Located in South Carolina, the hiking in Sumter National Forest is known for five fun and beautiful hiking routes. The best Sumter National Forest hiking based on popularity are considered to be Foothills Trail - South, Buncombe Trail, Chattooga Trail, Rocky Gap Trail, and Foothills Trail - North. For a detailed trail description and printable trailhead map, just select a Sumter National Forest hiking trail below.
Located halfway between Spartanburg and Columbia, the Buncombe Trail is a 31.5 mile hiking loop. This white blazed trail winds through forested hills and valley terrain with several stream crossings. Along the trail, the points of interest include old cemeteries, wagon roads, and plantation sites. There are opportunities to view various wildlife species and abundant plant life. With interconnecting loops, routes of various lengths can be formed. The Buncombe Trail is also shared with mountain bikers and equestrians.
Northwest of Westminster near Mountain Rest in the Sumter National Forest, the Chattooga River Trail (#54) is an 18.3 mile hiking trek through the scenic river headwaters past exceptionally beautiful cascading waterfalls, wild azaleas and rhododendron. While 18.3 miles of this trail are in the Sumter National Forest, the trail connects with extensive trails of two other national forests. This primitive trail varies from moderately to extremely difficult depending upon the terrain.
Northwest of Walhalla and west of Mountain Rest in the Sumter National Forest, the Rocky Gap Horse Trail is a 12.5 mile trail system consisting of several loops. The trail system connects with the 15 mile Willis Knob Loop. These are some of the most scenic trails in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains and wind across deeply dissected ridges along with descending to the Chattooga River.
Beginning in Oconee State Park on the Chattooga River and ending 50 miles away in Table Rock State Park, the Foothills Trail is an interstate cruise across miles of prime South Carolina hill country, making a few forays into North Carolina. From dense forests of hardwoods to rocky cliffs, waterfalls, and streams, the trail takes in varied fauna and rare flora, such as the Turnbridge fern, and crosses a heart-stopping 200-foot suspension bridge.