View from the top of Table Rock, SC

View from the top of Table Rock, SC

Not to be confused with Table Rock, NC – another worthwhile destination, but quite a bit farther from the Cove.  This is the view from the top of Table Rock, SC. You can see Table Rock from Palmetto Cove in the spring and the fall when the leaves are thin — look through the trees to the west.   You can also get views riding along Highway 11 from the Cove traveling towards the state park — note I said riding, the driver has to look at the road. I’d guess the state park is maybe 10-15 minutes down the road from us.

Table Rock is a workhorse of a state park.  On the southeast side of highway 11 is the park visitor’s center, which is free admission.  Buy books, maps and gifts, look at the 3-D model of the region, and ask questions of the friendly park rangers.  The last time I was there they had loaner fishing gear for those who want to fish the resevoir. Don’t know if that program is still running, but there is a nice accessible boardwalk fishing pier there at the visitor’s center.  And geese.  Lots of geese.

The main part of the park is on the other side of the highway, and to get in you will need to either pay the day-entry fee or else present your state park pass.   There is camping of all kinds — tent camping, RV sites, and cabins.  Just read in the Jocassee Journal that the Depression-era cabins are currently being renovated.  (A few at a time, so I think some remain open for use).   I happen to like camping at Palmetto Cove better (how’d you guess), but if you like the middle-of-everything feeling of a popular state park, or if you don’t have a self-contained camper, Table Rock is an option.  Gets full during big vacation weeks — Fourth of July, Memorial Day, etc.

There is a supervised swimming area within the park that you can use for an additional fee, with paddle-boat rentals, a concession stand, and all the usual busy-swimming-hole mania.  Playground near the swimming hole is nice for the kids and open to anyone with just park admission.    There are several picnic pavillions spread throughout the park, which you can either reserve for your group or just take your chances on using what is available.   A couple of these are nicely hidden away in the farther reaches of the park, so it isn’t 100% hustle-and-bustle.

Jon, of course, does not know about any of the facilities. Because when he goes to Table Rock state park, he is on the trail.  (This is how I know about the other stuff — I’m the one dropping off and picking up.)  There are some options for lighter hikes, but the central feature of the park’s hiking is the epic Table Rock trail.  If you want to do even more hiking, continue on to Pinnacle Mountain.

Photo above explains what the excitement is about.  Not play hikes.  If you plan to go up, not only do you need to be in solid physical condition, but you need to pack for mountain weather and emergencies.   A ranger could advise you, if you aren’t sure what you need to put in your pack.

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Palmetto Cove opens middle of next week, so camping season is upon us.  Great time of year to get out.

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