From the spring picnic and annual Fall Gathering to regular group outings and trail maintenance projects, there are a variety of events throughout the year just for members of the Foothills Trail Conservancy.  Participants must be members of the Foothills Trail Conservancy or their guest. Event Notifications will be sent by email to members through the FTC’s online registration system when registration is open. Please sign up to receive outing notification by providing your e-mail address to the Foothills Trail Conservancy mailing list on our Web site www.foothillstrail.org.
Questions should be sent to FTC through the email address info@foothillstrail.org. The number of registrants per hike is at the discretion of the hike leader and will sometimes be limited. Registration is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. You will be asked to fill out an Acknowledgement of Risk form prior to your hike. The Foothills Trail Conservancy does not permit dogs on group hikes.

If you are interested in helping maintain the Foothills Trail email maintenance@foothillstrail.org

*Mark these Saturdays on your calendar for our 2024 Maintenance projects:  January 27, March 30, May 18, July 27, Sept. 28 & November 2 (during Annual Gathering at Oconee State Park)Details and location will be emailed to those interested in helping with maintenance. 

Foothills Trail Conservancy 2024 Outings

Saturday, January 27  — Sassafras to Table Rock State Park. Join FTC Board members, Scott Stegenga & Special Projects Coordinator, Heyward Douglass, on one of the most spectacular sections of the Foothills Trail.  In the winter months, with less foliage, the enormous boulders below Pinnacle Mountain and Table Rock can be fully appreciated, and the views from Drawbar Cliffs and Pinnacle Overlook (also called Bald Knob) are incredible. *This 9.5-mile hike is strenuous because of its length and the fact that it descends 2,500 ft. from Pinnacle Mountain. It will require a shuttle, so we will meet at Table Rock Nature Center parking lot at 8:30 a.m. Bring lunch, snacks, water, appropriate clothing and footwear, and consider bringing hiking poles or a hiking stick.  Before the hike the group will enjoy the views from the observation deck at Sassafras Mountain. This hike is limited to 30 people. Time commitment:  8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Saturday, February 17 – Winter waterfall views at Gorges State Park.  Many of the waterfalls within Gorges State Park are hidden deep in the woods and are inaccessible by trail. However, during the winter months, when the leaves are off of the trees, some of these waterfalls deep within the park can be seen from the edge of the trail. Join Gorges Park Ranger staff for a 7.2 mile hike along the Auger Hole Trail to the Toxaway River and back. We will meet at the Frozen Creek Road Trail Head access at 9:00am with a plan to be on the trail by 9:30am. Bring a packed lunch to eat along the trail and plenty of water. This 7.2 mile round trip hike is not technically challenging but does involve portions of elevation gain throughout the day that can be considered strenuous.  This hike is limited to 20 participants.

Saturday, March 16  Oconee Bells at Devils Fork State Park. Join fellow FTC members to celebrate the Jocassee Gorges’ most famous harbinger of spring, the flower of the rare and beautiful Oconee Bell, at Devils Fork State Park on Lake Jocassee in northern Oconee County. BellFest is a Friends of Jocassee public event that features local artisans, exhibitors, silent auction, and interpretive hike. We recommend you take part in a 1-mile wildflower walk on the Oconee Bell Trail with markers that identify plants along the trail. There are places along the Oconee Bell Trail that are conveniently set up for photography to limit trampling of the plants. Please be mindful of others on the trail and practice social distancing.  10:00 am – 3:00 pm at Devils Fork State Park.  (Admission to the park is $8 per adult; $5 SC Seniors (65+); $4 children (6-15), under 5 are free)

Saturday, March 23  – Celebrate Spring  with a hike along the Oconee Passage from Oconee State Park to Station Cove State Historic SiteMeet at the office/restrooms parking lot at Station Cove at 9:00 am.  It will be necessary to shuttle to the Chestnut Ridge Trail Head in Oconee State Park. From there the hike is relatively flat except for a short downhill section. After viewing Station Cove Falls, if Mother Nature agrees, there will be the opportunity to see the spring blooms in one of the most diverse plant communities in the world. The hike ends at the historic buildings after about 5 miles of easy hiking.  Hike leader: Bobbie Wilhite, FTC Board Member and South Carolina Master Naturalist.

