With its leaves changing color and cooler temperatures, autumn is the time of year when you want to be outside as much as possible. Some of the best places to see fall colors are in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Greenville, South Carolina. I had a fantastic time exploring this area with my Aunt when I visited her. Here are the best places to see South Carolina Fall Foliage.
Bald Rock Heritage Preserve
Bald Rock Heritage Preserve is 5 miles on U.S. 276 before the entrance to Caesars Head State Park. It is a natural scenic overlook offering a stunning panoramic view of the South Carolina foothills. Once you park, you cross a wooden footbridge through the woods and over a small stream before it opens up to an astounding view of all the trees and their glorious colors.
It is a little daunting to walk across the rocks and see nothing in front of you. This is not a place to visit if you are afraid of heights. I only could go so far forward as it appears to drop off. The entire rock is covered in graffiti even though it is illegal to deface this rock, although they are trying to clean up the graffiti. Remember, if you bring anything, take it with you. Leave nothing but memories.
Caesars Head State Park
Caesar’s Head State Park is 30 miles from Greenville off Route 276. Within the state park, you’ll find many hiking trails and loops to enjoy the spectacular South Carolina Fall Foliage. It was a bit foggy the day we went, but that led to some amazing photographs.
A short walk from the Caesars Head Visitor’s Center and the Caesars Head Overlook is the eerie Devil’s Kitchen. There is, of course, a scientific reason for this formation, but the cool story is from the Scottish and Irish settlers of the area. The settlers often would brew alcohol in the passage and said that the Devil also used it as his own kitchen to make a particularly hot brew. One spilled drip of this hot brew on the mountain caused it to crack. I like this story version because exploring this area is a bit creepy.Booking.com
Campbell Covered Bridge
Finding covered bridges on my travels is always a treat. At one point, the State of Carolina had 20 covered bridges. Constructed between 1909 and 1911, Campbell’s Covered Bridge is the only remaining covered bridge in the state. The bridge is 38 feet long and has a 12-foot-wide pine structure that spans Beaverdam Creek. Take some time to walk down below and breathe in the clean forest air and the calming sound of the water.
The bridge is named for Alexander Lafayette Campbell, who operated the grist mill downstream of the bridge. Today the bridge and the surrounding 18.65-acre park is a serene location in northern Greenville County where visitors can picnic, explore the foundations of the old grist mill and home site, wet their feet on a hot summer day in Beaverdam Creek, get your selfie on the bridge, and hike the short nature trail.
Poinsett Bridge was constructed in 1820. It is believed to be the oldest surviving bridge in the state and designed by Robert Mills, the architect of the Washington Monument. Named after Joel Poinsett, a prominent early resident of Greenville and a U.S. ambassador to Mexico, the bridge was part of the State Road that connected Charleston and Columbia with the North Carolina mountain communities into Tennessee. This 14-foot Gothic arch stone structure stretches 130 feet over Little Gap Creek. Be mindful that this bridge and a few hiking trails in the park run through private property. And it is not surprising to see kids swimming and playing in the creek during summer.
Wildcat Wayside Falls
Another great place to see South Carolina Fall foliage is at the Wildcat Wayside Falls. These waterfalls are a popular roadside stop for those heading to Caesars Head State Park. When we went, there were crowds of people dipping their feet into the water and wandering around the falls. My Aunt and I hiked up to the smaller and, in my opinion, prettier of the two waterfalls. Be careful, as the trail upward is a bit slick. We took photos of ourselves with the falls in the background, enjoyed the mist rising from the falls, and headed back to the vehicle for more exploring in South Carolina.
If you’re traveling through South Carolina this fall, check out these destinations for fabulous fall scenery. I hit these right as the colors were just turning, and I can’t imagine what they would look like at full peak. Have you seen the South Carolina Fall Foliage at these locations? What did you think about it? Let me know if you have other places I should add to this list.
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