Sassafras Mountain is South Carolina's state high point and part of its little slice of the Appalachian Mountains. Although South Carolina is more well known for its beaches, lakes and rivers, the mountain serves as a change of scenery.
|Numerous nice views can be had from the observation platform and the summit of South Carolina|
Scenes from South Carolina rarely include mountains. Often it is a golf course by the sea, a lazy day on the beach or boating on a lake. I suppose there isn't exactly an abundance of tourism or a robust industry surrounding the mountainous counties but I think they deserve mention when it comes to beautiful places of the state. South Carolina is not a flat state as most people believe it to be. Its more characterized as rolling hills, sand dunes and a little sliver of the Appalachians in the far northwestern corner of the state. This is where Sassafras Mountain and the more elegantly sculpted Table Rock Mountain
It has been at least 15 years since I was last here and my middle childhood memories are more akin to the classic images of the state. Marshes, beaches and resorts are what I remember. Who would have guessed that I would be returning as an adult on a winding mountain road?
|This isn't something I remembered...|
I had just come from mountain biking in Brevard, North Carolina and I hadn't been out of the mountains in at least two weeks. As for now I was accustomed to this but driving up that perilously steep mountain road to the summit of South Carolina still confused me. All the roads leading to the summit are steep and winding. After leaving greater Greenville, it is slow going. I enjoyed the ride though. Table Rock Mountain loomed over me and I contemplated climbing routes up it. There were also a few wild creeks which begged for some whitewater kayaking. All things to return to someday.
The day was late and I wouldn't be able to hike this mountain in my usual epic fashion. There is a long-distance hiking trail which crosses the summit which might have been a better option. The Foothills Hiking trail
is South Carolina's AT and it is a 76 mile route though the mountains. A full hike of this trail would completely destroy anyone's previous idea that South Carolina is a flat state. I regretted that I didn't have the time for this.
|Summit is marked with a small boulder|
At the summit itself there was a radio tower, a monument and a classic bench from the Highpointers Club
. While the view is nice, the immediate surroundings are rather trampled. Much work has been done near the summit and the trees have been cleared. I appreciated the view but I'm sure the forest was nicer. The better view was the platform that extends from the parking area. I spent more time here.
I poked around the summit and the Foothills Trail. The tunnels of rhododendron were inviting but the sun had already set and I had miles to drive yet. Another time I suppose.
Read. Plan. Get Out There!