It's everyone's favorite annual rite of autumn-leaf gazing. Nowhere is Mother Nature's dazzling display of color more breathtaking than along the South Carolina Upstate's scenic byways.
But it's hard to savor the spectacle when it's racing by your car window. If you and your road crew aren't up for a trek in the woods, you can catch the view from a half-dozen overlooks offering fantastic views of the mountain landscape. All of them require nothing more than a short walk over flat terrain.
Here are six easy-to-access Upstate overlooks you won't want to miss on your fall foliage road trip:
1. Caesars Head. The 400-million-year-old granite outcropping looks over the Blue Ridge Escarpment, a dramatic 3,000-foot drop in elevation from the mountains to the foothills. From this impressive perch, you can look down the lushly forested gorge ablaze in brilliant, yellows, oranges and reds. The overlook is located at Caesars Head State Park on US 276.
2. Bald Rock. About five miles from Caesars Head State Park on US 276 you'll find a small pull-off on the east side the road. It offers access to a huge rock outcropping overlooking the South Carolina foothills and the iconic Table Rock. There are no signs marking the overlook, but there's almost always cars parked at this popular natural attraction.
3. Sassafras Mountain. The highest point in South Carolina, this scenic spot features a platform at the edge of the mountain where you can stand and look out over the Jocassee Gorges and the hazy line of Blue Ridge Mountains. A 15-foot observation tower is being built on the 3,553-foot peak that will offer a 360-degree panorama with views of four states-South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.