February 16 2018
#Voices: 10 must-try hiking trails in S.C.

When you think of great hiking, South Carolina probably doesn’t come to mind – but it should. S.C. has 400+ hiking trails across the state, offering something for every type of hiker – whether you want to see cool waterfalls or you want to rack up some serious miles. At Girls Who Hike S.C., we encourage all women to check out the hiking fun S.C. has to offer.

Our top 10 trail recommendations:

🏞️ Congaree National Park Trails | 📍 Hopkins, S.C. | 🚘 30 minutes from Cola | 👟 Trail Distance: Various | Difficulty: Easy

Best Features: This is the only National Park in South Carolina. It features the largest intact, old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the Southeast, so it’s like walking back in time. All trails start at the visitors center and are well-marked. Once you leave the boardwalk you will encounter a lot of fallen trees. So, although the altitude doesn’t change, you’ll get a great hurdles workout and see some cool root systems.

Photo by @hdcarolina

🏞️ S.C. Foothills Trail | 📍 Upstate, with teminuses at Oconee + Table Rock State Parks | 🚘 ~3 hours from Cola | 👟 Trail Distance: 77 miles with 14 passages | Difficulty: Easy to strenuous

Best Features: This trail is great for a day hike or overnight trips. There are several beautiful waterfalls and a section of the trail follows the S.C./N.C. state line. You also have a low chance of seeing others on the trail, so it’s a great way to enjoy nature and connect with your hiking companions.


🏞️ Palmetto Trail | 📍 Statewide, with several passages in the Columbia-area | 🚘 Drive time from Cola: Various | 👟 Trail Distance: 500 miles | Difficulty: Various

Best Features: This mountain-to-sea trail goes right through downtown Columbia and it’s the only urban trail on our list. The Capital City passage is 7.5 miles and takes you through the heart of Columbia out to Fort Jackson. We also recommend the Peak to Prosperity passage where you will walk over a dozen old train trestles. This trailhead is about an hour north, in Pomaria.

Photo by @moholton.jpg

🏞️ Rainbow Falls | 📍 Greenville, S.C. in Jones Gap State Park | 🚘 2.5 hours from Cola | 👟 Trail Distance: 5 miles | Difficulty: Strenuous

Best Features: At the top of the trail you’re greeted by a 100-ft. waterfall. Along the way, you’ll have great views of the valley and walk along a mountain stream. One word of caution, Jones Gap is extremely popular, so get there early. It’s not uncommon for visitors to wait an hour before being allowed to enter the park, but once you’re on trail, you won’t regret the wait.


🏞️ Forks Area Trail System | 📍 Clarks Hill, S.C. | 🚘 ~1 hour from Cola | 👟 Trail Distance: Total 37 miles | Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Best Features: This is another diverse trail system and part of the Sumter National Forest (read: hidden gem). These trails crisscross all over the hills overlooking the Savannah River. Think of these hills as the perfect training ground for more vertical hikes.

