Fall in South Carolina is here and so are all the great colors it brings. Where do you go for the best fall foliage in South Carolina? An hour and a half northwest of Columbia is a place called Upcountry, and it’s a very popular destination for visitors looking to experience the very best fall foliage in South Carolina. If you’re ready to get outdoors and enjoy Mother Nature’s colorful glory, a great starting point is the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area.
Any time is a great time to visit South Carolina’s diverse state parks, but we’ve found that fall provides a perfect period to choose one or more state parks for finding colorful fall foliage. There are currently 47 unique parks in the South Carolina State Parks system-and more than a dozen of them provide breathtaking leaf peeping possibilities. Head straight to the appropriately-named Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway (SC 11), where more than a half-dozen colorful state parks are all within easy reach. Generally following the route of an old Cherokee Native American footpath, Highway 11 runs east and then south about 110 miles along a two-lane road that leads to many state parks, as well as other sightseeing opportunities. It starts (or ends) in Gaffney in the east and ends (or starts) near quaint Fair Play and sprawling Lake Hartwell. Heading out of Gaffney proper and roughly paralleling the nearby North Carolina state line, leaf peeping and sightseeing begins promptly at the first twisting bends in the road. The first state park stop is Jones Gap State Park, which is about 60 miles from Gaffney, so there’s plenty of time for colorful pull-offs and appropriate sightseeing stops along the way.
Just outside of Gaffney just west of where SC 11 crosses over I-85, the route’s colorful and scenic sightseeing begins at the unique “Peachoid.” Towering at 135 feet, the Peachoid is actually a water tower for the town of Gaffney that’s been realistically painted to look like a giant peach perched high in the sky. The color of the peach is remarkably like the palette changes of oaks, hickories, maples, and more during their varied stages of fall colors.
Continuing on SC 11, possible well-signed stops before Jones Gap State Park include: Cowpens National Battlefield, a fascinating Revolutionary War site; Campbell’s Covered Bridge (the only remaining covered bridge in the state); Poinsett Bridge, a historic stone Gothic arch bridge built in 1820 and believed to be the state’s oldest surviving bridge; historic Blythe-Goodwin-Hagood House (also known as the John H. Goodwin House); and Raven Cliff Falls, which is one of many dramatic waterfalls accessible along SC 11 that provide postcard-perfect backdrops for fall colors photography. Jones Gap State Park proper also features its own waterfalls, along with dense forests seemingly bursting with fall foliage vistas. Lots of trails (including the pretty 77-mile Foothills Trail) and woodlands combine and connect Jones Gap with Caesars Head State Park to the west to comprise the sprawling Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. There are also several waterfalls, like Jones Gap Falls and Falls Creek Falls, a trout-stocked pond built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) back in the 1930s, and a meandering section of the tree-lined Middle Saluda River, South Carolina’s first designated scenic river.
NOW you know where the folks in SC go for their fall foliage. If you’re thinking of moving here and you’d like to build your own custom home or buy from a fantastic Columbia builder, call on Lady Street Builders at 803 240 6274. We have a terrific array of plans to choose from or we can build your home from the bottom up. Contact us today.