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Hop Into Spring in Lake Hartwell Country

Spring has (almost) sprung! The first day of spring in 2024 is March 19, and we are looking forward to a beautiful season here in Lake Hartwell Country. While spring weather can be unpredictable, we’re hoping for lots of clear skies and warm temperatures. Here are some springtime activities for the whole family to enjoy on any – or every – nice day!

Make the most out of springtime with outdoor adventures on and by the water.



Lake Hartwell Country is home to dozens of stunning waterfalls, ranging from quick stops off main roads to awe-inspiring drops rewarding you at the end of a long hike. No matter how much trekking you want to include with your sight-seeing, there are plenty of options for you to soak in the scenes. Just be careful, as springtime rain will swell the rivers and creeks around the waterfalls and may make parts of the paths slick or muddy!


If you’re looking for a quick, easy hike or a more accessible waterfall, consider Reedy Branch Falls in Long Creek, just off Highway 76 in Sumter National Forest. The gorgeous stepped stones making up this waterfall are lovely, and it’s only a 0.2-mile-long gravel path out to the falls. You can even set up a picnic by the base of the 30-foot-tall waterfall.


If you’re ready to get your feet wet and blaze a trail, you may want to opt for the more difficult 1.5-mile (one way) trip to Lee Falls. Make sure you read the directions carefully before you embark, because there is no official trail: hikers and hunters have been the ones to make tracks out here! However, you’ll be rewarded with lush spring foliage and fresh flower blooms, and you may even see some amphibians hanging out by the falls. Wear waterproof shoes and bright colors, as you’ll have to cross some creeks and hunting is permitted in this area.

The beautiful Reedy Branch Falls in Long Creek, SC.

Water Sports


Lake water may not be warm enough to dip your toes into yet, but thanks to the spring rain some rivers in the area will be opening back up for all kinds of activities. Whether you have your own paddleboard, kayak, or canoe, or want to rent one, there are plenty of waterways open to paddling around Lake Hartwell Country.


Visit the Saluda River for many miles of both beginner and advanced spots, with lots of sights to see and nature to encounter along the way. Need a rental? Book a tour with the Saluda River Rambler out of Piedmont for gear, a shuttle, and some pro tips.


You can also spend time on the “Wild and Scenic” Chattooga River, which is more isolated than the Saluda and might make you feel like you stepped back in time! Parts of the Chattooga are nationally recognized for their exhilarating white-water rapids, and as the season progresses make sure to check out the Chattooga Whitewater Shop for rentals and tubing trips.


Even if you’re an experienced paddler, make sure you do your research before you hit these waterways. Always ensure someone knows where you are planning to paddle, and to limit yourself to parts of the river within your skill level. Happy paddling!


Get your adrenaline pumping with a rafting trip down the Chattooga River!

Waterside Trails


If you prefer to stay on dry land, there are also a variety of hiking options that follow our rivers’ and lakes’ coastlines. The aptly named Lakeside Trail is a 1.9-mile-long loop in Table Rock State Park that guides you along the shores of Pinnacle Lake. You’ll circle much of the lake and be able to enjoy both aquatic views and mountain views – without trekking up the steep Table Rock Summit Trail.


While you’re at Table Rock State Park, you can also follow the Carrick Creek Trail, which takes you along parts of Carrick Creek and Green Creek and gives you multiple waterfall views. It’s just a short distance north of the Lakeside Trail, and this 2-mile-long loop should take only about an hour to complete.


Another option is to head down to the Clemson Experimental Forest for longer and more strenuous waterside hikes. The lengthy Lake Issaqueena Trail loop dips in and out of coastal sections, both immersing you in the wooded setting and surprising you with waterfront views. Or, tackle parts of the Fant’s Grove Trail System, a 35.6-mile-long network of trails throughout the forest. Make sure to select sections that give you a view of Lake Hartwell, like the Fant’s Grove Lake Trail.

Bring your hammocks and tie up for a rest along the Lake Issaqueena Trail.

Spring is a wonderful time to get outdoors in Lake Hartwell Country. The flowers begin to bloom, animals begin to emerge, and outdoor recreation sites begin to open back up for the warmer season. If you find a location or activity you love, we encourage you to return several times throughout spring to experience all of nature’s changes during this beautiful time of year.

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