Hagood Mill Historic Site - an old wooden gristmill with a large water wheel attached to its side. The mill is two stories high, with weathered wood siding and a gabled roof. It is situated in a lush green setting with trees in the background that suggest a forested area. In front of the mill, there’s a historical marker on a post, providing information about the significance of the site.
Hagood Mill in Pickens, South Carolina

Hagood Mill Historic Site Field Report

Today’s visit was to Hagood Mill Historic Site in Pickens SC. After turning onto Hagood Mill Rd. from Hwy 178, I immediately saw a sign for mill parking to the left. Turns out, that’s the parking area for the pavilion not for the mill itself. Not a big deal, the mill entrance is just a short walk away, and if you’re here on the weekend, especially during their Third Saturday Folklife festival, you may need to park here anyway.

I walked down to the information kiosk near the stream and picked up a map for the “Native Roots Trail”. This a self guided tour around mill grounds focusing not on the mill and the adjacent buildings, but on the original inhabitants of this area. The tour starts at the “Sacred Fire Circle” on the pavilion side of the site and continues around to the Petroglyph Center. A map of the buildings at the mill site is available from the Visitors Canter.

Dirt path with millstones lined to left and mill in distance along path
Old Indian Path leading to Hagood MIll

The main parking for the mill is average sized with room for maybe two dozen cars. The old Indian Path leads to the mill building and continues running through the entire site. To the left of the path is a line of mill stones from various mills in the area and on the right is a line a picnic tables.

When I arrived, the mill doors and windows were open, so I could walk inside and wander around. As they do operate the mill on the weekends, any moving parts are fenced off, but you can still see lots of machinery and other artifacts from the days that the mill ran as a way of life for the people in the area.

Hagood Mill waterwheel in a creek being fed by a millrace from above

After exploring the mill, I crossed a small bridge next door to reach the start of the short ¾ mile nature trail. The trail climbs up to the start of the mill race feeding the mill and then around the perimeter of the property.

The earthen trail is mostly easy to traverse, but towards the start there are a lot of roots on the path, so you need to watch your step. Along the way, you’ll cross over the old Indian path and see one of the historic cabins that’s in the process of being restored. The path continues on and crosses another small bridge half way in and then comes out near the Petroglyph Center.

The centerpiece of the Petroglyph Center is the bolder containing prehistoric rock carvings that was discovered here. The building was constructed around the bolder to protect it from the elements and vandalism. A recorded narration and light show can be started by pushing the black button on the wall to the right of the door. Push the button hard and from the top to get it to work. The lobby has exhibits of pottery, arrow heads, and information of the indigenous people of the area.

2 old cabins at Hagood Mill Historic Sitewith large cedar tree on left side
Historic cabins across the path from the mill

After leaving the Petroglyph Center, I walked down towards the 2 cabins on the opposite side of the path from the mill. The 1791 cabin is set up like it may have been in the 18th century with a small table, oil lamps, and stairs leading to a sleeping area on the second floor. The 1820 cabin has a number of spinning wheels and a loom.

Hagood Mill stage designed to look like an old barn
The stage at Hagood Mill Historic Site

After exploring the cabins, I made my way passed the stage where musical acts can bee seen on the weekends as well as the monthly Folklife mini-festival. Then I passed through an early 20th Century barn and found myself at the Visitors Center. You can pick up all the usual types of souvenirs at the gift shop, but you can also get grits and corm meal milled on site in the water driven mill.

Final Thoughts

picnic tables with Hagood Mill in the background
Plenty of space for a picnic – more tables are across the road near the Pavilion

Hagood Mill is a fun and educational place to visit. It’s rare to find a working water powered grist mill not to mention the best preserved Petroglyph site in South Carolina. Both at the same place is a real find. The site is open from Wednesday through Sunday. If you don’t like crowds, a weekday visit would be best, but if you can visit on the third Saturday of the month for the Folklife Festival but expect a crowd. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches if you need a little break. Admission is free most days except of the festival where there’s a $5 charge.