I have lived in South Carolina for almost 30 years and in that time I have hiked, camped, and gone backpacking in almost every part of the Palmetto State. I have completed the Foothills Trail numerous times as well as pretty much the entire Palmetto Trail. 20+ years ago when you wanted hiking info you had to call a Ranger Station, go on a message board or head over to the book store. Today it’s very different with every trail and camping area easily researched on the internet. However, a book still has it’s place, sometimes there is a little tidbit that just isn’t mentioned on AllTrails. Well, if you like to read or be thoroughly researched on the topic of hiking in South Carolina, this list is for you. I own and have read every book and guide mentioned below.
50 Hikes in South Carolina
50 Hikes in South Carolina is exactly what it sounds like! From little day hikes in the Lowcountry to deep dives on the trails around Lake Jocassee, this is a handy book to have if you are planning a backpacking or hiking trip.
Family Hikes in Upstate South Carolina
If your adventure includes the little ones or you need to find some easier trails for the grandparents to tag along, then pick up this book from Scott Lynch. It’s focused on the Upstate around Greenville and Scenic HWY 11. It’s extremely helpful to find a lot of hidden trails in local parks and greenways where internet info might not be reliable.
Hiking Waterfalls in Georgia and South Carolina: A Guide To The States’ Best Waterfall Hikes
North Carolina often gets called the land of Waterfalls, but South Carolina has more than it’s fair share. You could spend a lot of time tracking down all the amazing water falls in the state! This is a handy guide that outlines some falls that are only a few hundred feet from the road to harder ones to reach that are a few miles down the trail. Most waterfalls are in the Upstate area and that is where the book focuses.
Easy Hikes to Carolina Waterfalls: A Guide to Over 200 Waterfalls in North and South Carolina
If you plan on exploring any waterfalls in South Carolina, you need this book! It like the one above covers both North Carolina and South Carolina, but since the states and area are so close, you can usually see a few in a given day. I like that the author focuses so much on how to find them when they are not necessarily on public access lands.
Waterfall Hikes of Upstate South Carolina
As I said above, even with the internet going back to a book can yield a ton of info as it does with this book by Thomas King. Of the 125 waterfalls he lists, there are several that are overlooked or not mentioned in the other books. The book is laid out perfectly b area and has detailed directions and field notes.
Hiking South Carolina’s Foothills Trail
There are two main guides if you really want to know all the details of the Foothills Trail, this book by Scott Lynch and the Official Guide Book from Foothills Trail Conservancy Both are extremely useful and highly detailed. The Guide Book has many mile by mile notes.
Nantahala and Cullasaja Gorges Trails Illustrated Map
Besides a GPS device and reading up on trail conditions a detailed map is next on the list for research and to guide you on the trail. This map #785 in the Nat Geo series cover the uppermost part of the State of South Carolina. I like to know where I am all the time and understand the terrain I will be hiking on and these maps from National Geographic are vital in understand the big picture. Fire Roads and many secondary roads are also listed. These are also helpful to use in conjunction with the any of the Waterfall Guides above.
Tree Spotting in South Carolina Record Keeping Book
I’ll assume you are as fascinated with the local lore and fauna as I am, so this log book is super fun. You will be amazed at how many different varieties of trees you pass by on the trail. Now you can keep track. I wish I started mine much earlier!