Hickory Knob State Resort Park
Geographic Location: west of
Length: 1.7 miles
Difficulty: 2/10 (Easy)
Last Hiked: October 2012
Overview: A quiet forest hike on winding, well-graded trail.
Park Information: http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/hickoryknob/introduction.aspx
Google Map: http://www.mappedometer.com/?maproute=133669
Directions to the trailhead: From McCormick, drive west on US 378 5.8 miles to CR 7 and turn right on CR 7. Take CR 7 1.6 miles to the signed state park entrance on the left. Turn left to enter the park, then drive 1.3 miles to the barn-like Long Cane Center the left. Turn left and park in the Long Cane Center's parking area.
The hike: Visitors who drive the 14 miles of US 378 between McCormick, SC and Lincolnton, GA pass three state parks: Baker Creek and Hickory Knob in South Carolina and Elijah Clarke in Georgia. All three parks make fine destinations and offer access to
, but the recreation opportunities at Lake Thurmond far exceed those at the other two area parks. Indeed, the facilities at Hickory Knob include a fine 18-hole golf course, 2 large meeting halls, the historic Guillebeau House, a 76-room lodge, a restaurant, a 44-site campground on Hickory Knob State Park , 18 cabins, an archery range, and a skeet-shooting range. Thus, if you are going to visit only one of the three parks between McCormick and Lincolnton, make it Hickory Knob. Lake Thurmond
also has the area’s best selection of hiking trails, as 3 trails totaling 11.3 miles wind through the park’s backwoods. All 3 trails make for fine hikes, but I was somewhat pressed for time on my first visit to Hickory Knob. Thus, I chose to hike the 1.7 mile Turkey Ridge Loop, the shortest of the park’s 3 trails. I hope to come back in the near future and hike the other two. Hickory Knob State Park
The information board you see just east of the
is the trailhead for the 7 mile Lake View Loop, but you can start there and head downhill on the center’s access road to meet the main park road. The Turkey Ridge Loop enters the forest on the opposite side of the park road at a wooden fence construction and a brown carsonite post. The Turkey Ridge Loop is marked with plentiful yellow paint blazes for its entire distance. This trail is also open to mountain bikers, but I did not encounter any other trail users on my Friday afternoon hike. Long Cane Center
|Trailhead-Turkey Ridge Loop|
|Downed pine trees over trail|
At 0.6 miles, the trail reaches its lowest elevation as it curves right and begins a gradual climb. Throughout this hike the trail alternates between shady broadleaf forest and sunny, grassy areas with a sparse canopy. Many of the sunny areas used to be populated with pine forest before the pine beetle arrived. Small trees are repopulating these areas, but the process takes time. Elsewhere on this loop I saw up-standing pine trees with brown needles, holes throughout their trunks, and dust-like wood shavings around their base, very recent victims of the pine beetles.
|Sunny section of trail|
|Mature broadleaf forest|