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Foothills Trail, NC/SC

Jun 3 - Jun 11, 2017 -- $1275 ★★★

The wild and beautiful Foothills Trail is a little known gem of a trail tucked up in the northwest corner of South Carolina. Despite its lack of notoriety, the October 2010 issue of Backpacker Magazine listed the Foothills Trail as one of the ten best long trails in the country (50+ miles). This designation puts the Foothills Trail in the company of the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and other better known trails.

National Geographic named the Jocassee Gorges one of "50 of the World’s Last Great Places". The route we’re planning goes through the heart of the Jocassee Gorges area.

Our hike will cover a 50 mile segment of the Foothills Trail, starting with a boat shuttle to the trailhead on the north end of undeveloped Lake Jocassee. The mid-point of the hike will find us at 411' tall Whitewater Falls. We will traverse several other major rivers, including the Chattooga River of Deliverance fame, and one of the first rivers in the country to receive "Wild and Scenic River" status. We'll be listening for banjo music.

If you happen to be one of the people who hiked the Foothills Trail Fitpacking trek in 2013, this route will allow you to complete the entire length of the trail.

Why not come with us to enjoy the wild and beautiful landscape of the Foothills Trail? At the same time, you'll improve your body composition in the process.


Weather is always an important consideration when backpacking. June on the Foothills Trail usually finds daily temperatures in the 80s but could drop into the 70s or rise into the 90s. Nights should be in the 50s and 60s. Please come prepared for the possibility of rain or cold temperatures at night. Here is the historical weather

Trip Leaders

Bruce Cannon
2nd Guide TBD


$1275 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Greenville, SC (GSP) as well as personal equipment, restaurant meals and any gratuities. You may also be charged for any parking charges for leaving your car at the hotel all week (probably none, but they sometimes charge for this).

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 7 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, fees and awesome guides.

Important Note

The Foothills trail is well marked and well maintained by a large group of volunteers. Water is abundant from the many headwaters that feed into the four major river systems the trail traverses. The trail can be rugged, but there's usually very clear and solid footing with staircases in some places.

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Guides for this trip
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Drive or fly into Greenville, SC (GSP). The best time to arrive is between around Noon-3PM. However, if you can save a substantial amount on your flight by arriving a few hours earlier or later, then do so.

Call for a free shuttle to Hampton Inn & Suites Greenville-Spartanburg, 108 Spartangreen Blvd, Duncan, SC, 29334-9424, 864-486-8100

Equipment shakedown

Trail mix distribution

Go to REI for last minute equipment if necessary

"Before" measurements taken

Go out for dinner at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Second set of "before" measurements taken

All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in a storage unit.

Free Hotel Breakfast

Check out of hotel

Shuttle to Jocassee Outdoor Center, 516 Jocassee Lake Road, Salem, SC 29676, (864) 944-9016, for boat shuttle to trailhead on upper end of Lake Jocassee.

Area Map

Begin the hike at Cane Brake

Hike 1.0 mile climbing steadily away from the lake for 600 feet elevation gain, then the trail undulates easily on and off old logging roads for 4 miles to Bear Creek camp site.

Camp at Bear Creek, elevation 1,700'.

Today’s mileage: 5.3. Total miles: 5.3

Possible bailout: Boat shuttle back to Devil’s Fork State Park.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hike almost 3 easy miles and descend to the Horsepasture River, crossing the river on a 115 foot bridge.

Climb 2.2 miles out of the Horsepasture River Gorge amidst the rare Oconee Bells which grow in profusion here. The trail levels off after about one half mile to the Bearcamp Creek campsite.

Camp at Bearcamp Creek, elevation 1,400'

Miles today: 5.2. Total miles: 10.5

Possible bailout options limited

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Follow Bearcamp Creek for 1.0 mile to Hilliard Falls Trail Spur

Day-Hike 0.5 round trip miles to Hilliard Falls

Climb up and over the ridge to the Thompson River. Continue climbing over the ridge to the camp site near the junction to the spur trail to the Lower Whitewater Falls overlook.

Day-Hike 2.0 round trip miles to Lower Whitewater Falls

Camp at Lower Falls camp site, elevation 2,180'

Miles today: 7.8. Total miles: 18.3

Possible bailout: NC 281

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Hike 0.5 miles to the Whitewater river

The trail follows the Whitewater River upstream for 2.3 miles to the upper Whitewater Falls overlook

After a steep uphill climb, resupply at Whitewater Falls

Cross NC Highway 281 and climb up and over Grassy Knob for 3 miles to Round Mountain Gap

Camp at Round Mountain Gap, elevation 3,200'

Today’s miles: 5.9. Total miles 24.2

Possible bailout: NC Highway 281

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Descend gently for 2.5 miles to SC Highway 107 at Sloan Bridge picnic area

Hike 3.3 easy miles paralleling the East Fork of the Chattooga River and several small waterfalls to Fish Hatchery Road and the crest of Medlin Mountain

Begin gentle descent of 4.5 miles from Medlin Mountain to Burrell’s Ford Road

Cross the gravel road passing a nineteenth century cemetery and King’s Creek Falls to the campground at the Chattooga River

Camp at Burrell’s Ford campground. elevation 2,050'

Today’s miles: 10.6. Total miles: 34.8

Possible bailout: NC 281 or SC Highway 107

Friday, June 9, 2017

Hike 8.3 miles downstream mostly paralleling the Chattooga River

Camp at Lick Log Creek campsite, elevation 1,700 ft.’

Today’s miles: 8.3. Total miles: 43.1

Possible bailout: SC Highway 107

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Gently ascend for 2.1 miles to cross SC Highway 107 and around the crest of Dodge Mountain

Trail is gently rolling for next 6 miles to western terminus of the Foothills Trail at Oconee State Park

End of hiking portion

Today’s miles: 8.1. Total miles: 51.2

Check back into Hampton Inn & Suites Greenville-Spartanburg, 108 Spartangreen Blvd, Duncan, SC, 29334-9424, 864-486-8100

After measurements taken

Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Free breakfast in Hotel

Check out of Hotel

Take Free Airport Shuttle

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