One particularly heinous hike is the equivalent of walking up the 897 steps to the top of the Washington Monument … four times!
Think you’ve got the mettle? Here are five of the toughest trails in South Carolina:
How tough is it? It’s so steep that you might have to use your hands to scramble up the side of the mountain. There’s not much of a view from the tree-covered peak, but the panorama of the Piedmont seen from Bald Knob Overlook along the trail will take your breath away.
One of the most scenic and technically challenging trails in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, this 4.3-mile hike runs from Caesars Head State Park to Jones Gap State Park. Along the rocky and sometimes narrow path, you will encounter numerous small waterfalls, cable crossings, ladders and Weight Watchers Rock, a large boulder balanced atop other boulders with barely enough room to squeeze through. Because the north-facing trail is so wet, it is closed in the winter because of ice.
This hike lays claim to the steepest elevation gain of any trail in the state; you’ll climb 2,000 feet in just half a mile. The 10-mile trek takes you up and over a number of mountains and ridges to a rocky precipice offering a spectacular panorama of Jones Gap and the Middle Saluda River towered over by dramatic mountains. The view is worth every challenging step.