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Date Hiked: 6/11/88
Length: 4.2 miles
Main Feature: Views from tower
Location: Sumter National Forest, Oconee State Park, South Carolina
Oconee State Park is located on highway 107, 2.4 miles north of the 107 junction with highway 28. Driving down highway 107 from North Carolina, the park is 14.4 miles from the North Carolina state line. There is a small fee to enter the park during the busy seasons ($1.50 per car in 1988). Enter the park and turn right towards the camping area at the first fork. Continue past the various park buildings. At the next fork turn right towards cabins 7-13. After about 0.2 miles there is a pull-off on the left and a sign that says "Foothills Trail." Turn around and park. The trailhead is 0.8 miles from the park entrance.
Most trails are built due to a specific attraction such as a stream or a distant view. The Foothills Trail, however, covers many types of terrain during its 75 miles. Portions of this trail are less traveled and therefore wilder and more secluded than more popular trails.
This section has few features other than the natural flora and fauna of the area. There are no streams, no deep valleys, and no peaks. Even so, this hike has its attractions. At least five times I smelled the musky odor of wild animals. Twice the scent was strong. I saw a gray squirrel, heard several songbirds, and saw an eastern fence lizard. There are excellent views in every direction from Long Mountain Lookout Tower. Tamassee Knob is easy to identify a couple of miles to the south. I could see the Appalachian Mountains to the north and west. I could hear the calls of numerous birds drifting up from the forest below. There were many bees and wasps living in the tower.
The Foothills Trail has white blazes. Although the blazes are sometimes far apart, the trail is easy to follow. At 0.4 miles you cross a dirt road and come to a junction with the Tamassee Trail. The Tamassee Trail turns right and has orange blazes. The foothills trail goes to the left. At about 1.1 miles you come to a second dirt road. Follow the road left for about 20 feet before turning right where the trail enters the woods. After 2.0 miles you come to an intersection with the spur trail to Long Mountain Lookout Tower. The Foothills Trail and the Bartram Trail continue straight ahead. Turn left to go to the tower. There is a sign at this intersection. There are bright red blazes at the Oconee State Park boundary. Ignore old blue blazes.
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