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Foothills Trail in South Carolina


kilobravo
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Has anybody on here hiked this trail, my wife and I have done portions of it and we plan on doing the entire 80 miles this coming May 2015. We have a 5 year old that loves to hike as well but we are gun shy about taking him if we did that we would have to do it in sections. We already have logged a great amount of miles already in the Carolinas but we really want to do this hike it would be our first 6-7 day hike. I was just wondering if anyone had any tips or suggestions to offer about the hike, all info welcome.

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http://www.foothillstrail.org/

Consider the spurs for added scenic interest. Do check out the many waterfalls; some are also on short spurs. If you fish or are interested in history check out the Walhalla Fish hatchery. If you enjoy hiking along scenic rivers wanting more of it along the Chatooga River consider a short Foothills Tr alternate by taking the East Fork Tr. Get the Foothills Trails Conference Foothills Trail Guidebook and map. Together they offer excellent trail descriptions(even of the spurs) and map references.

I've enjoyed hiking the Foothills Tr so much I've thru-hiked twice at different times of the yr and sections of it at other times. This is a wonderfully scenic and largely, as yet, uncrowded trail and area of upstate South Carolina.

The total elev change is roughly the same regradless of starting or ending at Oconee SP but if you want to

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Thanks dogwood, great info we have seen many of the falls but your info on the alternate is a good idea. I love the chatooga river area it offers some amazing views and is in general a beautiful area. I was wondering if it was a little easier to start of the table rock trail first to get that grueling mess out of the way...lol that is a pretty goog workout without a heavy pack. But thank you again for the info. I have really enjoyed living in the upstate near so many great parks and trails.

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Sorry Kilobravo. I was going to mention something about direction of travel in my first post but had to cut it off to run out the door.

The elev change/gain is roughly the same either direction whether starting at Oconee SP or Table Rock SP for a thru-hike but it depends on your agenda what you want to experience on the front and rear end of the hike if doing a FHT thru-hike. Here, look at the FHT elev profile. http://foothillstrail.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Elevation-Profile.pdf

If you start at TRSP you get the most significant climb right from the start. Yes, you get it out of the way at the beginning of Day 1 but it's really not terribly difficult especially if you pace yourself. If starting from the TRSP FHT TH be mindful of water locations. You may have to do a shortish carry from your last reliable source to your first night's camp site. Continuing in that direction you have one elev hump in the middle and then coast on the last possibly two days elev wise largely along the scenic Chatooga River(more so on the river if you take the East Fork alternate) on the rear end ending at Oconee SP. AT OSP, in season, there are showers, snacks, ph, nicely improved CG, and some historic CCC buildings(check out the bath house down by the lake).

You might ask yourself if you'd rather come from the other direction starting on easier flatter trail at OSP and then descending into the TRSP FHT TH where you may want to finish up the hike since you're coming in from Greenville as I think TRSP is closer to your home and I 25 and HWY 276 which are both major access pts . My sis lives in Greenville too. This may be logistically preferable in that one respect for you. I'm not positive about all TRSP amenities but they have a nice swimming lake(OSP has one too), shweet screened shelters, a lodge, possible showers, CCC history, and possibly some food for sale(they may have a restaurant). You should call ahead though inquiring about amenitiies. I believe a vehicle can safely be left at either SP(that's something I've never done though so you should call). I usually finish at OSP. Additionally, shuttle services are available; check out the FHTC site for shuttlers.

TRSP is probably the more popular of the two SP's. TRSP has some other great trail hikes too and if you don't want to end at the TRSP main FHT TH it's possible to continue into Caesar's Head SP where there's a scenic great waterfall in Ravens Cliff Falls. CHSP is an alternate FHT TH too. This possible FHT TH alternate is trail described and mapped in both the Foothills Trail Conference's FHT Guidebook and on the FHT map. You can continue(or begin) even further east of CHSP at Jones Gap SP or Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. If you ever entertain the thought of starting further east let me know as on one of my FHT thru-hikes I started at Falls Creek falls TH in Mountain bridge Wilderness Area extending the typical 80 mile FHT thru-hike into a roughly 130 hike.

What more can I say? The scenery in the area is great(it's engaging/keeps you regularly engaged throughout the hike) AND it's uncrowded AND no permits or fees are required(that I know of) AND the hikeable weather window is virtually yr round AND the logistics are reasonable. I'd give the FHT a five star rating for a 80 mile hike.

http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/

Be sure to visit, and if the trail does for you what it has for others, as it has for me, consider supporting the Foothills Trail Conference. I do.

http://www.foothillstrail.org/

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Awesome info and again thanks. I noticed the elevation changes and your right not much difference there, I cannot wait until May when we decide to hike it, i am currently conditioning my self so i do not drop dead lol. Im not out of shape persay but you can never be to in shape. It has been quite awahile since I have hiked any significant distance with a loaded pack but at least my wife will be me and she can help disburse some of the weight, so i want to give my self a good 6 months of training to prep for it.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hello there,

I'm looking for advice on hiking the foothills trail come spring time 2015. I currently live in Florida so for starts I am looking for recommendations on the best way to get there.I was thinking about driving but to spare the hassle, would flying be easier? Also I've been looking at this trail hike for the past couple of months now, and while I would like to think I am plenty capable to complete this hike alone I must admit while I was in boy scouts, it was many years ago and back in Highschool I participated in state level competition outdoors orienteering. (btw im only 19). Anyways im looking for advice on this upcoming hike, maybe an opinion to share some much needed advice and wisdom would help. Also maybe if any one reading this thread might be planning on going sometime around then and wouldnt mind teaming up, it would be oh so appreciated. Like I said I am very ambitious and the long 88 mile hike is not what worries me, (obviously spread over about 5 days or more) Im just considering my inexperience and would love anything anyone has to say.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello there,

I'm looking for advice on hiking the foothills trail come spring time 2015. I currently live in Florida so for starts I am looking for recommendations on the best way to get there.I was thinking about driving but to spare the hassle, would flying be easier? Also I've been looking at this trail hike for the past couple of months now, and while I would like to think I am plenty capable to complete this hike alone I must admit while I was in boy scouts, it was many years ago and back in Highschool I participated in state level competition outdoors orienteering. (btw im only 19). Anyways im looking for advice on this upcoming hike, maybe an opinion to share some much needed advice and wisdom would help. Also maybe if any one reading this thread might be planning on going sometime around then and wouldnt mind teaming up, it would be oh so appreciated. Like I said I am very ambitious and the long 88 mile hike is not what worries me, (obviously spread over about 5 days or more) Im just considering my inexperience and would love anything anyone has to say.

How you exactly get from wherever you are departing from somewhere in FLA to the FHT is beyond the scope of shared info you've given.

AGAIN, I believe a vehicle can safely be left at either SP(that's something I've never done though so you should call should you decide on leaving your car). I usually finish at OSP. Additionally, shuttle services are available; check out the FHTC site for shuttlers. Get familiar with the Foothills Trail Conference website! Here's a listing of folks in the FHT area who offer shuttles. http://www.foothillstrail.org/shuttle-service Personally, if coming from southern FLA I'd drive my own car to one of the SPs and leave it there for the week and get a shuttle to the opposite trail terminus and hike back to my vehicle.

With the Foothills Trail Guidebook and Foothills Trail Map(foldable topographical map) I recognize little issue following the FHT. The FHT is a marked and signed trail. Bring your compass and/or GPS if that makes you feel more comfortable but I've never carried or needed either on my FHT thru-hikes.

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