Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve
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- No Fee
This 1.7-mile trail through the 374-acre preserve takes you to the namesake, Eastatoe Creek, that tumbles steeply into a pristine mountain gorge.
This moderate, 1.7-mile path takes you into the 373-acre Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve, which is a wonder nestled within a pristine mountain gorge. The Eastatoe (pronounced “EAST-a-toee”) Creek Trail is relatively easy for most of the way, but drops precipitously down into the gorge for its last .5 mile (Of course, that means you’ll have to hike back up to return!). The forest teems with large beech and hemlocks as well as wildflowers such as partridgeberry and jack-in-the-pulpit. Switchbacks make the going a bit easier, and stairs are provided where the trail descends/ascends more steeply. Following a rain, footing can be difficult (at one point, the trail borders a 100-foot cliff). The rewards, however, come in Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve, which is home to a beautiful stream filled with naturally reproducing rainbow trout. Across the creek is a cliff with a small, attractive waterfall. Due to the unusual humidity in this area, three rare tropical ferns grow here that are not found anywhere else in North America. Yellow blazes on the Eastatoe Creek Trail are sometimes confusing, but the end of the trail is well marked with a triple blaze. Return the way you came.
Primitive camping is available at a designated camping area at the end of the Eastatoe Creek Trail, and along the Foothills Trail. No facilities are available in the preserve.
Hours: Dawn to duskDirections:
From Pickens: Drive north on US 178 to the bridge over Eastatoe Creek (approximately one mile past the community of Rocky Bottom). Cross the bridge and turn left at the Laurel Valley Lodge sign. Bear right onto the unpaved fork (The road sign reads Horsepasture Road, but the sign is frequently knocked down.) and continue to the Foothills Trail parking area on the left. Follow the yellow blazes on trees for about 0.1 mile and turn left (south) onto an old logging road marked by a cable gate.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources | 311 Natural Resources Drive, Clemson, SC 29631 | (864) 654-1671
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