Hiking in Sumter National Forest in South Carolina

Kendra and Jane on the Yellow Branch TrailToday we went hiking with Kendra’s parents. Boris drove us all to Sumter National Forest in Walhalla, South Carolina to hike the Yellow Branch Falls Trail. One of two National Forests in the state, Sumter National Forest has over 370,000 acres of land. Though the headquarters are in Columbia, S.C., the forest itself is spread throughout 11 counties.

The Yellow Branch Falls Trail was a fairly easy hike through beautiful oak trees, rhododendrons, and mountain laurel. For the first half-mile or so, we walked alongside a stream, crossing over it several times. Though there were some wooden bridges over the deeper sections, we mostly had to hop along rocks across the rushing water.

As we ascended higher, the trail narrowed just wide enough to travel single file. After 1.5 miles, we arrived at our destination – the 50-foot high Yellow Branch Falls. They were quite beautiful, and we hiked right to the base of the falls to eat our lunch.

The Falls at Yellow Branch Trail

While the sun warmed us as we sat on the rocks, we enjoyed turkey and cheese sandwiches, apples, and crackers.

Enjoying the Yellow Branch Falls

I took some time to cross the rocks to get photographs of the falls while Addie stretched her legs. She still loves riding in her backpack carrier, but today she was eager to get out and try hiking! We let her walk some of the way back, and she chased after Jane who hid behind the trees as a way to entice Addison to keep moving forward along the path. She eventually tired out, and we put her back in her pack for the rest of the hike.

Jane playing hide and seek with Addison Addison finds Grandmama!
After our hike, we stopped for a quick look at the Issaqueena Falls which are located just across the street from the parking lot for the Yellow Branch Falls Trail. In the same park is the old entrance to the Stumphouse Tunnel. Built pre-Civil War, the tunnel was supposed to connect Charleston, S.C. to Knoxville, TN, but funds ran out before it could be completed, and despite attempts to revive it over the years, it is now caving in. You can walk about 50 feet into the entrance before coming upon a locked gate meant to keep folks away from the falling ceiling.It was a great day for hiking – warm and sunny – and we enjoyed our jaunt through the forest. One thing I love about hiking in the South is the friendliness and unpretentious nature of everyone we meet. Most folks hike in jeans and forgo fancy hiking equipment. Even though I am a gear junkie, I know it’s not a necessity for enjoying the outdoors, and southerners seem to understand that much more than northerners.

Sumter National Forest in Walhalla, South Carolina Sumter National Forest in Walhalla, South Carolina Sumter National Forest in Walhalla, South Carolina Sumter National Forest in Walhalla, South Carolina

About Jen

Outdoor adventurer and traveler. Writer, Photographer & Communications Professor. Wife. Mom of twins plus one. Tubbs Snowshoes Ambassador. Blogger at gayfamilytrips.com.

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One Response to Hiking in Sumter National Forest in South Carolina

  1. Pablo at FamilyWilds.com December 29, 2011 at 7:00 am #

    It looks like it was a fun hike! Those falls are beautiful.

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