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Croft State Park was never on my radar, but my Spartanburg-native husband frequently went swimming there as a kid. Although swimming is no longer permitted, the park offers boating, plus equestrian and biking trails.

When we first arrived, the lake view reminded me a little bit of Paris Mountain. Then, some kayakers paddled our way, and their tiny silhouettes in the distance showed me that the lake was much larger than I’d originally judged.

As a whole, Croft State Park dwarfs Paris Mountain. According to the South Carolina State Park website, Paris Mountain measures 1,540 acres, while Croft is a whopping 7,054 – one of the largest in the state.

The extra size means Croft has about twice as many campsites. Plus, canoe and kayak rentals are available year-round, while Paris Mountain only allows them on weekends during summer. While both Paris Mountain and Croft host a Music in the Woods series, the two parks have different calendars. Croft’s runs from April until November on the second Saturday of the month, while Paris Mountain hosts theirs every Saturday during September and October.

Croft State Park did disappoint a bit for pedestrian-only hiking options. I was expecting to see a trail encircling the lake. What they call a lake trail is less than a mile. When we were there, I couldn’t even tell it was technically considered a trail until I saw the map! It seemed walkway.

Later, we learned that we could’ve gone to Lake Johnson within the park to hike there, but that trail is a partial loop. Three separate trails connect to take you about two-thirds of the way around the lake.

Hikers must share most trails with horse and mountain bikes. From the shorefront at Lake Craig, the only option was an equestrian trail. With a 4-year-old child in tow, I wasn’t comfortable with hiking on a trail where a horse might come trotting in our path. I was equally worried about her ability to evade a speeding bicycle.

Overall, if you live nearby, this scenic park is certainly worth a visit.

However, if you’re coming from any significant distance, your enjoyment here will depend on the activity you desire.

If you’re looking for a pretty place for a relaxed picnic, the scenery is perfect. Greenvillians looking for a boating experience will also be happy choosing Croft. Certainly if you love mountain biking or if you own a horse, you should look at your options at Croft.

For hiking, though, this park doesn’t top my list. The fact that only two and half miles of this huge park are for hikers-only surprised me. Pedestrian hiking is a secondary activity here, and it’s something I’d hope to squeeze into the day if we went for a boat rental.

You can go

Croft State Park is located at 450 Croft State Park Road, Spartanburg.

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