Foothills Trail '15

Quick Adventure Facts:

Who  - Joe (see gear list), Matt (see gear list) & Will

What  - The Foothills Trail

When  - January 30th to February 3rd 2015 | 5 Days

Where  - South Carolina & North Carolina | map, .gpx, .kml  *

Trail Overview


The Foothills Trail submits the highest point in South Carolina, Sassafras Mountain, and features a ton of beautiful lakes and waterfalls.  While the Appalachian Trail, which is roughly 20 miles away at its closest point, may get all the hype, the Foothills Trail might offer a little more bang for you buck in terms of highlights per mile.


The Foothills Trail is roughly 77 miles long and weaves back and forth in and out of South Carolina and North Carolina.


The Foothills Trail is very similar to the AT in terms of terrain.  The trail is rocky and physically challenging. Steep climbs over rugged terrain will involve frequent climbs and ascents. 

This would be a great hike for someone planning to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.  The terrain will be a close match to what you'll find on your hike and the 5 to 7 day food carry will give you an idea of what to realistically expect while on trail.


Depending on the month, hikers can expect to find a full three seasons of weather on the Foothills Trail.  Some hikers can experience sub-freezing temperatures and snow if hiking in the winter. It is usually hot and humid in the summer and full of rain, sometimes for days at a time.

The Foothills Trail can be hiked any month of the year.  You will need to plan your gear accordingly as the conditions vary so greatly from summer, to fall to winter and spring.


Getting to the trail isn't too tough.  Interstates and backroads offer easy access to both ends of the trail. The trail is well marked and easy to follow.

The Foothills Trail Conference also offers a guidebook and maps.


There are no legitimate resupply options that do not involve a long hitchhike.


Typically, a standard 3 season set up like Joe, Matt and Will used will work well on the the Foothills Trail.  You can check out Joe's gear list here and Matt's here.

Trip Report

By: Will Wood 

The Foothills Trail is a great trail that is roughly 76 miles long that extends from Table Rock State Park to Oconee State Park and the trail snakes through both North and South Carolina. Do not be fooled by its short length, this trail is a butt kicker and a great preparation hike for anyone that is planning to attempt the Appalachian Trail.

We began our hike at Table Rock State Park in early February 2015 and immediately started a 2,300’ ascent up to the highest mountain in South Carolina Sassafras Mountain at 1,083m/3,554’ in elevation. It was a pretty good climb and definitely a bit tougher seeing that it began right when we left our vehicles behind.

The weather on this hike was frigid to say the least, we were hiking in February and even experienced some snowflakes along the way. Like I said early this trail is a great preparation hike for the AT because it resembles the AT with its constant ups and downs. In some ways this trail could be perceived as tougher in that it receives much less foot traffic making the trail conditions a bit tougher due to less impact.

We would hike around some beautiful lakes, cross many streams and reach multiple waterfalls on this hike. Its not necessarily filled with a ton of views but it is in a pretty secluded area so it provides a great sense of peace and connection with nature.

We would spend an entire day of this hike in sever weather with lots of hard rain and the rain would continue into the night causing the trail to become quite muddy and slippery. Rhododendron is found everywhere on this trail so you are treated to some beautiful sections of hiking through Rhododendron tunnels which is quite enjoyable.

The trail ends with a section following the Chattooga River which is the border for South Carolina and North Carolina and happens to also be where scenes from the movie Deliverance were filmed, but don’t allow that fact to keep you from hiking this great little trail! We finished the hike in 5 days and all agreed that the trail was fun and worth hiking.

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