Table Rock State Park: The Complete Guide

Table Rock Mountain, South Carolina, USA
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Table Rock State Park

Address
158 E Ellison Ln, Pickens, SC 29671-9524, USA
Phone +1 864-878-9813

Located on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Table Rock State Park is one of 16 South Carolina state parks created by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The 3,083-acre area is home to the state's highest contained peak, Pinnacle Mountain, two lakes, and over 175 species of birds, making it ideal for hiking, water-based sports, and nature walks. Climb to panoramic summits at Table Rock and Pinnacle Mountains, fish or paddle in the calm waters of either lake, or bring along binoculars to spot songbirds, wild tail deer, and other animals who make their home in the park's dense hardwood forests. The park also has boat launches, a fishing pier, beach access, overnight campsites, and picnic shelters, and is the perfect spot for a day trip from nearby Greenville or Asheville or an overnight stay with a view.

Things to Do

An ideal day trip from nearby Asheville or Greenville, Table Rock State Park offers several activities for visitors of all skills and ages. Ranging from beginner-friendly strolls to technically challenging treks, the park's trails will take you deep into the forest to tumbling waterfalls and to the top of rocky summits. Weather permitting, rent a kayak or canoe and paddle through placid lake waters, or take a dip in an old-fashioned swimming hole. Fish for largemouth bass and crappie in the freshwater lakes, pack a picnic to enjoy in one of four mountain shelters, or listen to local bluegrass musicians jam at monthly concerts held at Table Rock Lodge the second Saturday of every month.

Park admission is $6 adults for adults, $3.75 for seniors 65 and up who are state residents, $3.50 for children ages 6-15, and free for those 5 and under.

Best Hikes & Trails

The park has over 12 miles of hiking trails, from rugged mountain terrain to gentle lake and creekside paths. Table Rock's trail network also feeds into two longer paths: the 77-mile Foothills Trail that starts in the Upstate and travels into Western North Carolina, and the 350-mile Palmetto Trail, the state's longest pedestrian and bicycle trail.

  • Pinnacle Mountain Trail: Hike to the state's tallest contained peak—Pinnacle Mountain—on this challenging 4-mile, one-way trail. The trailhead departs from the parking lot near the Nature Center, where you'll follow a paved path near the creek, then cross footbridges and hike through thickets of rhododendron and hardwood forest. At 2.5 miles in, you'll ascend a rocky single track to the Bald Rock Overlook. The path then climbs steeply to the summit, which offers panoramic views of the countryside and nearby Table Rock. Descend the way you came or pick up the less strenuous Ridge Trail to return to the parking lot.
  • Lakeside Trail: This easy, beginner-friendly trail offers both history and mountain views. Started by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s, the 1.9-mile loop was not completed until 2011. The hike begins near the Pinnacle Lake boathouse and passes an old stone boat landing, a historic lodge, and a dam, all built by the CCC. It then drops underneath the spillway and crosses a creek before winding around the lake and swimming beach. There are picnic shelters near the parking area, perfect for stopping for refreshments or people watching. No registration is required for this hike.
  • Carrick Creek Trail: For some of the park's most stunning views, opt for the green-blazed, 2-mile Carrick Creek trail loop. The hike departs from the Nature Center and climbs nearly 400 feet, winding alongside tumbling waterfalls and a forrest lined with oak-hickory, pine, and hemlock trees. Don't miss the observation deck at the beginning of the trail, which offers close-up views of the cascading Carrick Creek falls and access for dipping in the water's cool pools.
  • Table Rock Trail: The park's most rugged hike, the namesake trail climbs over 2,000 feet from the Visitor Center through open forest dotted with boulders through dense woodlands and thick vegetation like oak and hickory trees to rocky outcrops. The summit rewards with breathtaking views of the countryside and distant mountains.

Boating & Fishing

Private, no-gas motor boats can access Lake Oolenoy via a boat ramp from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. during daylight saving time and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. the remainder of the year. Anglers with a valid South Carolina fishing license can cast their rods from an accessible pier on the lake, which teems with bass, catfish, bream, and other freshwater fish.

