National Trails Day for Laurens County
Trails Await in Laurens County for National Trails Day
From coast to coast, and here in Laurens County, Americans will be celebrating National Trails Day this Saturday, June 3rd, by exercising their birthright to travel freely under their own muscle power—hiking, biking, and paddling.
National Trails Day is a nationally coordinated event promoted by the American Hiking Society that aims to connect people, nature, and trails in ways that improve health, promote fellowship, encourage conservation, and raise the quality of life for all.
People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to get outside and enjoy an outdoor adventure, and there is no shortage of opportunities to do so right here in Laurens County where you’ll find a variety of trails for all abilities and interests.
For foot travelers, there is plenty of trail to keep you moving all day or any part of it. If you’d like a short walk or run of a half-mile or so through the woods, head out to either Karl M. Dixon Memorial Park at Boyd’s Mill Pond or over to Charlie Lollis Memorial Park on Route 76 where it crosses the Reedy River.
Presbyterian College offers a mile long multi-purpose trail, fit for cycling, too, around its intramural fields, and Musgrove Mill State Historic Site has a mile-long trail and several shorter ones suitable for every age.
If you’d prefer longer trails of several miles, some of it paved and wheelchair accessible, visit Lake Rabon Park at 647 Lake Rabon Drive in Laurens or Little River Park off of East Main Street in Laurens.
Several miles of wooded trails await you, also, at the Joe Adair Outdoor Education Center in Laurens at 110 Scout Creek Court.
The more adventurous hikers can head out to the Sumter National Forest to traverse 15 miles of the Palmetto Trail’s Enoree Passage in Laurens County, and the hardiest souls can cover the entire 36 miles of the Passage, which includes parts of Newberry and Union Counties, too.
Anyone interested in water trails will find Laurens County similarly attractive and enjoyable.
The Enoree River offers 18 miles of smooth paddling, 9 miles upstream and downstream of Barrel Stave Road, which presently has a detour due to bridge construction. Paddlers or floaters can put in at Highway 49 and take out at Barrel Stave Road or put in there and take out at the landing at Forest Service Road 336A. Energetic, fit, prepared, and highly experienced paddlers could make a long day’s run of the entire stretch.
Rabon Creek offers several paddling opportunities, too. You can drop a canoe or kayak in the water at Fort Lindley Historic Site and four miles later pull out at Indian Mound Road, or you can keep paddling or put in there and travel 7 miles farther to the Waterloo Fishing Pier. Or from Waterloo you can head on down to Lake Greenwood. Lake Rabon Park off of Route 252 also offers easy access for paddling around the lake, if you’d prefer not to shuttle.
There’s also a nice 4 mile stretch of water on the Reedy River from the Charlie Lollis Park where Route 76 crosses the river down to Karl Dixon Park on Boyds Mill Pond off of Route 252.
Consider the Saluda River, also, on the western edge of the county where there are several possibilities. Particularly enjoyable is the 3 mile stretch between Erwin Mill Road and the Maddox Bridge Road.
Not all of these locations have ramps or parking, so check them out before heading out to paddle. Remember to allow time to navigate the inevitable “strainers” or downed trees, too, and if you paddle later in the summer, be sure to check water levels before you begin. Presently, water levels are good.
If cycling is your preferred mode of travelling outdoors, Laurens County is also home to several good cycling routes. Full descriptions of these routes, as well as the routes noted above, are available in the Trails Master Plan of the Laurens County Trails Association (LCTA), which is online at www.lctrails.org.
You’ll also find county maps there at the master plan’s end. To whet the cyclist’s appetite, though, there are five good routes worth considering: the Laurens County Park Loop (11 miles), the Barksdale Loop (15 miles), the Clinton / Joanna Loop (17 miles), the Gray Court / Owings Loop (22 miles), and the Clinton / Bush River Loop (23 miles).
Of course, whether you walk, paddle, or cycle, remember to be prepared. Wear appropriate clothing for the weather and activity, and use insect repellent and sunscreen. Respect the rights of others, don’t trespass on private property, and do no harm to plants and wildlife. It’s always a good idea to let others know where you’re going and when they can expect your return. Carry water, perhaps also food, and under all circumstances leave no trace. Leave only footprints and carry out the joy of getting some good exercise outdoors and enjoying your life and good fellowship.
Adventure in Laurens County on National Trails Day with family and friends, and make your own memorable outdoor adventure. The National Trails Day website identifies more opportunities in our region and across the country (http://nationaltrailsday.americanhiking.org/), but with continued public support here at home, there will be even more trail opportunities in beautiful Laurens County next year for everyone who calls it home. For example, construction of Clinton’s Miller’s Fork Trail will begin in August and that of the Sterilite Park will soon follow. The LCTA and friends are also working to bring the Swamp Rabbit Trail through Laurens County. Developments like these are sure to make Laurens County an even more attractive place to live and work.
(Bob Bryant is a member of the Laurens County Trails Association board of directors.)