76M FOOTHILLS TRAIL RUN - South/North Carolina

over 25,000' of elevation gain

weather forecast ... twilight to twilight :: 0714 to 2007

Saturday, March 17, 2018 .... GPS Coordinates and Trail Details

The Foothills Trail is an 76-mile foot trail running along the Blue Ridge Escarpment, a geological
phenomena where the southern Appalachian Mountains suddenly end and the Piedmont begins.
The Foothills Trail and its Caesars Head spur traverse the drainages of six major rivers: the
Chattooga, Whitewater, Thompson, Horsepasture, Toxaway, and Saluda. Water is abundant!
It climbs Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina, and passes Whitewater Falls,
one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States.

Starting at its western endpoint of Oconee State Park, and working opposite to our run, the trail climbs Long Mountain and Dodge Mountain before descending to the Chattooga River. Near Pig Pen Falls and Nicholson Ford, the Foothills Trail joins with the Chattooga Trail and goes upstream to Burrells Ford and the US Forest Service campground there. The trails split with the Foothills Trail turning east away from the Chattooga toward the Whitewater River and its falls. The Chattooga Trail continues upstream toward Ellicott and Commissioners rocks and where South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia meet in the river. The Foothills climbs toward Round Mountain and Grassy Knob before passing the overlook for Whitewater Falls and descending to the Whitewater River. It heads downstream and meets an access trail coming from Duke Energy's Bad Creek Hydroelectric Project. It then turns northeast to travel above Lake Jocassee. In the Jocassee Gorges, you can get the sense of what it must have been for the Native Americans and for the first white settlers to live in the area. In this stretch, the trail goes 30-plus miles between road access points (SC 107 and US 178). The trail is still accessible at certain points - by boat - when it crosses the Horsepasture and Toxaway rivers and near Rock and Laurel Fork creeks. The trail crisscrosses Laurel Fork Creek several times as it climbs Flatrock Mountain and eventually crosses Sassafras Mountain. From there, the Foothils Trail is mostly downhill toward Table Rock State Park. There is one more climb you ascend to Drawbar Cliffs on the side of Pinnacle Mountain before the steep descent to the park and the trail's eastern endpoint.


THE PLAN: On Saturday morning, meet by 0600 at Oconee State Park at Foothills Trail TH where we will finish the run. Leaving half the vehicles at the Oconee TH or the Cabins where we stay, the other half will drive everyone to the starting TH at Table Rock State Park, one hour of drive time north (Mapquest Directions).

Anticipate a group start by 0730 (sunrise 0738), north to south. Prepare to be fully self-supported for most of 24 hours with an overnight. Abundant water is along the trail, with filtration treatment at your discretion. We'll leave one or more bailout vehicles at Whitewater Falls at the 50M point, where the trail crosses NC-281/SC-130. Supplies and drop bags may be left in these cars. Anyone planning to stop after 50 miles can leave their vehicles at the Falls and meet the rest at the finish.

I will be carrying one Pocket Profile Foothills Trail Elevation Profile Map. If you want your own map you can print the one below or secure one for $6.10 from Anti-Gravity Gear.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Cabins 16 and 17 at Oconee State Park have been reserved for Friday and Saturday nights and will accommodate up to 14 people. If you still need a place to stay, please check with me; some cabins are still available; tent camping is also available, and there are plenty of hotels close by.



Sassafras Mountain at Sunrise

Whitewater Falls and bridge above

Sassafras Mountain (3554') - highest point in South Carolina