Recreation at Croft State Park

By:Marie McAden


Walking along the rocky shoals of Fairforest Creek in Sparta​nburg’s Croft State​ Park, it’s hard to imagine the surrounding woods once exploded with anti-tank rockets, 60-millimeter infantry mortars and anti-aircraft artillery.

The park’s 7,000 acres of rolling, wooded terrain was part of Camp Croft, an Army infantry training facility opened March 7, 1941 — exactly three months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Some 250,000 World War II soldiers practiced in the camp’s 11 live ammunition-training ranges, gas obstacle course and grenade court.

Today, visitors enjoy hiking, biking and horseback riding on the park’s 35 miles of wooded trails or fishing for bass, bream, catfish and crappie in the 165-acre Lake Craig.

Also running through the park is the 12.6-mile Croft Pass​age of the Palmet​to Trail. Less than a mile from the trailhead is a picnic area overlooking Fairforest Creek. In the summer, your kids will love cooling off in the shallow stream.

But the park’s big draw is its equestrian facilities, which include horse stalls, a show ring and 20 miles of trails. From February through November, shows are held in the arena the third Saturday of each month.

The mountain bike trails and the fishing lakes tie for second.

Of the five biking trails, the Idaho Pass is the most technical. But there’s plenty of climbing, fast down hills and hard-packed sections to satisfy even expert riders. The 15 miles of trails run alongside and cross some scenic creeks and forested areas, offering welcome shade in the summer.

Along with Lake Craig, anglers can now fish in Lake Edwin Johnson. The 40-acre lake, closed by the Department of Natural Resources for refurbishing, opened in July after being restocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and shellcracker. A valid South Carolina fishing license is required to fish in either lake.

The park also features a boat house and ramp on Lake Craig. Private boats are permitted on the lake, but are restricted to electric trolling motors. Non-motorized fishing boats rent for $10 for four hours or $20 a day. Canoes and kayak rentals are available for $5 for two hours, $10 for four hours or $20 a day.

Visitors who want to spend the night can stay in either of two campgrounds, each featuring 25 sites with water and electricity.

For more information on Croft State Park, cli​ck here or call (864) 585-1283.

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