Table Rock State Park, in upstate South Carolina, has some of the best autumn adventures in the country.
The leaves are changing from green to red and orange, and the temperatures are finally cooling off. Why not take advantage of early autumn by taking a camping trip in one of the country’s best places to view fall colors?
Camping at Table Rock State Park
Located on the outskirts of the Blue Ridge Mountains in upstate South Carolina, Table Rock State Park offers a range of camping possibilities, including cabins, three campgrounds, and even a lodge that can be rented out for reunions and other gatherings. The campground near the park entrance has 69 campsites, and the campground at the White Oaks are has 25 sites. These two campgrounds offer water and electric hook-ups, and some sites can even accommodate RVs. For the more adventurous, the third campground, at Lake Oolenoy, has primitive hike-in campsites in a wooded setting.
Visitors can also enjoy the outdoors in a more comfortable setting by staying at one of the mountain cabins, which have amenities such as microwaves, refrigerators, beds with linens, and a fire place.
Enjoying Fall Colors from the Trails at Table Rock
Table Rock State Park is criss-crossed with hiking trails of varying difficulties. The trail with possibly the best views of autumn leaves both trailside and from dramatic overlooks, is the Table Rock Trail. The trail winds its way up Table Rock Mountain through a beautiful forest. While a little strenuous, there is a Civilian Conservation Corps shelter about halfway up the mountain. This is a great place to take a break or even a refueling picnic, plus it provides a beautiful view in an opening through the trees. The next overlook, farther up the trail, is Governor’s Rock, which rewards you with another beautiful view and photo opportunities. Finally, if you continue to hike a little way past the Table Rock summit sign, you will find a panoramic view of the rolling foothills and a lake some 1600 feet lower than where your feet are.
You will undoubtedly want to rest for a while if you make it all the way to the top, but it’s important to keep in mind that the mountainside gets dark much quicker than flat land, so keep your eye on your watch as you hike. Whichever trail you decide to hike, make sure to register at the nature center, bring plenty of water, a buddy, and your camera!
The park also offers several ranger-led fall programs for visitors, too, including guided fall hikes, sunrise hikes, and even live bluegrass music and dancing at the park lodge on the weekends.
Scenic Drives near Table Rock State Park
If hiking cuts into your autumn relaxation time a little too much, you can still enjoy beautiful views of the autumn colors from the many scenic roads in the area. The most beautiful route to take during the fall is probably the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, which stretches some 130 miles over two-lane roads. It follows an old Cherokee path, and the Cherokee people referred to the area as the “Great Blue Hills of God.” It’s easy to see why, especially if you travel this route in the early morning or evening.
The Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway winds around several of the region’s best sights, including Caesar’s Head State Park, King’s Mountain National Military Park, and Issaqueena Falls. There are also a number of mom-and-pop restaurants in the tiny towns scattered throughout the foothills which offer hospitality and warming home cooking. There are even a number of local festivals throughout autumn in the area that make for a fun side trip.
The Table Rock State Park area offers autumn adventures of all persuasions and makes for a great weekend trip for visitors of all ages.