Foothills Trail (Laurel Valley to Upper Whitewater Falls)

Location: Western North Carolina
Trip Starts: Laurel Valley
Trip Ends: Upper Whitewater Falls
Total Distance: 45.1 miles
Hike Type: One-Way, Shuttle Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Trails Used: Foothills Trail
Trail Traffic: Light to Moderate
Trip Type: Multi-Day Hike
More Information:

Foothills Trail Conference
P.O. Box 3041
Greenville, SC 29602


The main stem of this nearly 100 mile long hiking trail extends from Table Rock State Park in Pickens County, to Oconee State Park in Oconee County. The trail crosses some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain in the Southeast and provides access to Sassafrass Mountain, the highest peak in South Carolina, and to major mountain streams and breathtaking views.

The section of the trail from Laurel Fork Creek to the Whitewater River is often referred to as the Gorges Section and was initially built and maintained by Duke Power Company as part of a licensing agreement for the construction of Lake Joccasee. Both State and Federal agencies have taken over management responsibilities in recent years, and this section of South Carolina has some of the best backcountry wilderness in the Southeast. We spent four days hiking this section and passed many waterfalls and crossed some impressive suspension bridges during our trip. The Foothills Trail Conference has a detailed guidebook for the area, and has done a magnificent job with maintenance of the trail.

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