Table Rock’s famed granite dome may be the destination of choice for hikers looking for a postcard-worthy view from Table Rock State Park, but it’s not the only perch worth the climb.
The Upstate park offers several other overlooks where you can enjoy a panorama of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the foothills below. Of course, to get high enough to look out over the densely forested landscape, you’ll need to gain some elevation. While all the overlooks require strenuous ascents, some are less grueling than others.
Here are four not-to-miss views at Table Rock State Park:
1. Half-Way Shelter. So named because it sits about half-way up the Table Rock Trail, the small wooden pavilion can be found at the 1.5-mile mark. Just past the shelter is a rock face overlooking the South Carolina Piedmont. It’s not unusual to find hikers enjoying the view while they take a break in preparation for the rest of the calorie-burning trek to the top of the dome. While this spot is the easiest to reach, it will still cause you to sweat as you ascend the countless rocky steps from the trailhead.
2. Governor’s Rock. Another mile past the Half-Way Shelter at 2,800 feet is a huge area of exposed rock on the side of the mountain. Known as Governor’s Rock, it offers views of Pinnacle Mountain, the tallest mountain located entirely within the state, and Sassafras Mountain, boasting South Carolina’s tallest peak at 3,553 feet. The sloping granite face is steep, but small steps have been carved into the stone to make it easier to hike up the rock.
3. Table Rock Face. A tenth-of a mile from the end of the Table Rock trail and the iconic overlook is another outcropping where hikers are treated to an expansive view of the foothills to the south and east. This section of exposed rock is smaller and often missed by hikers eager to get to the main attraction. If you skip it on the first pass, be sure to catch it on the way down the mountain.
4. Bald Rock. You’ll find this impressive overlook about three miles into a hike on the less trodden Pinnacle Mountain Trail. Standing on the rock face, you’ll get a fabulous view of the south side of Table Rock and the mountains to the south, east and west. With a good pair of binoculars, you can see the city of Greenville in the distance.