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  1. #1
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    Default Foothills Trail Suggestions Please :)

    At the end of June, my husband and I plan to hike a portion of the Foothills Trail. We would like to hike approximately 10 miles per day (give or take a mile or two) for a total of 3 days with 2 nights on the trail. What would be a good section for us to hike? It would be great if we could hike 10 miles and then have a decent place to set up camp, hike an additional 10 miles, set up camp, then hike a final 10 miles to our destination. This will be our first overnight hike and we would prefer an easy to moderate trail over strenuous. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2

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    The entire trail is beautiful and well maintained. This is really an overlooked jewel. I never carried more than a liter of water. Itís everywhere.

    The Oconoee side seems to be a little easier. The tablerock side got hit by fire for a number of miles and is kind of depressing. Not all how I remember it as a kid. frequent camping is available. The guidebook is well worth having. Iím sure others like Dogwood will have more detail for you. Iíve only hiked it once.

    Enjoy

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    The Oconee side, as the above poster above said, is quite a bit easier than the Table Rock side. If you are looking for a 30 mile hike then I'd find a road crossing that is approximately 30 miles from Oconee and hike from there.

    If you enjoy it, then I'd highly recommend the Laurel Valley to Whitewater Falls section. This is my absolute favorite section of the FHT.

  4. #4
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    Laurel Valley - the middle section is full of waterfalls, but yes, Oconee is easy with lots of places to camp.

  5. #5
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    A loop of that general length of 3 days 2 nights with CS's, some established some LNT, assuming one car, no shuttle, can be had with the Fork Mt Tr(TH at Sloan Bridge), Chattooga River Tr, Burrels Ford, FHT loop. Do it counter clockwise. Leave car at Fish Hatchery Rd TH, Sloan Bridge, or Burrells Ford. Alternatively, a shorter loop can be embarked on the fly by using the East Fork Tr with TH located at the Fish Hatchery. A vehicle can be left at this TH too. A short paved road walk on Fish Hatchery Rd from the FHT TH on Fish Hatchery Rd leads DOWN to this TH and the Fish hatchery. I suggest hiking down this road and the East Fork Tr to the Chattooga River rather than ascend it. A nice large pine needled CS is at the Chattooga River TR. East Fork Tr junction on the Chatooga River. It's a beautiful CS. Several nice CS's exist on the Chattooga River. The large CS are at Burrels Ford at the end of June is nice but will be hopping with activity and people in late June especially between Fri-sun. A Figure 8 using these three trails/ trail segments can be done too.


    Other quite nice loops on FHT spur trails can be enjoyed in Ceasars Head SP with lovely Raven Cliff Falls and Jones Gap SP connecting the SP's. The Middle Saluda River Tr to CH SP and Raven Cliff Falls and heading back to JG SP on different trails is a nice 30- 35 mile or so hike of 3 days 2 nights. I just did that two wks ago on 14 mpd avgs working through PT. On some maps the Jones Gap/Middle Saluda River Tr is designated as the FHT. Don' t be one who recognizes the FHT only as it can limitedly be envisioned between Table Rock and Oconee SP's.

    https://foothillstrail.org/store/ My suggestion as the FHTC supports the FHT with every sale to a significant extent! I'm a FHTC member.
    https://www.amazon.com/Hiking-South-...l/dp/188959630
    https://www.amazon.com/Upstate-SC-Tr.../dp/098571333X

    jones gap sp trail map


    This simple JG SP can be mailed to you for free by contacting JG SP offices. https://southcarolinaparks.com/jones-gap There's another simple site/trail map for each Caesar's Head, Table Rock, Oconee, Gorges SP's , and Mt Bridge Wilderness.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeartFire View Post
    Laurel Valley - the middle section is full of waterfalls, but yes, Oconee is easy with lots of places to camp.
    A different way of doing this segment is approaching it as a surf and turf!!! A shuttle can be arranged that drops your husband and you off at Gorges SP or Whitewater falls. Do the waterfalls there. Gorges SP has some nice waterfalls and a nice backcountry CG. Hike out the Auger Tr or Cane Brake Tr to Laurel Valley/ Laurel Falls and have one of the marinas pick your party up at Laurel Falls. Leave your car at one of the marinas or outdoor centers that provide these services. Experiencing the waterfalls by boat is a totally experience IMO. Some are hard to get to by foot on Lake Jocassee.

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    Ending, beginning, or adding a boat ride into a hike takes it up another diversity notch IMO.

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    Thanks FreeGoldRush! I appreciate the “heads up” about Oconee vs. Table Rock

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    Thanks Dogwood! You seem to be very knowledgeable about the FHT. I’ll have to ask you if I have any specific questions. I never thought about getting a boat. That would be a cool way to see the waterfalls!

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    Thanks red5 for the recommendation of Laurel Valley to Whitewater Falls section. It’s good to know!!

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    Thanks HeartFire! I love waterfalls so thanks for the information.

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    I absolutly loved all but the 5 miles closest to Table Rock State park. you can't go wrong with any other 30 mile section.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone1984 View Post
    I absolutly loved all but the 5 miles closest to Table Rock State park. you can't go wrong with any other 30 mile section.
    We plan to park at our ending destination and be shuttled to the starting point, about 30 miles total. We would like to include the area with Upper Whitewater Falls and Laurel Fork Falls. Would it be better to travel west to east, beginning closer to Oconee and moving out or to travel east to west towards Oconee?

  14. #14

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    Ending at Oconee SP is great. You can shower before heading home (or shower and grab a campsite) and the camp store has snacks and coffee (if you finish before they close for the day). Plus, those miles are easy and it’s just so pleasant. I’m a relatively slow hiker and I was able to hike from Burrells’s Ford to Oconee SP in one day which included a long lunch break.

    ...I don’t recommend trying to camp in the area between Cheohee Rd and Jumping Branch. It looked like there was a storm and fire which left tons of widow makers. And once you get to Jumping Branch, you may as well finish as you're close to the park and it’s easy hiking.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by McHoney View Post
    Thanks Dogwood! You seem to be very knowledgeable about the FHT. I’ll have to ask you if I have any specific questions. I never thought about getting a boat. That would be a cool way to see the waterfalls!

    Dogwood has answered many of my questions about the FHT...he’s a great resource.

  16. #16

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    One more note... if you plan to camp in the river area between Burrells Ford and Cheohee Rd, be prepared for the sites to be full and having to walk further than you intend to find a place to sleep, especially if it’s nice weather and/or a weekend. If you find a great site but it’s too early in the day to stop, I suggest you stop and enjoy.

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