Upper Junction #6

Location: Northwestern South Carolina
Trip Starts: Russell Bridge
Trip Ends: Russell Bridge
Total Distance: 5.6 miles
Hike Type: Roundtrip, Loop Hike
Hike Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trails Used: Chattooga River, Fisherman’s Trails
Trail Traffic: None
Trip Type: Overnight Hike
More Information:

Sumter National Forest
Andrew Pickens Ranger District
112 Andrew Pickens Circle
Mountain Rest, South Carolina 29664
(864) 638-9568


The Chattooga River begins in the mountains of North Carolina as small rivulets, nourished by springs and abundant rainfall, high on the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains. The water drops a half mile in elevation over fifty miles as it winds its way to Lake Tugaloo where the river ends between South Carolina and Georgia. The Chattooga is one of the few remaining free-flowing streams in the Southeast, and the setting is primitive with dense forests and undeveloped shorelines on most of its route.

The Chattooga River Trail is a forty mile route that borders the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia and follows the banks of the Chattooga National Wild And Scenic River from Burrell’s Ford to US 76. Congress designated the river on May 10, 1974 and it is often used by kayakers, hikers, backpackers, and fisherman as it winds from the North Carolina mountains to Lake Tugaloo. The Chattooga River Trail shares its pathway with both the Foothills and Bartram Trails in the Russell Bridge area, but it stays close to the river for its entire distance unlike the other major southeastern trails.

The trail to the “Upper Junction” campsite starts at Russell Bridge on the South Carolina side of Highway 28 and immediately leaves the banks of the Chattooga River. Watch the route carefully as you leave the parking area, since the Fisherman’s Trail follows the river while the green blazed Chattooga River Trail veers immediately to the right and makes a steady climb up a small ridge. After about two miles, the Fisherman’s Trail meets the Chattooga River Trail again on the river. The Upper Junction campsite is just past this intersection and located down a steep bank. If you continue past this large “Upper Junction” campsite you will eventually reach Thrift Lake Falls and the Foothills Trail.

On this trip, we opted to follow the Fisherman’s Trail to the Upper Junction campsite and return to Russell Bridge via the Chattooga River Trail.  This is a loop that can be hiked in either direction, but in recent years the Fisherman’s Trail hasn’t been as well maintained as the Chattooga River Trail.

GPS Coordinates:

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