Things to Do Near Sassafras Mountain
Sassafras Mountain is the best spot in South Carolina to take in the mountain view. It’s the highest point in South Carolina, and the observation tower at Sassafras Mountain offers a 360 degree view – from the Mountains of North and South Carolina all the way to the Piedmont below.
White Sassafras Mountain is a must see spot, once you’ve taken in the view, there’s not much left to do. Sure you’ve got some hiking trails. It is a stopover along the Foothills Trail after all, but most of the other sights along the trail are pretty far away. The closest is Laurel Valley at almost 5 miles one way.
You could find a flat boulder and have a picnic. That’s what a lot of through hikers do when they reach Sassafras Mountain. There aren’t any picnic tables though, or any amenities other than restrooms.
So now you’ve taken in the view at Sassafras Mountain and now you’re wondering how to spend the rest of your day out. Well have no fear, we’ve got a list of lots of things you can do near Sassafras Mountain.
For More Great Mountain Views near Sassafras Mountain Visit Caesars Head 20 Miles Away
If you’re at Sassafras Mountain and want to take in more mountain views, then head straight to Caesars Head State Park. It’s just 20 miles away along curving mountain roads that are especially brilliant as the leaves turn in the fall.
When you arrive at Caesars Head take the short walk out to the observation deck to get another great view from above. You can see all the way from the Blue Ridge Escarpment on your right to Table Rock and its reservoir straight ahead, as well as an amazing view of the Piedmont below.
After taking in the view at Caesars Head, you can walk back to the parking lot or circle around the short trail through the rock formation called the “Devils Kitchen” and then back to your car. If you fell up to a hike, check in at the park office and head out on any of the over 60 miles of hiking trails including a 4.5 mile hike to Raven Cliff Falls Overlook.
If hiking isn’t your thing, there are lots of picnic tables between the parking lot and the edge of the mountain. Depending on the season, you can even get a great view from the tables.
Depending on long you spend at Caesars Head, you may still lots of time left in your day out. If you want to stay in the mountains, DuPont State Forest (jump to) is only 8.5 miles away. If you’re ready to head back to the lowlands, there are still some great spots to visit.
Twenty miles away from Caesars Head you’ll find historic Hagood Mill (jump to) in Pickens, or stay in Greenville County and visit a pair of Historic Bridges that are around 25 miles away.
The oldest of the two, Poinsett Bridge is a stone structure with a 14 Foot Gothic arch over the Little Gap Creek. The bridge is rumored to have been designed by Robert Mills who also designed the Washington Monument on the National Mall.
Built in 1820 and named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, Greenville native and first US Minister to Mexico, the Poinsett Bridge was part of the State Road running from Charleston to the North Carolina State Line.
Campbell’s Covered Bridge is just a few miles away and holds the distinction of being the last historic covered bridge in South Carolina. Built in 1909, almost one hundred years after the Poinsett Bridge, Campbell’s Bridge helped unify a part of Greenville County called the Dark Corner. If you missed your picnic at Caesars Head, Campbell’s Covered Bridge park has a few picnic tables.
For Waterfalls near Sassafras Mountain visit DuPont Forest 17 Miles Away
If you’re at Sassafras Mountain and have had enough of mountain views but want something different have no fear, you’re just a few miles away from some of the best waterfall scenes in North Carolina.
I’m talking about DuPont State Recreational Forest. Located just 17 miles from Sassafras Mountain along winding mountain roads, DuPont Forest has some of the most impressive waterfalls in an area of North Carolina known for its magnificent waterfalls.
Throughout DuPont Forest, there are six major waterfalls. Sure you’ll have to hike to get to them, but depending on which way you go, it’s not a hard or long hike.
For the most waterfall for the least amount of effort, start at the Visitor Center Parking Area and follow the signs for the High Falls Loop. This trail will take you not only to High Falls but continues on to the top of Triple Falls as well. Since you’re in the mountains there are some hills to climb, but they aren’t too bad and you’ll only have to hike a couple miles round trip.
If you just want an easy hike to one of the waterfalls, Hooker Falls is just over a half mile from one of the parking areas. From that same parking lot you’ll notice that Triple Falls is really close too, but be warned that you’ll have to climb a big and steep hill to reach the top of the falls.
Both High Falls and Triple Falls have picnic shelters nearby with great vies of the falls. But lots of folks just enjoy a picnic on any flat rock they can find. Hooker Falls is popular with families and you’ll usually find people wading in the river at the base of the falls.
Lots of people spend the whole day just exploring DuPont Recreational Forest, but of you find that you’ve still got some time on your hands and want to check out more waterfalls visit nearby Pisgah National Forest.
Some of the waterfalls in Pisgah are right beside the road, so no hiking needed. They do tend to be really popular though, so you might have a hard time finding a parking spot. There are plenty of picnic tables along the road and at the Pink Beds Park.
If you’re looking for a unique experience in Pisgah check out the Cradle of Forestry in America open from Spring through Fall. Here you’ll learn about how scientific forestry techniques were first brought to America, and see how Pisgah Forest, once nothing but depleted farmland was transformed into the lush forest of today.
The trails at The Cradle of Forestry in America are paved and mostly easy walks. They’ll take you past historical and reconstructed buildings telling the story of the first forestry school in America as well some of the machinery that revolutionized forestry during the first part of the 20th century.
Another place to visit not far from DuPont Forest is the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site it’s only 15 miles away from DuPont Forest in in Flat Rock, North Carolina.
Pulitzer Prize winning author Carl Sandburg moved to Western North Carolina with his family in 1945 after purchasing the 19th Century home and 260 surrounding acres. In his 22 years in North Carolina Carl Sandburg continued to write while his wife tended to her championship goat herd.
Today the home and grounds are very much the same as they were in 1968 when the Sandburgs still lived here. Home tours are available and the barn is open where you can visit with the descendants of Lillian Sandburg’s goats.
Visit Hagood Mill Just 17 Miles From Sassafras Mountain
If you’re standing on the lookout tower at Sassafras Mountain and wondering what to do next, think about a trip down the mountain to Hagood Mill Historic Site just 17 miles away.
The historic mill was built in 1845 to serve the people of Pickens, South Carolina. Hagood Mill is restored and fully functional. It’s one of the last surviving historic grist mills in South Carolina. Fully water powered, the mill is fired up during the monthly Folklife Festival on the third Saturday of the month.
Music fills the air just like at an old time country festival. The buildings at the historic site are opened and experts demonstrate skills needed by farm families all those years ago like spinning, weaving, and blacksmithing.
The old Mill, historic cabins and workshops aren’t the only things to see at Hagood Mill. The complex also features a Petroglyph Site where prehistoric stick figures were found carved onto a large boulder along the banks of the creek. The boulder is now housed in an onsite building constructed to protect the priceless figures and includes a light show with recorded commentary about the carvings.
Also at Hagood Mill Historic Site they have a short nature trail around the property. Picnic tables are lined up in front of the Mill, and a gift shop selling grits milled onsite.