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Oconee

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56°

Fog

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TRAVEL ADVISORY

The park’s main lake Swim/Cabin Lake is at full pool.  We are working to re-establish our fishing program.  All other activities, including boat rentals, have resumed normal operation.

The Old Waterwheel Trail at Oconee State Park is currently closed due to damage from Hurricane Irma.  Thank you for your patience.

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HOURS

Su-Th 7am-7pm; Fri-Sa 7am-9pm (extended to 7am-9pm daily during Daylight Savings Time)

OFFICE

M-Fri 9am-5pm; Sa-Su 11am-noon & 4pm-5pm

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ADMISSION

$5 adults; $3.25 SC seniors (age 65 & older); $3 children ages 6-15; ages 5 and under, free.

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PETS

Pets are not allowed in the cabins or the cabin areas. Pets are allowed in most other outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet.

Oconee State Park  Has Wifi

Wifi Available

BY THE NUMBERS

1 of 16 SC State Parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps

139 standard campsites with water and electrical service

15 designated rustic tent sites

19 historic CCC-built cabins for your family to enjoy on your next vacation

4 picnic shelters for group gatherings

1 old-fashioned swimming hole, complete with lifeguards and an awesome high-dive during the summer

18 hole mini carpet golf located near the campground for all to enjoy

1165 beautiful acres in the South Carolina Upcountry

Oconee State Park

Mountains

Oconee Trails

Foothills Access Trail 

Length: 1.2 miles
Type: Hiking Trail
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Description: Perhaps no other trail in South Carolina provides such an extraordinary backcountry experience as the difficult, Foothills Trail in the northwest corner of the state. Starting with the 1.2 mile Foothills Access Trail in Oconee State Park, only the first 28 miles of the Foothills Trail from the park to Upper Whitewater Falls was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1979. By snaking along the Blue Ridge Escarpment, this trail and its many connectors provide almost 200 miles of hiking; most of it the rugged Appalachian greenbelt variety. The trail is accessible only to hikers, although vehicular access is available to many points along the main trail which, depending where you start, is either 80 or 85 miles long. Even so, considering numerous spur trails and connectors, an ambitious backpacker could hike the backcountry for more than a week.

Hidden Falls Trail

Length: 2.4 miles
Type: Hiking Trail
Difficulty: Moderate
Description: After a hike of approximately 1 mile on the Foothills Trail, you will see a clearly marked sign directing you to Hidden Falls. Yellow blazes on the northern red and chestnut oak trees along the trail provide direction, as you wind along the hammered out hillsides of the Blue Ridge. As you walk, you will be entertained by the rippling sounds of Tamassee Creek behind the dense underbrush that camouflages its existence. During extreme dry conditions the falls may not be more than a 50-foot trickle dropping over a series of rock ledges, but several rock benches provide a  place to sit and enjoy the galax, rhododendron, and ferns while you dangle your feet in the creek. 

Lake Trail

Length: 1.2 mile loop
Type: Hiking Trail
Difficulty: Easy
Description: Begin this easy walking, dirt and grass, loop at the lake swimming area. From the parking area you will descend on a stone walk, pass in front of the swimming pavilion, cross the spillway, and pass the waterwheel on your left. You will wind around a dirt path that offers fishing access between the lake and rental cabins. A bench in a quiet natural area on the far end of the lake marks the halfway point of the trail. You may see fox, raccoon, snakes, Canada geese, woodpeckers, and a variety of other birds and wildlife.

Wormy Chestnut Trail

Length: 0.5 miles
Type: Hiking Trail 
Difficulty: Easy
Description: This is an easy loop trail leading you through a once thriving grove of American Chestnut. The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was devastated by the chestnut blight and may only reach a mature height of twenty feet today before succumbing to the blight. Also, keep a keen eye out to spot some historical CCC structures along the path.

Oconee Trail

Length: 2.3 miles
Type: Hiking Trail
Difficulty: Moderate
Description:  The Oconee Trail is an atypical mountain hike because it has little change in elevation. Nevetheless there are enough ups and downs to make it demanding. The surrounding countryside embodies everything pleasing about the Appalachian Mountains. On a good day (and with an early start) you might encounter wildlife such as deer, raccoons and wood ducks. From its trailhead at the park amphitheatre, the Oconee Trail follows green blazes and small white signs inscribed with “OT.” You will pass by one of the park’s two lakes, which are especially scenic under morning mists, and a pond where you may see beavers at work. The Oconee Trail ends at a juncture with the Old Waterwheel Trail. You can return as you came (1.6 miles). Or turn left on the Old Waterwheel Trail, hike to Cabin Area 7-13, and return to the campground on the park road (2 miles). A third option is to turn right onto the Waterwheel Trail, follow it to the trailhead of the Foothills Trail, and return to the campground on the park road (3 miles).

Tamassee Knob Trail

Length: 2.0 miles
Type: Hiking Trail
Difficulty: Strenuous 
Description: Starting from the parking area you will hike on the Foothills Trail to a sign with a rust colored arrow that clearly shows the direction to Tamassee Knob. This strenuous, well-maintained 2.1-mile, out and back trail provides you with scenery that is well worth the effort. Magnificent views are available in every direction. Mountain laurel and rhododendron engulf the edges of the trail, along with wild strawberries, Solomon’s seal, beggar lice, and a variety of asters. The trees that provide shade along the trail include dogwood, black oak, chestnut, hemlock, black locust, and redbud. Watch your step along the trail, because at times it falls off sharply on both sides. Once you reach the Knob, you will be swept away by the breathtaking sites of the undulating hills of the Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. At the pinnacle of the trail rests a perfect boulder that can be used for a natural picnic table. You will find this a fulfilling three-hour escape from the noisy world beyond the captivating hills that surround it.

Old Waterwheel Trail

Length: 1.2 miles
Type: Hiking Trail
Difficulty: Moderate
Description: You can begin this very quiet, scenic, wooded, occasionally steep, loop trail at either entry point off the paved park road. If you begin at the Foothills Trailhead, you will follow the path to the right where you will see an orange and white OWT marker and a green blaze above. As you wind through the quiet woods, you will turn left at another sign. Remember to watch for markers to make sure you are on the trail. You will ascend hills that offer glimpses of the surrounding woods, cross the creek on plank footbridges, and meander amid mountain laurel. Watch for bear, deer, snakes, and a variety of birds and other wildlife. When you come to the sign for the Old Waterwheel, you can hike down stone steps and view the remnants of the stone structure where the wheel was once used to pump water (the waterwheel has since been moved to the park lake). Return to the trail and follow the markers uphill over log ties on a dirt slope. At the top of the narrow trail you will reach a roadbed where you can turn right and walk a short distance to the paved park road (the parking area is to the right), or you can extend your hike on the Oconee Trail