In 1994, The Palmetto Trail was established to provide South Carolinians with 500 miles of cross-state hiking + biking trails from Walhalla in the Blue Ridge Mountains, directly through Columbia, to Awendaw on the Intracoastal Waterway. The trail is one of only 16 cross-state trails nationwide.
Currently, roughly 370 of the 500 miles across 14 counties have been completed, but when finished, the trail will be our state’s longest pedestrian and bicycle trail + largest trail construction project. The estimated cost to complete the trail is approximately $20 million. (You can learn more about the Master Plan here or make a donation to finish the project here.)
If you don’t have the stamina (or the PTO) to take the 20-30 days needed to thru-hike The Palmetto Trail, completing one or a few of the 26 different passages that make up the trail is a great option. The passages range from 1.3 to 47 miles in length and vary in difficulty and types of activities permitted.
Multiple sections of trail pass through the Midlands, so here are a few for you to try with this beautiful fall weather upon us.
For the cyclists, Wateree Passage. 🚲
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Length: 11.4 miles
Permitted Activities: Biking, hiking, walking, running and camping
“The Wateree Passage begins in Poinsett State Park then continues through a section of Manchester State Forest traveling along the remnants of the old SC Railroad. . . The passage is one of the most diverse sections of the Palmetto Trail, traversing a variety of landscapes, from high hills down to a magnificent river swamp.”
For the hikers, Peak to Prosperity Passage. 🥾
Length: 10.7 miles
Permitted Activities: Hiking, walking, running, biking and camping
“The Peak to Prosperity Passage proceeds west from the Alston trailhead in Fairfield County across the impressive Broad River trestle. The view from the 1,100-foot-long bridge is spectacular, especially when bald eagles soar. Across the river in Newberry County, the rail-trail skirts Peak and cuts an easy swath through piedmont forest to Pomaria and Prosperity.”
For those looking to stay in Cola, Capital City Passage. 🏙️
Length: 10.2 miles
Permitted Activities: Hiking, walking, running and biking
“The passage follows city sidewalks through beautiful neighborhoods, past city parks and schools, along the historic Horseshoe at the University of South Carolina, and across the steps of the State Capitol. . . The passage links Fort Jackson Passage to Riverfront Park and the Broad River.”
So take a hike, on The Palmetto Trail that is, because we really like y’all.