Mountain State Park
Springs Loop:Moderate - 6.0/10
Ridge Loop:Moderate - 5.0/10
Tower Trail:Moderate - 4.0/10
Placid Trail: Easy - 2.0/10
Springs Loop:4.0 Mile Loop
Ridge Loop:2.5 Mile Loop
Fire Tower Trail:1.6 Miles (3.2 Miles out &
Placid Trail:1.2 Mile Loop
to Greenville; Nice Mountain Lakes, streams, and a couple
of small waterfalls. Well-maintained and easy
to follow trails. A great Family Destination.
no spectacular mountain views
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
per person entrance fee to Paris Mountain State Park.
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.
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
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
This is also the point where the Sulphur Springs Trail intersects
with the Fire Tower Trail.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Ridge Shared Use Trail.
Bikers Only: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
Hikers Only: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 weather at the higher elevations
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
out these new features on their web site before
traveling to the extreme higher elevations:
Mount Mitchell Web Cam here>>
we don't think about future generations, they will
never forget us. ~Henrik Tikkanen