Guests can also rent fishing boats, kayaks, canoes, and pedal boards to use on Lake Pinnacle. Rentals are $15/day for fishing boats, $7/day for pedal boards, and $5/day for canoes and kayaks and are available year-round in the Visitor Center and seasonally at the Lake Pinnacle boathouse. All guests must wear life vests and pay park admission. While guests can swim from the beach at Lake Pinnacle, there is no lifeguard on duty, so do so at your own risk.

Where to Camp

From furnished cabins to RV hook-ups to tent pads, the park has several options for visitors wishing to spend the night inside Table Rock.

The park has two RV and tent campsites: a 69-site area near the park entrance and a 25-site area located near White Oaks picnic station. Both sites have picnic tables, water and electrical hookups, and access to restrooms with hot showers.

In addition, there is a walk-in camping area with central water near Lake Oolenoy, as well as no power/toilet six tent site at Pine Point near the Visitor Center. Primitive group tent areas are available at Fox Hill, Owl Tree, and Bobcat Creek.

For those wanting a bit more comfort, the park has 14 fully furnished rental cabins outfitted with heating and air conditioning, linens, utensils, refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, stoves, and screened porches and fireplaces. Cabins range from one to three bedrooms and sleep from 4 to 8 guests. Cabin 16 is handicap-accessible.

Reservations must be made for a minimum of two nights and in advance by calling 1-866-345-PARK or via the South Carolina Parks website. Same-day reservations must be arranged directly with the park. Note that camping in non-designated areas is prohibited.

Where to Stay Nearby

From quaint bed and breakfasts to budget-friendly motels and modern hotel chains, there are several accommodation options near the park.

  • Laurel Mountain Inn: Located just across the street from the park, this clean, no-frills motel is a convenient and budget-friendly option. Rooms come with either one king-sized or two full-sized beds, plus refrigerators, microwaves, and free wi-fi.
  • The Inn at Thistlewood Down: Seeking a friendly, European-style bed and breakfast? This intimate, three-room inn is about 15 miles from the park entrance. In addition to a communal deck and patio with Adirondack chairs, all rooms have king-sized beds, soaking tubs, and walk-in rain showers. For extra space, book the  Birds Nest Studio Loft, with a kitchenette, large screen TV, washer/dryer, and mountain views.
  • Best Western Travelers Rest Greenville: With an outdoor pool, complimentary breakfast, and generously-sized rooms ideal families, the Best Western is an economical choice in the small town of Traveler's Rest—just north of Greenville—known for its galleries, shops, and restaurants.

How to Get There

Table Rock State Park is located about 45 minutes northwest of Greenville and 70 minutes southwest of Asheville.

From downtown Asheville, take I-26 E to exit 54, US-25 S toward US-176/NC-225/Greenville, Follow US-25 S for 16 miles, then take US-276 W to SC-11 S in Pickens County. The park will be straight ahead after 16 miles.

From downtown Greenville, take SC-183/Farrs Bridge Road for five miles, then turn left onto Hester Store Road. Turn right onto SC-135 N and follow for six miles, then turn right onto SC-8 W. Turn left onto New Hope Road, and after one mile, turn left onto SC-11 S and follow directions above.

Accessibility

Table Rock State Park welcomes visitors of all ability levels. The fishing pier on Lake Oolenoy is accessible, and Cabin 16 is outfitted to accommodate those with disabilities. Unfortunately, none of the trails are wheelchair accessible.

Tips for Your Visit

  • Keep pets leashed at all times. While they are welcome on trails, pets are not allowed in the cabins or in the swimming area.
  • Arrive early, especially on weekends during peak season (summer and fall) to avoid crowds.
  • Remember to register with the park before embarking on your hike at the trailhead kiosk or the Nature Center and leave trails by sunset.
  • Be sure to book campsites and cabins in advance, as spots can fill up quickly.
  • Consider purchasing an All Park Passport, which is $99 and provides unlimited entry to all of South Carolina's state parks.
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Table Rock State Park: The Complete Guide