Paris Mountain State Park: The Complete Guide

Paris Mountain State Park

Courtesy of Discover South Carolina

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Paris Mountain State Park

Address
2401 State Park Rd, Greenville, SC 29609, USA
Phone +1 864-244-5565

Formed by a monadnock that towers above dense hardwood forest just fifteen minutes from downtown Greenville, Paris Mountain is one of the state's best state parks.

Inside the 1,540-acre park, visitors can hike or mountain bike over 15 miles of trails, from the gentle, family-friendly lakeside strolls to the steep paths designed for expert cyclists, or take advantage of the area's four lakes, which offer beachfront swimming access and placid waters for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and boating during the warmer months. In addition to hiking trails and water sports, the park has an educational center, lakeside picnic shelters, and shaded tent and RV campsites, with plenty of activities to keep visitors busy for a day trip or an overnight stay.

Things to Do

Just ten miles from downtown Greenville, Paris Mountain is an easy excursion from the city, with activities for all skills and ages. The incredible hiking trails here will take you along sandy lake shores, through hardwood forests teeming with deer and other wildlife, past bubbling streams and blankets of mountain laurel, and to pinnacles with panoramic views.

The park's steep terrain and looped paths are popular with mountain bikers and expert climbers, but there are several easier and shorter options like an interpretive nature trail for beginning hikers and families. In the summer, rent a paddle or canoe or swim in the designated area at Lake Placid. Anglers with a valid South Carolina fishing license can fish for bream and catfish there or hike two miles to access the North Lake (Reservoir #3) on the park's far side. The park also has a playground, picnic shelters, sand volleyball court, and onsite education center with exhibits dedicated to the area's history and ecology.

Paris Mountain is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and admission is $6 for adults, $3.75 for state residents 65 and older, $3.50 for children ages to 6 to 15, and free for children 5 and younger.

Best Hikes & Trails

From beginner-friendly to expert level, Paris Mountain's trails hug placid lakes, traverse into dense forest to see local wildlife like deer and hawks, wind through grassy meadows blanketed with wildflowers, and climb to panoramic summits.

  • Sulphur Springs Trail: This rugged and rocky nearly 4-mile loop path starts at Picnic Area 6. An ideal day hike, the path winds through steep terrain through hardwood and pine forest, along mountain ridges, and into deep ravines with flowing streams and thickets of mountain laurel and rhododendron, eventually following the shores of Mountain Lake.
  • Brissy Ridge Trail: Another moderately challenging option, Brissy Ridge is a 2-mile, shady loop that starts near the parking lot. Blazed yellow, the trail starts with a rooted and rocky ascent, but then levels out as it approaches wooded ridgelines and then descends along rushing creek beds dotted with mountain laurel and wildflowers in the warmer months.
  • Lake Placid Trail: For an easy, kid-friendly hike, opt for this nature loop that hugs the shores of Lake Placid. Spot turtles, sea squirrels, and other creatures along the path, which also climbs into woodlands and passed below a Depression-era dam.
  • Fire Tower Trail: For some of the park's best views, take this short, steep path, which begins on the Sulphur Spring Trail. The path climbs over 400 feet through old-growth pine, oak, and poplar trees as well as tall grasses to a scenic vista overlooking the lake and countryside.
  • Mountain Creek Trail: A moderately challenging dirt trail, the Mountain Creek loop starts at Picnic Shelter 4 and is used for both hiking and mountain biking. Starting to the right will connect you into the Lake Placid Trail, while the left route connects into the Sulphur Springs trail for those wanting a longer, more technical route.

Kayaking and Boating

While private boats are not allowed at Paris Mountain, visitors can rent kayaks and canoes from the park Thursday through Sunday between the hours of 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weather permitting. Pedal boats rentals are available seasonally on weekends, also dependent on weather. Swimming is permitted in a designated area at Lake Placid, and anglers with a valid South Carolina fishing license can fish there as well or on the North Lake (Reservoir #3) for bream, bass, catfish, and other freshwater fish.

