Date: December 28, 2016
Distance: 1.55 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 275 feet
Our Hiking Time: 1 hours, 37 minutes roundtrip
Trail Blaze: Black Diamonds & Black Circles
We are down south for the holidays, and with the great weather, we couldn’t help but head out on a hike! Kendra’s parents and brother took us to a great little spot, the Lake Conestee Nature Park in Greenville, South Carolina, to birdwatch and explore with all of our little ones.
The history of the Nature Park is rather awesome – because of the industrial mills in Greenville that leaked hazardous wastes during the early 1900’s, the nature park is technically located on an Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield. However, you wouldn’t know it from the surrounding bogs, hardwoods, evergreen forests, and wildlife!
There are five trailheads leading into Lake Conestee Nature Park. We drove to the south entrance of Conestee Park at 840 Mauldin Road, and then parked in the lower lot by the baseball fields.
From the E-3 trailhead, we followed Sapsucker Spur to Coyote Cut-Through, which dumped us onto Racoon Run. From there, we hiked to the East Bay Observation Deck overlooking Lake Conestee.
The kids pulled out their binoculars and the adults gave basic lessons on how to use them. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many birds, so most of the time was spent looking for creatures in the water.
After snacking a bit, we made a little loop up to Forrester Woods, and then took the Chickadee Link back to Racoon Run, which we followed to a beautiful bridge that spans the Reedy River. On the way we crossed a long boardwalk, which was a hit with the little ones. G-Dad spotted a red-headed woodpecker as we walked, which he told me is very rare in these parts. Unfortunately, it flew away before I could set my sights on it through the binoculars, but Kendra’s brother, Colin, also caught a glimpse.
On the other side of the bridge, we took another stop for snacks, then made our way around Possum Run to the Sparkleberry Connector and then took a left onto Woodle Walk – another beautiful boardwalk spanning the Lake.
Though we explored a small part of the Flat Tail Trail, by this time the twins were tuckered out, so after collecting acorns, we retraced our steps to the Sparkleberry Connector and exited the nature park at the E-2 trailhead.
This was a great hike for little legs – one I am sure we will do on future visits down south, especially because we barely made a dent in the 12 miles of trails in the 400 acres of this wildlife sanctuary.
Know Before You Go!
- The park is open for day use only (sunrise to sunset).
- Admission is free.
- There are bathrooms located at all of the trailheads, except for the one at Henderson Avenue.
- There is a fantastic playground at the Conestee Park Pavilion.
Lake Conestee Nature Park Rules
- Dogs must be leashed at all times and are not allowed into water or wetland areas.
- Entering wetlands and all streams and water bodies is prohibited.
- Alcoholic beverages, amplified music, camping, fires, fishing, hunting, and motorized vehicles (except authorized vehicles and wheelchairs) are prohibited.
- Watercraft or flotation devices of any kind are prohibited.
- Weapons and firearms of any kind are prohibited within the park.
- Collection of plants, animals, firewood, rocks, and artifacts is prohibited.
Directions to the Trail Heads
- 840 Mauldin Road (LCNP’s main entrance; trailhead located at former Municipal Stadium, across from FedEx)
- 701 Fork Shoals Road (from Fork Shoals Rd., enter Belmont Fire Dept., parking and trailhead are located behind Belmont Fire Department)
- 601 Fork Shoals Road (opposite junction of Fork Shoals Rd. and White Horse Rd. Extension)
- Henderson Avenue *NOTE: this trail is open but the parking lot at the trailhead is only open on Saturdays and Sundays. (from Fork Shoals Rd., take Henderson Ave. continuing east until Henderson Ave. dead ends [junction with Meadors Ave.] , parking lot and trailhead located on the right)
- 1 Spanco Drive (from Conestee Rd. take Spanco Dr. past Conestee Mill, parking lot and trailhead located on the right)