Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lake Greenwood State Recreation Area (Blog Hike #366)

Trail: Greenwood Nature Trail
Hike Location: Lake Greenwood State Recreation Area
Geographic Location: east of GreenwoodSC (34.19671, -81.95232)
Length: 0.8 miles
Difficulty: 1/10 (Easy)
Last Hiked: December 2011
Overview: A short hike along the west shore of Lake Greenwood.

Directions to the trailhead: From Greenwood, take SR 34 east to SR 702.  Turn left on SR 702.  The State Recreation Area entrance is 2 miles ahead on the right.  Turn right to enter the area.  Pay the nominal entrance fee, then turn left at the Park Office.  Bear left at the next two intersections, heading for Campground #1.  The trail begins behind the Recreation Building in Campground #1.

The hike: The Great Depression’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built trails, dams, buildings, and other park structures throughout the United States, and this is one park that would not exist without their handiwork.  Lake Greenwood was created between 1935 and 1940 by the CCC’s construction of Buzzard's Roost Dam, a hydroelectric dam on the Saluda River.  The dam not only provided the Greenwood area with electricity, but it also created recreation opportunities along the lake’s shore.  In 1938, Greenwood County donated these 914 lakeshore acres to the state of South Carolina to form Lake Greenwood State Park.
            The recreation area today is best known for its two excellent campgrounds, multiple picnic shelters, and multiple boat ramps.  In terms of trails, the area features only a single short nature trail, the one described here.  This trail is used almost exclusively by campers, so if you come during the non-camping season, you will likely have it to yourself.  While hardly a hiking destination by itself, this trail makes a nice warm-up or cool-down if you plan to hike at Ninety SixParsons Mountain, or Long Cane, all of which are in the area.
Trail starts at Recreation Building
            The trail starts at the right side of the Recreation Building where a brown park sign bearing a blue blaze says, “Nature Trail 0.8 mi. loop.”  The entire trail is blazed with blue paint blazes, which is a good thing because some parts of the trail can be hard to discern otherwise.  The trail passes around the right side of the Recreation Building and heads gradually downhill through pine-maple forest.
Trail reaches steep-banked creek
            After only a few hundred feet, the trail reaches a steep-sided creek with eroded banks.  The blazes cross the creek here, and with careful stepping it is possible to follow the blazes.  If the bank looks too steep for you here, head towards the lake and cross closer to the lake; the creek banks are much less steep there.
            Across the creek, the trail forks to form the loop.  This description will turn right here and use the left trail as a return route.  The trail parallels the creek, heading directly for the lake.  You never get a clear view of the lake, but at 0.2 miles you reach the closest point to the lake.
Approaching Lake Greenwood
            The trail curves gradually left, as indicated by some black arrows printed on white metal diamond-shaped markers, and climbs gradually.  At 0.6 miles, you reach the steep-banked creek you stepped across earlier, where another metal marker indicates another left turn.  Another 0.1 miles of walking parallel to the creek closes the loop.  Turning right, stepping over the creek a second time, and retracing your steps 0.1 miles back to the Recreation Building will complete the hike.

No comments:

Post a Comment