Greenville’s Lake Conestee Nature Park Offers 400 Acres to Explore

By:Marie McAden


Just six miles from the high-rise hotels, chic shops and hip cafes of downtown ​Greenville are 400 acres of sprawling woodlands where bugs and bees are the only ones buzzing about and tweeting is reserved for birds.

​Lake Conestee Nature Park offers instant relief from urban overload. In this gloriously peaceful setting, one can escape the crush of technology and bustle of the city and enjoy the simple pleasures of quiet time.

Located along three miles of the Reedy River and several of its sloughs and lakes, the park features miles of trails through beautiful natural habitat composed of hardwood and evergreen forests and undisturbed wetlands. A rich diversity of wildlife calls Lake Conestee home. Among its inhabitants are deer, raccoon, muskrat, beaver, fox and river otter, along with numerous species of reptiles and amphibians.

But it’s the bird population that makes this wildlife sanctuary such a standout. More than 190 bird species have been sighted in the park’s lakes, creek, woodlands, meadows and swampland.

Experienced birders rate it as one of the best birding sites in the ​Upstate. It’s featured as a South Carolina birding hot spot on the website eBird and has been designated an Important Bird Area of Global Significance by the National Audubon Society and Bird Life International.

The park serves as the wintering grounds of South Carolina’s largest reported population of rusty blackbirds, a global species of conservation concern because of its chronic decline in numbers. Between 700 and 1,000 individuals are estimated to live within the park.

Every third Saturday, the Greenville County Bird Club leads free morning bird trips through the park. There’s also a checklist of bird species reported at ​Lake Conestee since 2006.

Visitors can wander through the woods on five miles of trails, two of which are paved. The park also features nearly 2,000 linear feet of boardwalks and several observation platforms.

Trailheads can be accessed from five parking areas. Kiosks at these locations feature maps of all the routes. You also can get to the park via the Greenville Health System ​Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 17.5-mile paved pathway that connects Travelers Rest to Greenville.

Lake Conestee Nature Park is open from sunrise to sunset. Admission is free. For more information, contact Lake Conestee Nature Park. 

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