10 most beautiful trails you have to see to hike, bike and explore in SC

Linda Henley and Russ Andrews, both of Beaufort, walk their dog Shelby along the Spanish Moss Trail.
Linda Henley and Russ Andrews, both of Beaufort, walk their dog Shelby along the Spanish Moss Trail. dearley@islandpacket.com

There’s more than one way to discover South Carolina’s amazing history.

Many of the Palmetto’s State’s hiking and biking trails not only let you explore the outdoors, but travel back to South Carolina’s past.

Even if history isn’t really your forte, you’ll enjoy the beautiful sights these trails have to offer.

1. Spanish Mount Trail

The trail is located on Edisto Island and offers beauty and history.

You can find the remains of a shell midden — Indian mound — that shows the mark made by Native Americans who once called the island home.

Visitors have reported that much of the midden has been washed away thanks to Hurricane Matthew’s aftermath and natural erosion.

Despite that, Spanish Mount Trail is still worth the walk or ride because of its incredible water views and history.

You can bike or walk this trail, but you’ll definitely want to take a picture of the shell midden before Mother Nature washes it away.

2. Table Rock State Park

If you feel daring or want to prepare yourself for Mt. Everest (just kidding), hike the trails in this state park at Pickens.

It’s home to the tallest mountain in the state — Pinnacle Mountain — making it the perfect warm-up for mountain climbers. Besides, you can’t beat the views.

3. Conway Riverwalk

Quiet morning on the Riverwalk. #conwaysc

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Going to Myrtle Beach, you might get overwhelmed by the neon lights and bustling nightlife.

For a quieter time, take a trip to the town of Conway and bike the 1.5-mile trail.

Riding or walking down the riverwalk with the Waccamaw River below you offers a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and a nice, quick workout, too.

4. “The Hulk” a.k.a. Horry County Bike and Run Park

Get ready for the workout of your life on this 7-mile trail.

The Grand Stand’s hidden gem definitely isn’t for the faint of heart.

The trail offers twists and turns and was created in 2012 by mountain bike-enthusiasts, so you know some muscle is needed to reach the end.

5. West Ashley Greenway

Greenway views (right before Deacon jumped in)

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The Holy City is nice and all, but some visitors might want to explore Charleston’s more “natural” side. The West Ashley Greenway is the easiest way to do it.

The greenway begins in the suburbs and ends in the wetlands surrounding the city, following US 17.

You’ll need some endurance to pass through this 8.25-mile trail, but getting a view of both sides to Charleston is worth it.

6. Palmetto Trail

Do you want to experience the entire state of South Carolina?

Ride the Palmetto Trail from the sea at Myrtle Beach to Lowcountry marshes.

It’s the longest pedestrian trail in South Carolina, according to the official trail’s site, and today runs 350 miles. Plans are to have it grow 500 miles in the future (construction started in 1994).

7. Congaree National Park

About 20 miles west of Greenville, this series of trials gives this beautiful national park plenty of trail options for hikers and cyclists.

The Congaree National Park is the only South Carolina park on the US National Park Service’s list and that alone makes it a worthy place to visit.

If you live for hiking and also appreciate history, you have to walk along the park’s Boardwalk trail. Pick up a brochure and take a self-guided tour to learn about the park and the people and animals that live, have lived or walked through it.

The numbers you see along the trail correspond with the brochure, so you’ll be able to take a piece of Congaree National Forest with you when you leave.

8. Spanish Moss Trail

Spanish Moss Trail became a true example of Beaufort’s pride and spirit.

The trail started as a collaborative effort by Dean Moss, the trail’s volunteer executive director, and other community-minded leaders, the trail’s site states.

Since 2013, five phases of the 10-Phase Master Plan have been completed and are open to the public, connecting the city of Beaufort and the town of Port Royal.

You can walk or bike along the paved 12-foot-wide trail as well as fish, walk your dog and enjoy the water views.

9. Swamp Rabbit Trail

This trail provides recreation and transportation for visitors and locals alike.

The Greenville trail functions more like a greenway and runs along the Reedy River, old railroad corridor and then through state parks, including Falls Park on the Reedy and Cleveland Park.

10. The historic Columbia Canal

The Palmetto State’s capital city obviously holds much of South Carolina’s history and Riverfront Park is no exception.

The park has a trail that stretches four miles and follows the old path of the remaining structure of a series of South Carolina Canals built in 1824, according to the SC Trails program’s site.

You’ll eventually reach the old Columbia Canal and see how the Broad and Congaree rivers still power the canal to this day.