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5 of the Best Outdoor Outings Outside Greenville

Marie McAden Marie McAden

Visiting Greenville? Add a little outdoor adventure to your itinerary.

With the Blue Ridge Mountains in its backyard, Greenville is just a short drive from trophy trout fishing, family-friendly river tubing, outstanding birding and some of the best hiking trails in the Southeast.

Here are 5 awesome outdoor excursions within an hour's drive of Greenville:

1. Trout Fishing in Lake Jocassee

Thanks to an abundant population of shad and herring and a 15-inch minimum size limit, Lake Jocassee has more than its share of whoppers. In fact, this trophy trout fishery holds the state record for rainbow and brown trout. But fishing on the lake can be tricky as the fish are constantly on the move-both vertically and horizontally. A number of guide services are available if you want to improve your chances of hauling in a photo-worthy catch.

2. Blue Wall Heritage Preserve

Tucked within the Blue Ridge Escarpment of the Southern Appalachians, this 575-acre preserve offers spectacular views of the blue-hazed mountains Cherokees called the "Blue Wall." A three-mile section of the Palmetto Trail's Blue Wall Passage runs through the property, providing a pathway to explore its natural features, including twin ponds, cold water streams and a waterfall. More than 114 different bird species have been observed on the protected land, designated an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society.

3. Tubing the Saluda River

There's no better way to cool off on a hot summer day than floating down a lazy river. The Saluda kicks it up a notch with several fun Class I rapids. Saluda River Rafting Adventures runs 2.5-hour trips on the scenic river from an outpost seven miles from Greenville. Even with the whitewater features, tubing the Saluda is suitable for children as young as 6.

4. Horseback Waterfalls Tour

This awesome adventure takes you into the backcountry of the Jocassee Gorges and other Blue Ridge Mountain forests to view waterfalls. The meet-up spot for the tours is at Rockin' Reverend Ranch in Pumpkintown. All of the horses used for trail rides are Tennessee Walkers, known for their smooth gait and even temper. During the three-hour excursion you'll stop several times to enjoy the magnificent scenery.

5. Hiking to Table Rock

It's not an easy hike, but it's worth the 2,000-foot climb to enjoy the breathtaking view from the summit of the 350-million-year-old granite dome. The panorama includes Caesars Head, Slicking Falls, Table Rock Reservoir and the state park's Pinnacle Lake. If you prefer hiking something a little less daunting, try the Carrick Creek Trail, a moderately strenuous two-mile loop that follows two different creeks, passing a number of cascading waterfalls along the way.

Marie McAden
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