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Stay in Pickens and Play in the Mountains

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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One of the most popular reasons to visit Pickens is its easy access to the area’s many outdoor attractions and natural wonders. Set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this small Upstate city has long claimed the motto “Where the Mountains Begin,” capitalizing on its convenient location near the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway, beautiful waterfalls and trails, and Table Rock State Park with its stunning CCC-era Lodge offering a commanding view of the massive granite dome.

The city also boasts plenty of its own recreational offerings, including the new off-road Town Creek Bike Park, the 7.5-mile paved Doodle Trail built on an abandoned rail line, and the 23-acre Jaycee Park, home to a variety of sports facilities.

But this historic city offers much more than just outdoor fun. Once Cherokee Indian Territory, Pickens boasts a rich history dating back to the 18th century when the Cherokees were forced to surrender the land after backing the British in the Revolutionary War. Scottish-Irish settlers joined the few traders living among the Cherokees to found the town in 1868, naming it after Revolutionary War hero General Andrew Pickens. Thirty years later, the Pickens Railway was built connecting Pickens to the nearby textile town of Easley.

Among the town’s historic sites are the Hagood-Mauldin House, built in 1856, and Hagood Mill, South Carolina’s oldest operational water-powered gristmill.

Today, the walkable downtown features an eclectic mix of quaint shops and contemporary stores and restaurants where visitors can experience the charm of this friendly, mountain town. Around the corner from Main Street is the Pickens County Museum of Art & History, housed in the old Pickens County jail built in 1903.

Each year, the town hosts a number of community events, including the Founders Day Music Festival, Fourth of July celebration, Blue Ridge Fest, Trick or Treat on Main and the well-attended Azalea Festival, featuring a classic car cruise, live entertainment and arts and crafts show.

Concerts and events also are held throughout the year in the Pickens Amphitheater on Main Street. If you visit in June, July or August, don’t miss the Summer Music Series, featuring local and regional bands and artists.

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.