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Explore the Outdoors in Clemson

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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Whether you prefer to hike in the forest or play on the water, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do both in Clemson. And for those who prefer golf clubs to hiking poles or a rod and reel, there’s the Walker Course, ranked among the best public-access courses in South Carolina.

So, get outdoors and have fun on your visit to this upstate college town. Here are few of Clemson’s recreation hot spots:

Clemson Experimental Forest – With 17,500 acres of forestlands offering access to Lake Hartwell and more than 100 miles of trails, you can enjoy an array of recreational activities in this Upstate retreat. The trail system is divided among three primary areas—Fant’s Grove, Issaqueena/Keowee Heights and Todds Creek—where you can hike, mountain bike and horseback ride. Among the most popular is the Issaqueena Trail, offering beautiful views of the lake.

Birdwatchers will enjoy searching for the nearly 200 avian species sighted in the forest. The trails also take you to a number of waterfalls, including Six Mile Creek Falls, Wildcat Falls, Waldrop Stone Road Falls, Todds Creek Falls and Meadow Falls. A boat ramp is available at Lake Issaqueena for those who want to fish or paddle in the scenic waters.

Lake Hartwell – Fed by the Savannah, Tugaloo and Seneca rivers and connecting South Carolina and Georgia, the 56,000-acre reservoir offers exceptional fishing for small and largemouth bass, stripers, crappie, bream and catfish. Public access points and campgrounds are located along the Clemson shoreline and surrounding areas.

The Walker Course – This D.J. DeVictor-designed course is one of the top collegiate layouts in the country. Home to Clemson’s 2003 NCAA national championship team, the par-72 course measures 6,911 yards and features the signature “Tiger Paw” par-3 17th hole where the green is surrounded by four bunkers to form an oversized image of the school’s logo.

Larry W. Abernathy Waterfront Park – It’s a peaceful walk along the half-mile trail and boardwalk in this linear waterfront park overlooking Lake Hartwell. Picnic shelters and restrooms are also available.

Ashley Dearing Park – This park features a walking path that runs along a beautiful creek. Other amenities include a lighted baseball field, picnic area, shelter and play structure.

Earle Anderson Park – The shaded walking trail in this park features a footbridge over a creek. There’s also a play structure with swings, a grass field and a basketball goal.

Catherine Smith Plaza and Jaycee Park – With its picturesque fountain and green space, the plaza is the perfect setting to relax or have a picnic. It’s located across the street from Jaycee Park, which features a playground, picnic table and connection to the Abernathy Park boardwalk.

W.C. Nettles Park – Clemson’s largest park, its many amenities include two youth baseball fields, three softball fields, seven tennis courts, two regulation soccer fields, a play structure and dog park.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.