The Top 11 Hikes in Greenville, South Carolina

Table Rock State Park and Pinnacle Lake at Sunrise
Table Rock State Park and Pinnacle Lake at Sunrise. Kruck20 / Getty Images

Over 5 million visitors flock to this picturesque, friendly city in South Carolina's Upstate region each year. One of Greenville's major draws, beyond its varied museums, numerous breweries, and walkable downtown? Nature.

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the city has an abundance of outdoor recreation areas and public green spaces, ranging from hidden, in-town nature preserves to sprawling national parks. Whether you're seeking a family-friendly stroll or an epic mountain trek, there's a Greenville hike to suit your skill level. Read on to discover the city's best trails, where you'll be treated to tumbling waterfalls, panoramic mountain views, and scenic overlooks.

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Pinnacle Mountain Trail

Table Rock Mountain, South Carolina, USA
Sean Pavone / Getty Images
Pinnacle Mountain Trail, South Carolina 29671, USA

Hike to the state's tallest contained peak—Pinnacle Mountain—on this challenging trail inside Table Rock State Park. The 4-mile, one-way trail departs from the parking lot near the Nature Center, where you must fill out a registration card. From there, 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.

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Lakeside Trail

Table Rock State Park
Teresa Kopec / Getty Images

This easy, beginner-friendly trail at Table Rock 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.

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Rainbow Falls Trail

Located inside Jones Gap State Park, this moderately strenuous hike ascends over 1,200 feet en route to the plunging 100-foot Rainbow Falls. Starting at the 0.75 Jones Gap Trail, the 5-mile out-and-back trek veers right before winding across footbridges, rock outcrops, and boulders covered in grassy mosses and wildflowers. Note that before 2 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, you must reserve a $5 parking spot before your visit.

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Carrick Creek Trail

Carrick Creek Trail, South Carolina 29671, USA

For a family-friendly hike, opt for the Carrick Creek Trail in Table Rock State Park, which begins at the Carrick Creek Nature Center. The heavily trafficked, nearly 2-mile loop trail passes several small waterfalls and rushing creeks, and features local plants and flowers like trout lilies and mountain laurel. Although the path is gentle and rolling for the most part, note that it does include a few stream crossings and steep steps that could be challenging for younger hikers.

Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Falls Creek Waterfall Trail

Falls Creek Waterfall, SC
WerksMedia / Getty Images

A short but fairly strenuous hike, the Falls Creek Waterfall Trail in Caesars Head State Park travels out and back just over 2 miles to its namesake waterfall. The trail is steep in some places, though it rewards with stunning views of the falls. Note that parking is limited and fills up quickly on weekends and during the summer; arrive early to secure a spot.

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Tom Miller Jones Gap Trail

For a longer excursion inside Caesars Head, try the Tom Miller Jones Gap Trail, a moderately paced, 10.2-mile out-and-back trail. The trailhead to this steep and rocky path starts a mile north of the Caesars Head parking lot on Highway 276. From there, you'll follow the Saluda River, passing several waterfalls, wildflowers, and local wildlife as you ascend more than 1,500 feet into the woods.

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Raven Cliff Falls

Geer Hwy, Cleveland, SC 29635, USA
Phone +1 864-836-6115

Formed by Matthews Creek and plunging 420 feet down from Raven Cliff Mountain, Raven Cliff Falls (named for the 150-plus species of ravens in the region) is the state's largest waterfall. See it up close via this 4-mile out-and-back trail inside Caesars Head. The moderately challenging trail, which departs from Highway 276/Geer Highway in Cleveland, is well marked and well maintained, though it does get muddy in the rainy season.

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Dismal Trail Loop

For an advanced hike, opt for the 6.6-mile Dismal Trail Loop in Caesars Head. You'll start by following the Raven Cliff Falls Trail for 1.7 miles before reaching the junction of the blazed Dismal Loop. A suspension bridge will take you over the top of the falls, then you'll continue down its side for the rest of the hike. With a sheer rock face, cable and ladder assistance, and water crossings, this trail is recommended only for experienced hikers.

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Sulphur Springs Trail

Paris Mountain State Park

Courtesy of Paris Mountain State Park

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

Located inside Paris Mountain State Park, just 7 miles north of downtown Greenville, this moderately challenging trail is a popular trip from the city. With steep and rocky terrain, ravines and streams, and flora and fauna like mountain laurel and deer, the 3.5-mile loop has much to offer both hikers and mountain bikers. It starts from the Shelter 5 parking lot and can be traversed in either direction. Leashed dogs are permitted in the park.

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Lake Placid Trail

Paris Mountain State Park

Courtesy of Visit Greenville

For a gentle hike inside of Paris Mountain, opt for the Lake Placid Trail. The self-guided, 0.75-mile nature loop has numbered stops detailing local plants and animals such as squirrels, birds, turtles, and wildflowers. The path circles the lake, crosses footbridges, and winds past a waterfall as well. Perfect for families, there are opportunities for stopping and resting, if needed.

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Lake Conestee Nature Park Loop

Lake Conestee Nature Preserve

Courtesy of Lake Conestee Nature Preserve

840 Mauldin Rd, Greenville, SC 29607, USA
Phone +1 864-277-2004

This 400-acre nature preserve is nestled along 3 miles of the Reedy River, just south of downtown Greenville. A state-designated Wildlife Sanctuary, Lake Conestee is home to more than 200 species of birds as well as river otters, beavers, deer, and salamanders. Try to spot the local wildlife along the 2.2-mile Nature Park Loop, which crosses several boardwalks over preserved marshland. The preserve is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and the suggested admission donation is $3. Please note there are no trash cans, so be prepared to carry out your own waste. Leashed dogs are only allowed on the paved paths, not dirt trails.

Article Sources
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  1. Visit Greenville. " Research & Statistics. 2021.

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The Top 11 Hikes in Greenville, South Carolina