Learning Trail

Location: Central South Carolina
Trip Starts: Education Center
Trip Ends: Education Center
Total Distance: 0.7 mile
Hike Type: Roundtrip, Loop Hike
Hike Difficulty: Easy
Trails Used: Learning Trail
Trail Traffic: Light
Trip Type: Day Hike
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Harbison State Forest
5500 Broad River Road
Columbia, SC 29212


Harbison State Forest is composed of 2,177 acres and over 20 miles of trails ranging in length from 0.4 miles to 5.8 miles. In 1997, the Harbison Environmental Education Center was established to provide a setting for teaching about natural resources and the environment. The park is a peaceful escape from the bustling capital of South Carolina located only a short distance away in Columbia and visitors can view a working sawmill, check out a 19th century steam loader, or visit a small fire tower as they stroll around the grounds behind the Education Center. Several trails and outdoor classrooms are located in the pine and hardwood forest that surround the center which makes this an ideal setting for visitors to learn in a natural environment. The park is well maintained and managed, and mountain bikers, nature enthusiasts, and hikers with their dogs will all enjoy the area.

The Learning Trail is a short, interpretive, loop trail that starts at the Education Center in Harbison State Forest. The route makes a small loop to the north and returns to the parking area where it began. Along the Learning Trail, park personnel have posted interpretive signs that provide insight into the various plants and animals that are native to the area and a vernal pond is located a short distance from the Education Center. The pond collects water in the spring but dries up during the hot, summer months. It is an important habitat for many of the animals in this southern forest and your pooch may find the pond quite inviting – especially in the wetter months. Unfortunately, it is off-limits to both man and beast. So please keep the dog on a leash while on the trail or around the Education Center which is required by the Harbison State Forest.

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