Let’s Go: Keowee-Toxaway State Park
This article was originally posted in Only In Your State, South Carolina November 02, 2022 by AnneMarie, https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/south-carolina/multiple-bridges-park-sc/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=south-carolina&utm_campaign=newsletter&lctg=&utm_content=nlimage1;
Bridges are fascinating structures and an important part of our daily lives. The first civilization to build large, permanent bridges was ancient Rome. The earliest ones were made of wood but then later, stone. When thinking about bridges, the first type likely to come to mind may be those that cross water. But there are many other types of bridges, including pedestrian, skyway, trail, and parks and recreation bridges, just to name a few. We have a South Carolina state park with multiple bridges you can hike across that shows just how diverse and interesting these structures can be!
Keowee Toxaway State Park is located in Sunset, situated in the scenic foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which stretch 550 miles from north Georgia to southern Pennsylvania, including the three South Carolina counties of Oconee, Pickens, and Greenville.
On your way into the park, you’ll pass by the Jocassee Gorges Visitor Center, a stunning preserved, converted 19th-century church. There are exhibits inside with information about the area and its history.
There are two hiking trails in the park that cross over a stream in several places, one by way of a boulder bridge, roughly 20 feet long, over the stream.
Now, this bridge is technically not inside the park, but one of the trailheads on one end of the trail, the Eastatoe Passage portion of the Palmetto Trail, is located in the park. The Zeke bridge is a 95-foot work of art completed by The American Adventure Service Corps on December 28, 2020 to replace the prior structure that had been washed out during Spring 2019 flooding.
Did you know South Carolina has a natural bridge? You can see it on the other trail at Keowee-Toxaway State Park, the Natural Bridge Nature Trail, which is #93 on prior South Carolina State Park Director Phil’s Top 100 list.
The bridges are just the beginning of the sights to feast your eyes on during this adventure. This shot was taken on the Natural Bridge Trail.
As you check out the trails, be on the lookout for snakes. Ranger Bart Joy captured this moment where a Kingsnake was killing a Copperhead!
Mountain Laurel abounds during the spring season in the park.
Take a lunch break between trails and eat in a picnic shelter. There are five available.
If you want to make this an overnight adventure, as of 2019 the new Camp Cedar Creek, an outdoor recreation facility opened, which includes 10 tent-camping sites, three camping cabins, a bathhouse, a park lodge facility, two picnic shelters, a small fishing pier and a portage trail to Lake Keowee. It’s available for rent as a whole unit if you’re coming with a group.
From the campground, you can take a quick downhill hike to the lake. Hang out on the little sandy beach and swim, perfect for dogs and kids. There’s a kayak launch area, but parking fills up fast in the lot so be sure to get there early.
Take in as much of the mountain scenery as you can. You probably won’t want to leave when it’s time to go home, but you’ll be taking some amazing new memories back with you.
As you can see, Keowee-Toxaway State Park is a bucket-list destination for bridge enthusiasts as well as nature lovers. Admission is free!
Take a peek at the high-definition virtual view of the natural bridge at
Address: Keowee Toxaway State Park, 108 Residence Dr, Sunset, SC 29685, https://southcarolinaparks.com/keowee-toxaway
Adapted for Girl Camper by Amy Kovach.
Amy Kovach | Girl Camper Guide South Carolina
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