Less Traveled 2012

Ernie Wiggins

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Venturing down untraveled roads promises surprises

Posted 5/24/2011 10:21:00 PM

The joy of following untraveled roads is discovering the unexpected.

The 14-acre granite stone that, curiously, gives “Forty Acre” Rock Heritage Preserve its name -- and its fame -- offers visitors to this Kershaw County natural landmark surprising vistas of the South Carolina Piedmont. Take them in before starting the meandering trails that course through the area’s pine and hardwood forests, by creeks, waterfalls and a beaver pond dotted with lily pads.

The preserve also features a few technicolor caves, the “color” courtesy of less than courteous visitors who wanted to leave behind their mark. (Some folks say the caves were used as hideaways by Civil War soldiers but I haven’t been able to independently verify this.)

A hike along the preserve’s trail during late spring offered up forestal beauty and a large variety of winged critters, but visitors should be warned that the trail grade varies a good bit and is often quite steep as it goes from the creek bed up to the rock. More experienced hikers and birders will not have a problem and will quite likely welcome the challenge that goes along with exploring the preserves treasures, many of which are quite rare and deserving of their protected status.

The area is open during daylight hours year-round.

Getting there:

Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve Wildlife Management Area
Conservancy Road
Kershaw 29067

From the intersection of U.S. 601 and S.C. 903, go north on US 601 for 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Nature Reserve Road and go north about a half mile. The lower parking lot is on the left. The upper parking area, which is much closer to the rock outcropping, is up Nature Reserve Road about 2.5 miles from US 601. Turn left onto Conservancy Road and follow it to its end. Like so many of the state’s treasures, Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve is free of charge.