High Hills of Santee Passage

Palmetto Trail

Trail Activities: t

  • Hike
  • Bike
  • Equestrian


11.40 miles





Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Features: t

  • Parking
  • Trail Head
  • Picnic Area
  • Restrooms
  • Camping
  • Pets
  • Fee
  • Camping


High Hills of Santee in Sumter County was named for the high, sandy ridges that are part of the Sandhills geographical region. These rolling hills are the remains of an ancient ocean shoreline found in the Carolinas and Georgia. Over time, the beach sand and shells transformed into rock, called coquina, which can be seen today throughout Poinsett State Park.

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This moderately easy section of the Palmetto Trail winds through the Manchester Forest and Poinsett State Park. You will find the terrain more diverse than you would expect for this area and some of the plants found here, such as mountain laurel, are usually only found in the mountains. Your hike/ride will take you through a forest of red cedar, oaks, and pines with Spanish moss hanging from their branches, and home for wide variety of wildlife. This area also has a lot of history and you can almost feel the presence of the Catawba Indians and early travelers. You may even find unmarked Revolutionary War sites and remains of gristmills.

Camping is available at Poinsett State Park. Tents, RV sites and horse stalls available (reservations required) at Mill Creek County Park. High Hills Passage through Manchester State Forest is a multi-use trail—hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. Equestrians are not allowed in Poinsett State Park. A horse-staging area is located outside the park. Equestrians are allowed in Mill Creek Park.


Poinsett State Park Trailhead: Poinsett Park Road (S-43-63). Turn right (west) and drive to the park. Manchester State Forest offers free day-use parking on left of Poinsett Park Road just before entering the park. Continue into the park for day or overnight parking. Find trailhead at park headquarters. For equestrian parking or camping, turn right on River Road before reaching the park entrance. Drive 0.1 mile to equestrian staging area.

Mill Creek County Park: From Columbia or Sumter on US Hwy 378, turn south onto SC 261 and travel 12.5 miles, through Wedgefield, to Camp Mac Boykin Road (S-43-51). Take right fork toward Rimini, drive 3 miles, and turn right on Millford Plantation Road (S-43-808). Travel 0.8 mile to Mill Creek County Park.

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Palmetto Conservation Foundation | 722 King Street, Columbia, SC 29205 | (803) 771-0870 | Email

Manchester State Forest | 7640 Headquarters Road, Wedgefield, SC 29168 | (803) 494-8196

Poinsett State Park | 6660 Poinsett Park Road, Wedgefield, SC 29168 | (803) 494-8177

Mill Creek County Park | 7975 Millford Plantation Road, Pinewood, SC 29125 | (803) 436-2248

Download Coordinates
KML file Trail Segments (Paths)
Trail Features (Points of Interest)
Lat: 33.77058651802734
Long: -80.52620747394722