Saturday, April 6 – FTC Spring Picnic- At Table Rock State Park,  2:00-7:00 PM at the White Oak Shelter.  The meal is served around 4:30 PM.  FTC provides drinks, hot dogs and hamburgers.  We ask that FTC members bring a pot luck dish to share.  Live music by the Cornbread Heads 2:30-4:30pm.  Following the meal, a presentation will be given by Master Naturalist, Dan Whitten.  The cost for Adults is $10 each and kids are free for this event.  This is a great event for the family. ***The morning of the Spring Picnic we have planned a group hike up Stool Mountain for FTC members.  The hike will begin 9:00am. the group will meet at the White Oak Shelter at Table Rock State Park (same location as our Picnic).  FTC Board members, Scott Stegenga and Jerry Ellsworth will lead the group. This hike is limited to 15 people.  Registration for the hike and picnic will be separate. 

Saturday, April 13 – Wildflower Walk at Whitewater Falls. Join Gary Kauffman, USFS botanist / ecologist, on an informative stroll from the Whitewater Falls overlook to the Whitewater River. Get up-close views of dozens of wildflowers along with excellent opportunities to photograph them. This early spring hike will be co-led by Heyward Douglass, FTC Special Projects Coordinator. Bring water, snacks, lunch, and appropriate footwear and clothing. This hike is limited to 25 people. Time commitment is 9:00 am – 1:30 pm.

Saturday, May 18 –   Join FTC Board Member and retired Furman Professor, Bill Ranson, on an informative hike to explore the geology of the Palmetto Trail.  Dr. Ranson recently published a book with SCDNR personnel, The Guide to the Geology of the Foothills Trail.  Starting at Beasley Gap on US 178 south of Rocky Bottom.  We would meet at Holly Springs grocery at 9:00am and carpool up since the parking is limited at Beasley Gap.  It is an out and back hike 4-5 miles total depending on participants.  On this hike we will cross a major fault and see a variety of upstate rock types (and a mystery mineral) that inform us about the geologic history of our region.  I will put what we see into the context of the regional geology and Appalachian Mountain origin and evolution. Limited to 15 people.

Saturday, June 1 — The American Hiking Society has named June 3 as National Trails Day!  FTC and Table Rock State Park are partnering to celebrate National Trails Day by hiking up the Pinnacle Mountain Trail to the Bald Knob overlook to take in the fantastic views during a lunch break. The hike will include sections of the Foothills and Palmetto Trail.  The complete hike will loop 7.7 miles and is rated strenuous with a gain in elevation of over 1600 feet.  Hike limit for FTC members and guests is 10 people. SC State Parks entrance fee or Passport required.  This hike will begin at 9am and should be finished by 3pm. Share your adventure on the Foothills Trail using  #NationalTrailsDay & #FoothillsTrail

Saturday, August 17 – Join our FTC Chairman, Andrew Gleason (aka: Chainsaw) for this summertime loop hike beginning and ending at the end of Big Bend Road. We will meet at Cherry Hill Recreational Area at 9:00am and car pool to the end of the road to begin the hike. We will hike down to Big Bend along the FHT and proceed to Simms Field and Crack in the Rock. Then take the Crack in the Rock trail back up to the parking lot. The hike will be 4.5 miles and strenuous due to the elevation gain. We will visit some nice spots along the Chattooga River. Limited to 25 people.

Friday – Sunday, Nov 1-3  —  FTC Fall Gathering at Oconee State Park. Join us for a FUN weekend get-together of FTC members, family and friends.  A variety of hikes of various lengths will be offered, a scavenger hunt, maintenance project, guest speakers, annual meeting and great food & fellowship.  Registration information will be sent out by mail and email to FTC members by early September.  Registration is required to attend this event.

For more information, email info@foothillstrail.org

 

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