The lakeside area also has picnic shelters for those wanting to enjoy waterfront views without taking a dip.

Where to Camp

Paris Mountain has a large, well-maintained campground for RVs and tents, as well as trailside campsites for those visitors wishing to spend the night.

39 sites paved and shaded RV and tent campsites are located along the southern edge of the park, near the visitor center and Lake Placid. 13 sites offer tent pads, while others are designated for RVs up to 40 feet. Each site has water and electrical hookups and access to a common bathhouse with restrooms and showers. Visitors wanting a more no-frills experience can hike to five no-frills sites near Reservoir 3.

All camping reservations have a two-night minimum and can be made in advance by calling 1-866-345-PARK or booking online here. Note that same-day reservations must be arranged directly with the park.

Where to Stay Nearby

  • Hotel Domestique: Looking to splurge on accommodations? Experience European luxury in the heart of the Upstate at this luxury hotel owned by world-renowned cyclist George Hincapie. Just 16 miles from Paris Mountain State Park, the property—with rustic hardwood floors, manicured lawns, and Tuscan-hued draperies and linens—has it all: guided bike excursions, seven golf courses, an infrared sauna, saltwater pool, and tennis courts, plus on-site fine dining.
  • Hampton Inn Greenville: Located 7 miles northwest of the park, the Hampton Inn is a moderately priced option and a good choice for families. In addition to free parking, complimentary breakfast, and Wi-Fi, the hotel has an outdoor pool and fitness center and is close to the town's many shops, bike trails, galleries, and restaurants.
  • Best Western Traveler's Rest/Greenville: For those on a budget, this reliable chain in Traveler's Rest is a solid option. Rates are generally less than $100 per night and include a full breakfast and access to an indoor gym and outdoor pool. The park is only 6 miles (12-minute drive) away.
  • Westin Poinsett: This iconic 1920s-era downtown hotel was fully renovated in the late 20th century and combines historic character with modern luxury and is just 7 miles from the park. Wind down from a day of hiking in the lobby piano bar with live music and cocktails or the sit-down restaurant serving Southern-inspired food or walking to one of many live music venues and bars.

How to Get There

Paris Mountain State Park is located about fifteen minutes (six miles) from downtown Greenville and an hour (60 miles) from Asheville. From downtown Greenville, take Main Street for almost two miles, and then turn right onto S-23-21/Rutherford Road. Travel a mile, then turn left onto North Pleasantburg Road and then right onto Piney Mountain Road. Follow that road for three miles, then turn left onto SC-253/State Park Road. The park entrance will be two miles ahead.

From downtown Asheville, take I-240 W/US-70 W to I-26 E. Follow I-26 E for 28 miles, then take Exit 54 to US-25 S for 25 miles. Then turn left onto Tigerville Road, and after a mile, turn right onto right onto Enoree Road. After a mile, turn left onto S-23-22/State Park Road, then after 1.5 miles, right onto Tanyard Road. In less than a mile, turn left onto State Park Road and make a sharp right turn into the park entrance.

Accessibility

Paris Mountain State Park welcomes visitors of all ability levels. Picnic shelters 3 and 5 are handicap accessible, but must be reserved in advance. With wide, paved paths, the main campsite and its restrooms facilities are also accessible, and Campsite 29 is ADA compliant. Unfortunately, the park's trails are uneven and rocky, so not ideal for those using wheelchairs.

Tips for Your Visit

  • Due to the high volume of visitors, cycling is not permitted on trails on Saturdays.
  • Consider bringing hiking poles to assist with steep climbs on the more technical trails.
  • The park closes at 8 p.m. each night.
  • Call in advance to ensure water rentals like canoes are available, as hours vary seasonally.
  • Keep all dogs leashed and on trails and dispose of all waste properly. Dogs are not permitted in the campgrounds.
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Paris Mountain State Park: The Complete Guide