Log Creek, 8.1 miles from the start of my hike, at 12:25 pm.

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I could hear Licklog Falls but I couldn’t see them. I hiked down a steep spur hoping to get a better view, but this was as close as I could get. If I had more time, I would have explored some other options. There’s no doubt a way to get a clear view of the falls without going for a swim.

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After 20 minutes, it was time to turn around and begin the hike back to my car.

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On the hike out, I had a good view of the river from the top of this bluff.

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The Foothills Trail is fairly well marked with white blazes but there are places where it intersects with other trails. At one such junction, about three miles from my car, there was a trail that went to the left and a trail that went to the right. I went right and climbed steeply, all the while looking for a blaze. After about a quarter of a mile, I concluded that I had gone the wrong way, so I turned around and hiked back down. When I got back to the junction, I saw that there was a third option between the two that I had missed.

When I started my hike in the morning, I was carrying a little more than one and a half liters of water. I had finished drinking that and was still feeling pretty thirsty, so I stopped and filtered some water from a creek.

All told, I hiked about 16.8 miles. Fortunately, even with the delay to filter water and the time lost having gone the wrong way, I still managed to get back to my car by 4:45 pm and was only a little late picking up my daughter.

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Nice trip report Scout. I'm not at all familiar with that area, exactly what state were you in? Was that an AT white blaze? We're having phenomenally cool weather in PA this summer (probably just jinxed myself), hoping you're having cool weather too.

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Indeed, the Foothills Trail and the surrounding upstate South Carolina area is rife with excellent hiking opportunities practically hikeable yr round. This is an excellent trail for waterfall viewing and plant enthusiasts who want a less crowded than the AT type hike. The FHT can be lengthened basically indefinitely as it connects to several other noteworthy named trails - Bartram, AT, Chatooga River, etc

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Hi Bobo. That section of the Foothills Trail was entirely in the state of South Carolina, however, Georgia is just on the other side of the Chattooga River. The Foothills Trail is 77 miles long, is marked with white blazes, and runs from Table Rock State Park to Oconee State Park, both in SC. There is a segment of the trail that crosses into North Carolina. The weather this summer has been pretty good. We've not had too many really hot days and we've had some periods of very mild or even cool weather.

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Hi Dogwood. You're exactly right about the Foothills Trail. It has a lot to offer; abundant waterfalls, rivers and creeks, mountain vistas, Lake Jocassee, wildlife, flowering plants, cool suspension bridges, etc...I also like that there are sections of the trail that can be fairly strenuous and challenging to hike.

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Hi Bobo. That section of the Foothills Trail was entirely in the state of South Carolina, however, Georgia is just on the other side of the Chattooga River. The Foothills Trail is 77 miles long, is marked with white blazes, and runs from Table Rock State Park to Oconee State Park, both in SC. There is a segment of the trail that crosses into North Carolina. The weather this summer has been pretty good. We've not had too many really hot days and we've had some periods of very mild or even cool weather.

Thanks Scout. Enjoying your trip reports, keep 'em coming!

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Indeed, the FHT is a mixed difficulty level trail. Some miles are on rather level trail while some miles have a hiker ascending/descending trail apparatus like numerous stairs, ladders, bridges, etc steeper single track etc. Much of the FHT goes through a temperate rain forest so the plantings can be lush. It also can lead to winter ice damage and lush growth that the FHT always needs trail assistance with. For many reasons, IMHO a FHT thru-hike can make a great shakedown hike in prep for a longer hike.

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