Photo by @natureisticly
The Brief

 78º | Mostly Cloudy | 10% chance of rain

Craft & Drafting | 7-9 p.m. | Craft and Draft | 2706 Devine St. | free | with Columbia coloring pages by Shelby LeBlanc Art ✍️
Gamecock Baseball season opener vs. Virginia Military Institute Keydets | 4 p.m. | Founders Park | 431 Williams St. | $8+ ⚾
Love is Love is Love Cabaret | 8 p.m. | Trustus Theatre | 520 Lady St. | $15 or $40 for the Venus package: two tickets + bottle of champagne or wine
Soda City Rock Show | 8 p.m. | Music Farm | 1022 Senate St. | $10
Sweat & Sip: Torched Barre Class & Social | 6-9 p.m. | Bikram Yoga | 4715 Forest Dr. | $10 for members; $25 for non members
SWEAT After Dark | 5:30-6:30 p.m. | Jamie Scott Fitness | 1125 Lady St. | $10 | benefiting Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital 🚲
Mardi Gras Bar Crawl | 6:45-10 p.m. | Liberty Tap Room Columbia | 828 Gervais St. | $7.99 to register 🍺
Annual Alumni Reception at the SCEMA Conference | 5:30-7 p.m. | My Carolina Alumni Association | 900 Senate St. | free | first 400 attendees will receive a free drink 🐔
I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life by Tune-Yards | Alternative/Indie Rock | Stream or buy at, Amazon, Music, iTunes + locally at Papa Jazz | rec by Dr. P
🚨 72 Coffee Company has a new mobile cart coming to town – and it’s serving our two favorite types of drinks: coffee + cocktails. The vintage trailer won’t be ready until June, BUT they’re already taking event reservationsUmmm, can this pop-up at SOCO?
News Notes
Columbia made Thrillist’s list of 8 American Cities Getting Big, Exciting Overhauls This Year” for its BullStreet Neighborhood development (built on the grounds of the old South Carolina State Hospital), thanks to the team at Experience Columbia SC. 🙌 Other mentioned projects include Baton Rouge’s Electric Depot (redevelopment of an old power plant) + Phoenix’s Warehouse district.
600. The number of roses delivered to senior residents of Presbyterian Retirement Community in Lexington on Valentine’s Day as part of a nationwide initiative, A Wish of a Lifetimethat promotes respect + appreciation for senior citizens. 🌹
$1,753. The average amount S.C. residents spent on electricity in 2016 (~$400 more than the national average).
8.3%. The vacancy rate in Five Points – the lowest out of the main downtown districts. DYK? There are 1.93 million square feet of urban retail in Columbia in six urban areas. See more real estate market stats.
Elton John tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m. He comes to Colonial Life March 13, 2019. Buy tickets online or at the Lexington Medical Center Box Office at Colonial Life Arena.
South State Bank (headquartered here in Cola) was ranked #14 on Forbes' annual list of the 100 largest banks in the U.S., which is based on growth, profitability, capital adequacy + asset quality. This is the second consecutive year they’ve made the top 15.
Ain’t no party like a George Sink party. 🎉 4-year-old Landen of Greenville was so inspired by S.C.-based injury lawyer George Sink’s commercials that he asked his mom for a George Sink birthday party. To top it all off, George Sink made a surprise appearance that left Landen on cloud 999-9999.
The first five of 28 townhomes of TownPark at BullStreet are under construction and should be ready around MayThe Moore Company is selling the 3-story units (3BR/4BA) at around $450K. Watch them go vertical here. 📽️  #partner 
Greenville’s Husk was named the best whiskey bar in S.C. by Thrillist. 🥃
Earlier this month, the S.C. House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill to catalog Exceptional SCa statewide special needs scholarship program, into permanent lawThe 501c3 org makes it possible for those with special needs to attend private schools best suited for their educational needs + has given $30+ million in scholarships to 4,000 students.
3 times around the Fireflies stadium = 1 mile. BullStreet Neighborhood’s Spirit Communications Park is open to the public, daily to provide space for running, dog walking or lunch outdoors. That’s our backyard, so holler if you ever want to come walk with us. 👟

“We all know that the food and beverage industry has been the economic engine of Charleston, and now Greenville is hot on their heels. I’d just ask the City of Columbia to start nurturing [the hospitality] industry, for the good of the city.”

We've heard a lot of great feedback from you on the 2 a.m. permit discussion (pro- and anti-). Thanks for following this issue with us. 🍺
The Wrap

Girls Who Hike started two years ago + spread to S.C. last fall. We are helping hundreds of women across S.C. hit the trail by hosting official hikes every month + connecting members to other hiking-minded women. Here in Columbia, we are also partnering with Half Moon Outfitters to host a Women’s Hiking 101 Class Feb. 24.

Learn more about any of these 10 trails on S.C.’s official trail guide.

Happy Trails,


Kailani, Stacy, LeAnn + Tara, Girls Who Hike SC Ambassadors

This is a contributor-submitted Voices piece. Want to join the conversation? We invite you to write for us. Here’s how.

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