Current Trail Conditions:
====> FOOTHILLS TRAIL from TABLE ROCK STATE PARK to SASSAFRAS MTN is OPEN for hikers as of 1-20-17.
- After hundreds of man-hours by FTC volunteers and SC State Park Service personnel to clear the trails damaged and blocked by the Pinnacle Mountain Fire, the Foothills Trail / Pinnacle Mountain Trails within Table Rock State Park are now safe and open to hikers and backpackers. Some maintenance activity is still taking place on the Foothills Trail between Sassafras Mountain and Table Rock State Park, but the Trail is OPEN for hikers and backpackers.
Due to fire related damage Whitewater Falls USFS recreation area/Day use area/parking area is closed until further notice. The Foothills Trail from NC 281 crossing/access point to the Whitewater River Bridge and down to the Bad Creek junction is open to hikers and backpackers.
DROUGHT CONDITIONS ON THE FOOTHILLS TRAIL: Due to the current DROUGHT conditions in the Upstate and western NC, many of the smaller streams have dried up, making it difficult to obtain adequate water on the trail. Hikers should plan on filling up containers when passing flowing streams, and, even though water weighs a lot, we advise you to carry a little extra. A Boy Scout has placed water cisterns near the Cantrell homesite, at Chimneytop Gap parking area, two at a campsite ca. 1 mile below Chimneytop Gap, at the Laurel Valley designated campsite, and at the designated campsite east of the Whitewater River. A waist-high stake with a blue reflector indicates the presence nearby of these water sources. Pictures of a cistern can be found on the Foothills Trail Facebook page.
LAKE JOCASSEE WATER LEVEL: The level of Lake Jocassee drops more each day, making access by boat to the Horsepasture access (and soon to the Toxaway access) to the Foothills Trail very difficult, and soon it will be impossible. Please consider this as you plan your trip through the Jocassee Gorges area and, if you need a boat shuttle, contact the boat shuttle service PRIOR to venturing out on the Foothills Trail.
Due to recent logging operations, the area in the vicinity of White Pine Point below Sassafras Mountain can be somewhat confusing due to woody debris. Pay close attention to the WHITE BLAZES. The blazes in this section have recently been refurbished and are clearly visible now.
CAUTION: In preparation for future enhancements at the summit of Sassafras Mtn, ( including a viewing platform ! ), SC DNR has had trees and vegetation removed by a commercial operator. The portion of the Trail at the SUMMIT is OPEN, however, the trailbed is not very apparent. Additional POSTS with BLAZES have been erected, but be careful as you hike through this 150 yd. stretch. Keep to the north side of the Duke radio tower until reaching the yellow gate going east – or the steps going west. Enjoy the new, spectacular view ! !