The Sumter National Forest is unique in that it has three distinct ranger districts that are not contiguous to each other. These ranger districts are the Enoree, Long Cane, and Andrew Pickens regions, which make up a total acreage of 371,000. Each area has its own characteristics. The Piedmont is home to the Indian Creek Wildlife Habitat Restoration Initiative, a natural resource management effort, and the Long Cane Ranger District contains the popular Forks Area Trail System (FATS), which is a nationally recognized mountain biking trail system. You will find many natural activities to enjoy in the Andrew Pickens district with the wild and fast Chattooga River coursing through and numerous mountain peaks towering above the forests.
The Opossum Creek Falls Trail is an in-and-out trail that is located near Long Creek, SC. The trail has a waterfall and a large sandy beach area on the Chattooga River at one point on the trail. You can access the waterfall at the end of the trail by going left and traveling .3 miles. Dogs are allowed on a leash.
Length: 5.4 miles
The Brasstown Waterfall Series Trail is an in-and-out trail that is located near Long Creek, SC, and has a series of three waterfalls. Hikers can cross the creek by means of walking on piles of logs. Dogs are allowed on a leash.
Length: 0.6 miles
The Forks Area Trail System is a trail system that has both in-and-out and loop trails and is located near Clarks Hill, SC. Many of the trails are multi-use, and you can mountain bike, ride horses, and hike on the trails as they wind through the forests. There are six loop trails, and one of the most popular is the "Great Wall," which features a good mixture of fast downhills, strenuous climbs, lots of "whoop-de-doos," and a twisted hand-built section.
Length: 18.7 miles
Intensity: Moderate to Difficult
The King Creek Falls Trail is an in-and-out trail that is located near Mountain Rest, SC. There is a waterfall on this short trail that begins at the Burrell Ford Campground and branches from the Foothills Trail. The base of the falls is shallow, and you can wade right up to the falls. This is a neat trail due to the combination of the swimmable falls area and the nearby proximity of the Chattooga River.
Length: 1.7 miles
The Bee Cove Falls Trail is an in-and-out trail that is located near Mountain Rest, SC. The trail is even and wide and travels throughout a forest. After about a mile down the trail, you will cross a small creek. After another couple of miles, you will hear the falls and easily find them, even though the path here is not clearly marked. Dogs are allowed if they are on a leash.
Length: 4.2 miles
Each of the three ranger districts is home to numerous species of birds. Some of the birds you may see are the northern bobwhite, loggerhead shrike, whip-poor-will, Bachman's sparrow, wood thrush, Swainson's warbler, brown-headed nuthatch, worm-eating warbler, prairie warbler, red-headed woodpecker, black-throated green warbler, wood duck, and northern parula. The swallow-tailed kite, a state endangered species, can be seen at times soaring high in the sky.
There is minimal light pollution in most areas inside the Sumter National Forest, and you will see great views of the sky when the nights are clear.
All national forests allow geocaching that follows specific rules and requirements.
Address: 4931 Broad River Rd., Columbia, SC 29212
Fee: Entry fee $0
There are three separate ranger districts for the Sumter National Forest that feature some of the distinct natural habitats and regions of South Carolina. You can take your pick of any one or visit all three. Whichever district you choose, you are sure to find plenty of natural beauty to enjoy. Taking an RV to travel to all three districts is the easiest way to see the entire Sumter National Forest, and you can readily find an RV rental to get you on your way.