Outdoor

Marie McAden

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

No hiking required to reach highest point in the state

Posted 11/10/2012 7:16:00 AM

It may be the highest point in South Carolina, but it’s the easiest 3,560-foot peak you’ll ever summit. Sassafras Mountain is just a car ride up a wooded winding road and a short walk from the parking lot.

You won’t sweat a drop getting there, but you’ll reap the rewards worthy of an epic hike. From a wooden platform at the edge of the mountain — technically a few feet shy of the apex — you can look out over four states — South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

You’ll be able to see all the way from Whiteside Mountain in North Carolina down to Lake Jocassee and Lake Keowee to Lake Hartwell. Beyond the smaller mountain ranges is a panorama of 6,000-foot-plus highlands.

Part of the 33,000-acre Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges in Pickens, Sassafras Mountain can be reached by car from Interstate 85. Take Exit 21 and drive north on U.S. 178 to the town of Rocky Bottom, just before the state line. Look for F. Van Clayton Highway (a local road). Drive about five miles up a long hill to the parking lot on top. The overlook is an easy 100-meter walk away.

If you’re up for some calorie-burning exercise, you can access the Foothills Trail from a dirt road at the end of the parking lot. It’s a 4.7-mile hike to Chimneytown Gap, or just walk until you’ve had enough and turn around.