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Greenville's Great Outdoors: 6 Places to Experience the Natural Beauty of Upstate South Carolina

Greenville's Great Outdoors: 6 Places to Experience the Natural Beauty of Upstate South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com

Downtown Greenville, South Carolina, has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and has quickly become the it place for businesses and new residents in upstate SC. While the downtown is well worth a day or two of your visit to this corner of my home state, don't overlook the natural resources of Greenville County while you're there!

In less than thirty minutes, visitors to Greenville can leave the shops and restaurants of downtown behind and be surrounded by the natural beauty of the rolling foothills. Just a little further down the road, and you'll be in the mountains with spectacular views, waterfalls, and hiking trails.


Add these 6 naturally beautiful places in Greenville County to your next trip!

Caesar's Head State Park
(8155 Geer Highway, Cleveland, South Carolina)

Greenville's Great Outdoors: 6 Places to Experience the Natural Beauty of Upstate South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com

Another favorite getaway of Upstate natives, Caesar's Head had extensive trails that wind up and down through some of the prettiest mountain areas in Greenville County. The park is actually part of the larger Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area (which includes Raven Cliff and Cleveland Cliffs waterfalls), so if you get tired of Caesar's Head, there's still plenty of do within a short distance.

Table Rock State Park*
(158 E. Ellison Lane, Pickens, South Carolina)

Greenville's Great Outdoors: 6 Places to Experience the Natural Beauty of Upstate South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com

As a kid, my parents often would bring my sister and I to this park for a quick getaway. Even after we moved away from the Upstate, we'd return to stay in one of their little cabins and enjoy the fresh mountain air on long weekends. If you've got time, try the hike to the top of Table Rock, which promises stunning views of the Blue Ridge mountains for those dedicated enough to see the hike through.

(Note: I have attempted this hike twice, and made it once. The other time, I ended up hugging a tree and crying because everyone in my family forgot to bring water or snacks. I tend to get irrationally hangry when I'm not properly fed or hydrated!)

Table Rock is located along one of the pretty stretches in South Carolina: scenic highway 11. Take a picnic and make a day of your adventures in Table Rock and beyond.

*This park is in nearby Pickens County, but I still included it because of personal bias.  

Poinsett Bridge
(601 Callahan Mountain Road, Travelers Rest, South Carolina)

Greenville's Great Outdoors: 6 Places to Experience the Natural Beauty of Upstate South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com

Closer to Greenville (and just outside of the adorable Travelers Rest), this stone bridge has a distinct Gothic arch. The bridge looks like one that you'd expect to find on a ramble through the English countryside, not in the middle of the woods in South Carolina!

Although the bridge is named after Joel Poinsett, a 19th century U.S. ambassador to Mexico, he had nothing to do with the building of it. In fact, the identity of the architect responsible for it is unclear, though most believe that it was constructed by the same man who designed the Washington Monument. Regardless of its origins, this whimsical bridge is quite photogenic, and we saw several families taking their Christmas card photos here.

The bridge was originally found along the road between Greenville, South Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina. It's now closed to traffic, so you're free to roam around the area.

Swamp Rabbit Trail
(various locations)

Greenville's Great Outdoors: 6 Places to Experience the Natural Beauty of Upstate South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com

Stretching over 17 miles through Greenville Country, this trail has been a major part of the revitalization efforts in Greenville and Travelers Rest. It follows the now covered railroad tracks that once brought goods to this area. Hop on your bike for an afternoon ride or lace up your running shoes to practice your sprints--the paved path is great for all sorts of activities.

There are plans to extend the trail even further, so you'll soon be able to see even more of the county this way!

Campbell's Covered Bridge
(171 Campbell's Bridge Road, Landrum, South Carolina)

Greenville's Great Outdoors: 6 Places to Experience the Natural Beauty of Upstate South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com

Is anyone else sad that covered bridges really aren't a thing anymore? South Carolina has exactly one left...and you're looking at it.

Thankfully, Campbell's Covered Bridge has been preserved on county property, so generations to come will be able to enjoy its quaint charms. Its history stretches back to 1909 when it, and three other covered bridges, were built in Greenville County. The titular Campbell was a local mill owner who gave his land for the bridge's construction.

Other than the bridge itself, there's not much to do at this little park. But when the focus is this cute, you don't really need much more.

Pretty Place at Camp Greenville*
(100 YMCA Camp Road, Cedar Mountain, NC)

Greenville's Great Outdoors: 6 Places to Experience the Natural Beauty of Upstate South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com

Story time! When I was 11, I went to Camp Greenville with the rest of my class for a 5th grade retreat. It ended up being one of the most marvelous moments on my young life: I nearly tipped my teacher into the lake in a canoe, I figured out how to braid my own hair, and I made one of my very first solo clothing purchases (a sweatshirt that I still have to this day). Clearly, it was an action packed three days for young Natalie.

However, the thing about that trip that sticks out the most to me is the first time that I walked into Symmes' Chapel, colloquially known as Pretty Place. I grew up going to religious schools, so being in churches and chapels was just a part of my every day life.

Pretty Place, however, is situated on the side of a mountain; there are no walls or doors. When you walk in, all you can see is the stunning nature all around. Even if you're not religious, the view is worth the drive up to the Camp Greenville property.

*While the chapel is in North Carolina, the rest of the camp is in Greenville County and is run by the YMCA based in Greenville; thus, its inclusion.

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If you're still looking for more ways to experience the outdoors, consider taking a white water rafting tour out of Westminster or Long Creek, go horseback riding at the state's only public equestrian park, or exploring one of the many other parks in the area.

What's your favorite place to hike, bike, or enjoy the outdoors in Greenville County? Have you been to this corner of the world yet?

Disclaimer: I was in Greenville County as a part of sponsored visit. As always, all opinions are my own. 
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