Travelers Rest is home to so much good – shops and restaurants, people and businesses.
We’re also home to adventure and fun, hiking and boating, trails and bike rides. One of the truly fabulous aspects of living in the foothills of South Carolina is the close proximity to so much wonderful nature. You can drive half an hour or an hour or two and discover new paths, trails you’ve never wandered, vistas you’ve yet to see. We’re lucky that way. We love to share those stories with you – spots like Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve and favorites like Jones Gap.
Some days you want to hike with a handful of friends. Some days you need solo time. But what about those hikes where the person you most want to hike with isn’t a person at all? (Not technically, anyway.) We’re talking about your best friend – Fido. (Or, in our case, his name is Ryder and he’s a giant golden doodle whose hair gets matted too quickly and who likes to sleep on the bed when no one is home.)
Whether he’s a Saint Bernard or a terrier, we know you love you dog and your adventures together. We’ve asked an Upstate frequent hiker and adventurer to share her favorite dog friendly hikes with us. Most free days you’ll find her on the the trail with her dog Spice – she’s a big fan of those ten miles and under hikes.
Photos and Story by Alison Rauch
- Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve – Sunset, SC
5.4 miles out and back with a gorgeous waterfall and gorge at the turn around point.
Park in the parking lot for the Foothills Trail known as “Laurel Valley” off Highway 178. Walk up the gravel path about ½ mile until you see the trail head and a red gate. Follow the blazes until you hear water.
- Riley Moore Falls, Westminster, SC
Easy 2 mile out and back hike with a beautiful beach and 12-foot high waterfall. You’ll likely see plenty of families with lunch and blankets.
- Yellow Branch Falls/Stumphouse Tunnel – Walhalla, SC
These trails are close by so you can tackle both in a day or just one if you choose. I think these trails are best in the summertime because the Stumphouse Tunnel is a wonderful break from the heat. Yellow Branch Falls is a moderate 3 mile out and back hike with a 50-foot waterfall at the end. Search for Stumphouse Tunnel Road, Wallhalla SC 29691. This is a small parking fee at the entrance to Stumphouse Tunnel. It was $2/car the last time I was there.
- DuPont State Forest – Cedar Mountain, NC
DuPont is one of my favorites! I recommend parking at the Visitors Center (1300 Staton Road, Cedar Mountain, NC 28718) and checking out High Falls, Triple Falls and Hooker Falls. It will be approximately a 5-mile loop and you can take off Hooker Falls for a shorter trip.
- Lake Whelchel – Gaffney, SC
7.7 miles round trip but you can cut the trip short if your pup needs a break. This Overmountain Victory Trail is great for the history buffs because it traces the route used by patriot militia during the Kings Mountain campaign of 1780. Enter 198 Concord Road, Gaffney, SC 29341 in your GPS.
Tips to make sure hiking with your pup is a fun experience.
- Make sure to tell someone where you are going. Whether it’s with or without your dog, safety on the trails is important.
- It’s also a good idea to use a hard copy map as well as an app like AllTrails to make sure you stay on the right path.
- Make sure to bring plenty of water for you and your dog, plus snacks, treats, doggie waste bags and a leash.
- Most people should have their cell phone on them so make sure to take plenty of photos of the fauna, waterfalls and your pup.
Happy Tails and Trails!
For more pup friendly articles – read about where to take your dog to dinner with you after your hike.