Explore Beautiful Furman University on Lake Loop Trail

By:Marie McAden

Date:4/10/2015

With its many parks and green spaces, Greenville has no shortage of pleasant places to walk. One of the prettiest can be found on the Furman University campus.

South Carolina’s oldest private institution of higher learning, Furman was named one of the 362 most beautiful places in America by the American Society of Landscape Architects. Travel + Leisure magazine ranked it among the most beautiful college campuses in the United States.

A 13-mile network of paved trails offers visitors the opportunity to explore the 750-acre wooded campus. The university also features a self-guided walking tour that takes you past most of the notable buildings. You can pick up a campus map outside the Welcome Center near the main entrance.

The most popular route in the trail system is a 1.5-mile loop around the university’s 40-acre, spring-fed lake with its stunning view of Paris Mountain. The centerpiece of the college campus, it is home to Furman’s famed Bell Tower.

Dedicated in 1965, the carillon sits on a peninsula at one end of the lake and features 60 bells cast in Holland. It was built to the same specifications as the original Florentine tower erected in 1854 on the former Furman campus in downtown Greenville.

As you make your way around the lake, you’ll come across a number of other points of interest, including a rose garden, a replica of the cabin Henry David Thoreau inhabited while writing “Walden” and the two-classroom clapboard “Old College” built in 1851.

You’ll also pass the Place of Peace, the first Japanese temple ever to be brought to America. The Hei-Sei-Ji temple was donated to the liberal arts school by the Tsuzuki family, residents of both Greenville and Japan. A team of Japanese experts reconstructed the temple using more than 2,400 pieces that had been shipped from the original site in Nagoya, Japan.

Adjacent to the Place of Peace is the Asia Garden and koi pond. Take your time meandering among the flowering plants and water features, designed for contemplation and meditation.

A one-mile spur trail near the picnic shelter takes you through another meditation area in the woods.

For more information on Furman University’s trails, click here.

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