tip of a peninsula grass growing with few trees and picnic tables water is visible on 3 sides
Near Picnic Shelter #1 offers great views of the lake and individual picnic tables.

Lake Greenwood State Park and Dam Field Report

Normally I like to do a little research before I do a site visit. This way I have an idea of where I’m going, why I’m going there, and what I want to see. But today I had a little extra time and found myself just a few miles from Lake Greenwood State Park. So I decided to go check it out. I’ve never been there before, so everything will be new to me.

A Bit of History at the Entrance

unfinished wall curving to the left. only the right side is completed as it follows the curve it gets lower and lower until it is only a single stone high
A wall started by the CCC just days before the attack at Pearl Harbor.

First thing I noticed before I even got to the main part of the park was a little information sign and pull off on the side of the road. When I see something like that, I have to stop and see what’s up. This time it paid off in a big way.

Large rough cut stones laying randomly in the woods.
When word arrived of Pearl Harbor, workers rushed to enlist leaving these stones.

The woods were full of large, rough cut stones. The sign explained the situation. This was one of the 16 Civilian Conservation Corps State Parks built in South Carolina. In December 1941, the young men of the CCC were building a wall at the entrance. I had driven past the unfinished wall without even noticing it. After Pearl Harbor, they put down their shovels and joined the war effort. As the CCC was dissolved the following year, this wall would never be finished and may be the last CCC project in the nation.

Following State Park Rd into the park, I turned right following the signs to Picnic Shelter 1. This turns out to be the main day use area of the park. After driving past a large parking lot, I then drove out on to the peninsula. A number of people were swimming at a spot off to the left near the picnic shelter and playground. There aren’t any designated swimming areas in the park and no lifeguards, so swimming is “at your own risk”.

A little further down, the road loops back. This area of the park is mostly wooded with clearings right around the lake. The tip of the peninsula is cleared with a couple picnic tables. A dock with a picnic table is close by, and more tables are scattered around the shore. This picnic shelter, as well as the other two, are all CCC construction.

Camping and Boat Launches

peninsula seen across water with trees and a number of RVs viable
Campground #2 as seen from the dock at Campground #1.

After loping back around and heading back the way I came, I passed the park office on the right and continued straight to the camping areas. The 2 RV camp grounds are both on individual peninsulas, so there’s not a lot of room. I was here on a Thursday, and the campgrounds were almost full, so reservations are must.

Both boat ramps are on separate peninsulas. The one at campground 1 has a small parking area and a dock. But the one on the peninsula with picnic shelter 3 has a much larger parking lot as well as a slightly larger dock.

Park office and museum

As I drove down the road to to Picnic Shelter 2, I caught a glimpse of a stone retaining wall at the base of the hill behind the park office. I decided to investigate that next, so after checking out the picnic shelter, I drove back to the office.

stone retaining wall at edge of lake with steps leading to water on left side
CCC retaining wall behind the park office.

The office is typical of state park visitor centers, but this one has a small museum attached. Displays tell the story of the CCC from it’s beginnings to it’s end in 1942 just after the start of WWII.

It turns out that the stone retaining wall was of CCC construction, so after leaving the office I drove down to have a closer look. It sits in a small cove between the peninsulas for picnic shelters 1 and 2. There are a couple picnic tables nearby.

Buzzards Roost

After seeing what I thought was everything at the park, I decided to check out the Lake Greenwood Dam. I later found out that there’s a nature trail, but that’s what happens when I don’t do my research before visiting.

old dam with flood gates on the left one with water flowing on the right is the generator building with large windows and more ornate than later construction
Buzzards Roost hydroelectric dam on Lake Greenwood.

The dam, called the Buzzards Roost due to all the buzzards that roost nearby, is only a few miles from the state park. It’s a hydro plant built in the mid to late 1930’s. There’s fishing access at the base of the dam. It’s a short walk from the parking lot and you have to climb down the embankment, but the fishing is supposed to be really good.

I only saw one other person and he was walking out as I was walking back, but the amount of litter at the base of the dam was atrocious. Some of the trash was in full trash bags abandoned on the rivers edge and some of it was just spread about.