At Table Rock State Park in Pickens, it feels like the sky is within reach, if you’re willing to work for it. The 3,000-acre park offers an outdoor playground that can entertain the entire family and provide a firsthand look at nature’s resilience.
A picture-perfect summer afternoon finds the park teeming with swimmers, boaters, hikers and families just looking for the ideal picnic spot. An ideal autumn day finds visitors enjoying a picnic before hitting the trails.
The nature center, where hikers are required to register, has restrooms, drinks and more. It serves as the gateway to several trails, including the Table Rock Trail, which is strenuous, but offers a view well worth the effort. For a more family-friendly walk, stick to one of the park’s less adventuresome – but still gorgeous – trails, or play under the tree canopy and in Carrick Creek just steps from the nature center’s observation deck. Though most of the park’s trails are open following last year’s wildfires, some areas are mixed with charred trees and the almost magical green that signals the rebirth of hard hit spots.
The park has special events throughout the year, including monthly bluegrass music. Turn your day visit into a weekend or longer with cabin rentals or camping. Details and photos of the park’s cabins are online.
Visit the park’s website in advance to see hours, rules and news updates, as well as a calendar of events. See http://southcarolinaparks.com/tablerock.
Plan ahead with proper gear, including footwear and water, if you plan to hike.
Bring a picnic to enjoy at one of the picnic tables between the nature center and Pinnacle Lake.
Admission is $5 each for adults, $3.25 each for ages 65 and older), $3 each for ages 6 – 15 and free for ages 5 and younger.
Table Rock State Park is included in South Carolina State Park Passports. Visit the 42 inland state parks for 12 months for $50, all parks for $75 or get a Park Passport Plus (includes swimming for up to 4 people at Paris Mountain, Oconee and Table Rock State Parks as well as other add-ons throughout the state) for $99. Passports are transferable between cars. Passports are available at the parks or online at http://www.scparkstore.com.
Become an Ultimate Outsider. Buy a guide ($3.50 each), visit all 47 parks and get your guide stamped at each one. When complete, present the guide to get the official Ultimate Outsider T-shirt.
South Carolina State Parks offer a Junior Ranger program just for children. For details, visit http://jrranger.southcarolinaparks.com.