Outdoor

Marie McAden

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Greenville's Falls Park tops my all-time favorite list

Posted 6/16/2011 1:58:00 PM

South Carolina’s Upstate offers so many ways to enjoy the great outdoors — and you don’t have to hike up a mountain or paddle a whitewater river to do it. This week, I’m going to tell you about two great urban parks in Greenville where you can enjoy the pleasures of nature without breaking a sweat.

Falls Park, the centerpiece of downtown Greenville’s Historic West End, tops my list of all-time favorite city parks. This 26-acre parcel of green space is a metropolitan masterpiece of form and function.

Built along the scenic Reedy River, the park features two natural waterfalls that drop 28 feet into a rocky riverbed. It was at this site in 1768 that Greenville’s first European settler, Richard Pearis, established a trading post and later gristmills and sawmills.

Visitors can get an aerial view of the falls from the Liberty Bridge, a one-of-a-kind cantilevered footbridge that is as much an attraction as the falls themselves. The 345-foot span features two 90-foot masts that lean away from the bridge at a 15 degree angle. Its graceful lines and unique geometry give Mother Nature’s riparian handiwork a run for its money.

Nature trails winding through the park lead to more overlooks and grassy areas where you can admire the beautiful surroundings. Shaded by a canopy of trees, the walkway will take you to six distinctive “garden rooms” with spectacular displays of seasonal color.

The park also features an outdoor amphitheater, picnic pavilion, excavated mill ruins, world-class works of public art and a river walk with an interactive fountain.

It’s easy to see why Falls Park has become a favorite gathering place in the Upcountry to play, picnic and enjoy the great outdoors. A wide range of events — from jazz concerts to Shakespeare performances — are held here monthly. In July, it’s the Red, White and Blue Festival, an Independence Day Celebration featuring live music, food, family activities and one of the largest fireworks displays in the state.

For more information on the park and a complete schedule of upcoming events, click here visit or call (864) 467-4350.