PICKENS COUNTY — Although we’re nearing the end of October, leaves across the county are just now beginning to turn. But if we know one thing from living in S.C. — particularly Upstate S.C. — blink, and you’ll miss them.
“Leaf Peepers” is the term affectionately given to tourists who venture Upstate and into the Appalachian foothills to appreciate the beauty of the Autumn colors.
But, you don’t have to be a out-of-towner to take a day and enjoy the landscape for yourself.
Pickens County is home to some of the most beautiful scenic areas in the state and Fall is the perfect time to go and check them out.
One example is just off Highway 11 near Sunset: the often overlooked Keowee-Toxaway State Park.
Keowee-Toxaway offers some of the most stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains South Carolina has to offer and the Jocassee Gorges Visitor Center exhibits and information center serve as a gateway to the Jocassee Gorges, their website writes.
But don’t take a website’s word for it, if you haven’t visited this park yet, you are doing yourself a disservice.
On Thursday, the park was nearly empty and rangers said attendance had dropped as the weather cooled.
“It’s kind of a shame, because I think it’s the prettiest time of year up here right now,” said Graham Sczmanski, who was hiking the mile and a half “Natural bridge nature trail” behind the visitors center. “I haven’t seen anyone else out here today.”
Park employees did say attendance for the park tends to be greater during the weekend.
Raven Rock is the park’s second trail and it consists of a 4.4 mile loop beginning at the Meeting House.
You can go for a day, or you can camp out for a long weekend. And don’t worry, if a tent isn’t your cup of tea, there’s cabins — right on the lake.
As long as they’re leashed, pets are permitted in the park and added bonus: unlike many state parks, at Keowee-Toxaway, admission is free.
Keowee-Toxaway is at 108 Residence Drive in Sunset. For more information call 864-868-2605 or visit www.southcarolinaparks.com/keowee-toxaway.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.