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Paris Mountain State Park

Greenville, SC

by Jack Thyen (SCJack)

Water: Yes
Difficulty Rating:

Sulphur Springs Loop:Moderate - 6.0/10

Brissy Ridge Loop:Moderate - 5.0/10

Fire Tower Trail:Moderate - 4.0/10

Lake Placid Trail: Easy - 2.0/10

Hike Distance:

Sulphur Springs Loop:4.0 Mile Loop

Brissy Ridge Loop:2.5 Mile Loop

Fire Tower Trail:1.6 Miles (3.2 Miles out & back)

Lake Placid Trail:1.2 Mile Loop

Pros:  

Convenience to Greenville; Nice Mountain Lakes, streams, and a couple of small waterfalls.  Well-maintained and easy to follow trails.  A great Family Destination.

Cons: Crowds, no spectacular mountain views
Camping: Yes, more than (40) campsites, but none are located along the trails.  Contact the park office for more details: (864) 244-5565 or visit their web site>>
Notes:   $2.00 per person entrance fee to Paris Mountain State Park.

Sulphur Springs Loop:

he Sulphur Springs Trail is the most scenic, but also the most difficult of the four trails in Paris Mountain State Park. I will describe the loop going clockwise starting at the trail head next to Picnic Shelter #6. It can also be hiked in the opposite direction by starting across the road.

The trail starts off easy, following a nice stream with a few small cascades along the way. After about a half mile you will arrive at the Mountain Lake Dam Waterfall, and the old pumping station.   After climbing up the trail next to the pumping station you arrive at Mountain Lake, a picturesque little pond, which at one time was one of Greenville’s water reservoirs.

 

After passing by the lake, the trail starts to climb, following the stream all the way up. There are some real nice cascades and small waterfalls to see along the way. With a total climb of about 600 ft, this is the most difficult section of the hike. Once you reach the top at about the 1.5-mile point of the hike, you will see the remains of the old fire tower on your right. All that’s really left of it now, is a foundation and chimney. This is also the point where the Sulphur Springs Trail intersects with the Fire Tower Trail.

The trail levels out for the next mile allowing for some nice easy hiking through the woods; a welcome change after the 600ft climb. There are a few nice views, but nothing spectacular to see along this section of the trail. The trail eventually joins the Fire Tower Trail for a short while which will take you to Buckhorn Gate.

Buckhorn gate is where the Sulphur Springs Loop, Brissy Ridge Loop, and Fire Tower Trail all meet up. This is nice, because it enables you to customize the hike to just about any distance you want. From here you can do the Brissy Ridge Loop to add an additional 2.5 miles, take the Fire Tower Trail for an additional 3.2 miles out and back, or just continue on the Sulphur Springs Trail to complete the 4.0 mile loop.

 

The Sulphur Springs Trail continues with a short climb just past Buckhorn Gate, followed by the final mile, which is all down hill and makes for an easy finish. After a couple of small, easy stream crossings, you will arrive across the road from the picnic shelters and parking area.

Brissy Ridge Loop:

Of the four Paris Mountain trails, the Brissy Ridge Loop provides you with the best mountain views. The loop can either be done on its own, or as a 2.5 mile add on to the Sulphur Springs Loop. The first thing you will notice is the sign at the trail head, which says:

Brissy Ridge Shared Use Trail.
Bikers Only: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
Hikers Only: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

As of March 2003, this is the first trail of its type (shared used, alternate days) in the State of South Carolina. This trail has undergone some major modifications, re-routing, and some new sections added to make about two-thirds of it suitable for mountain bikers. Mountain Bikers can use the road past Buckhorn gate to make a complete loop.

I will describe the trail going clockwise starting at Buckhorn gate. The hike starts out with a wide track, not too many obstacles, and a gradual downhill slope. Although nothing spectacular, this section of the Brissy Ridge offers the best mountain views in Paris Mountain State Park. After about 1.5 miles, the trail will cross a paved road. Turning right on the road will take you down to Camp Buckhorn, while turning left will take you back up to Buckhorn Gate. This is where mountain bikers must leave the trail and head back to Buckhorn Gate via the road.

s a hiker, you will most likely want to cross the road and continue on the Brissy Ridge Loop. The trail gets a little more interesting, and a lot more strenuous at this point. A bit of climbing follows, but nothing too difficult, just enough of a climb to get your heartbeat up a little. This last section of the loop, which is just over a mile long, will take you back to Buckhorn Gate.

Fire Tower Trail:
This is the least interesting of the four Paris Mountain Trails, and I would recommend it only after you’ve done all the others. Its 1.6 miles one way, making a 3.2-mile out-and-back hike. It is mostly a gradual uphill slope, and a nice walk in the woods, but not much to see along the way. The trail ends when it intersects with the Sulphur Springs loop near the remains of the Old Fire Tower. Here you can either backtrack the way you came, or turn right and take the Sulphur Springs trail back to Buckhorn Gate. Like all the trails in Paris Mountain State Park, the Fire Tower Trail is well maintained and easy to follow.

Lake Placid Loop:
This is the easiest of the four trails and the best one if you have small children along. It is also the most crowded, where you will see people of all ages and physical ability able to do the 1.2 mile walk around the lake. The trail follows the perimeter of the lake, with many side trails heading to the shoreline. At the far end of the lake is an old dam, which creates a nice man-made waterfall. There is also a short side trail that takes you to the ruins of an old outdoor Amphitheater, and beyond that there are more unofficial trails that split off and are just waiting to be explored.

Near the old Lake Placid boathouse, there is an area roped off where swimming is allowed. There is also a place where you can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats. The many picnic tables around the lake make it a good place for a family outing.

Gettin' There : From Greenville, South Carolina. From I-385 in Greenville, take exit 40 (Hwy 291 - Pleasantburg Drive) and head north. After 1.5 miles, veer left at the US29 Intersection, and then a quick right to continue on Pleasantburg Drive. From here just follow the signs for about another 3.5 miles. (Right on Piney Mount Road, Right on State Park Road, veer left at the fork, Park Entrance will be on the Left).Lake Placid Loop: Shortly after going through the entrance gatehouse, park in any of the numerous parking areas near the lake. The trail encircles the lake, and the loop can start anywhere.

Sulphur Springs Loop: Continue on the main road past the lake. Turn right (going straight will take you to the campground) at the stop sign. On the left, there will be a good size parking area for Picnic Shelter #6. This is the best place to park for the Sulphur Springs Loop.

Brissy Ridge Loop & Fire Tower Trail: Continue on the road past Picnic Shelter #6 and head up the mountain. There is a small parking area right near the trail heads at Buckhorn Gate. (Note: do not block the gate!)

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CURRENT EVENTS

 
The current weather at the higher elevations

This time of year the temperature changes can be dangerous. The Mount Mitchell State Park has added a web cam and description of weather conditions on their web site. At 6684 feet, the highest in the east, the weather can get fierce on the summit. 178 mile per hour winds have been clocked here.

Check out these new features on their web site before traveling to the extreme higher elevations:
Mount Mitchell Web Cam here>>

Mount Mitchell Weather here>>

Hikers of the "Corn"!

A couple of years ago, corn mazes began to populate the country side in Western North Carolina. While it may not qualify as a "hike", spending an afternoon navigating an intricate corn maze can be a lot of fun.

Corn Maize Information

Here is a list of ones to try:
Cherokee Corn Maze
Blue Ridge Corn Maze
Wood Farm Corn Maze

Article about Corn Mazes

 Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us. ~Henrik Tikkanen

 

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