Sumter National Forest
|Horse Stalls at Woods Ferry Campground (U.S. National Forest Campground Guide)|
Rocky Gap/Willis Knob Horse Trail
Whetstone Base Camp
Andrew Pickens Ranger District
This 28-mile trail crosses the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River corridor, linking the South Carolina side (Rocky Gap) with the Georgia side (Willis Knob). The Rocky Gap trail measures 12.5 miles with several loops. Willis Knob consists of one 15-mile loop. Several access points allow for trips of various lengths. A brochure detailing the trail, river fords, and rules and regulations is available at the Andrew Pickens district office.
Amenities include 20 campsites; five are first-come, first-served, while up to 15 may be reserved. The camp has centrally located drinking water, wheelchair accessible chemical toilets, cooking grills, hitching rails, tables, and lantern posts. Although Whetstone Horse Camp serves as a base camp for riders, it is open to campers without horses.
Across the river on the Georgia side is Willis Knob Horse Camp, part of the Rocky Gap trail system. Campers must obtain reservations through the Tallulah Ranger District office of Chattahoochee National Forest.
Rangers warn that trail conditions and river crossings vary. Call the district office for specific information. High water levels make for difficult crossings. Select crossings carefully. Check weather for heavy rain to prevent being trapped on the opposite side of the river from your vehicle.
A parking area and a hiking access trail to the Chattooga River are located very near Whetstone Horse Camp, on Earls Ford Road. Earls Ford and Sandy Ford, also nearby, provide primitive (and not very quiet) campsites.
Directions: From Walhalla, go north six miles on State Highway 28. Turn left onto Whetstone Road. Go straight at the four-way stop. Pavement will end. A sign for Whetstone Horse Camp will be on the left about 0.75 mile down the gravel road. The day-use parking is on the right.
Requirements: Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance; rangers advise getting them even earlier for holiday weekends. Commercial rides may require a special use permit and route approval by the district ranger.
Fees: Horse trail and day-use parking have no fee. Whetstone Horse Camp charges a fee. Fees must be paid within 30 minutes of occupying a site.
Buncombe Horse Trail
Enoree Ranger District
This 28-mile trail winds through forested hills and valleys. Points of interest include old cemeteries, wagon roads, and plantation sites. Wildlife species and plant life are abundant. With interconnecting loops, riders have an opportunity for rides of various lengths. Hikers and mountain bikers are also welcome, but the trail is closed to all off-road vehicles. The trail, rated easy to moderate, is marked with painted white blazes and brown mile markers. The trail's surface is gravel and piedmont clay.
Drinking water is available at Brick House Campground, 0.3 mile to the south. Rangers warn that stream water is unsafe to drink. Because hunting is a popular activity on the Sumter National Forest, wear blaze orange during big game season.
Directions: From SC Route 66 (3.5 miles east of I-26), turn south on Forest Service Road 358. Left side of road is trail-head parking. Brickhouse Campground is 0.3 mile farther south.
Requirements: Horses must be kept in the horse stalls and are not allowed in the campground. Large riding groups are requested to inform the district ranger of the group's size and duration of stay to ensure facilities are adequate.
Woods Ferry Recreation Area , located in western Chester County on the Enoree Ranger District, also offers access to horse trails, camping, picnicking, and other activities. There are 28 campsites with tables and grills; seven have horse stalls. There are two group sites; one has a horse stall.
Long Cane Horse Trail
Long Cane Ranger District
The Long Cane Horse Trail, rated moderately difficult, covers diverse terrain within its 23-mile loop. The trail, along dirt, graveled, and paved roads, traverses the Long Cane Scenic Area and offers riding, hiking, and camping opportunities. This white-blazed equestrian trail begins at Fell Hunt Camp. However, numerous access points and convenient cutthroughs enable riders to adjust the length and duration of their ride.
Amenities of the Long Cane Horse Trail include conveniently placed stock water access, stock area with hitching posts and tie rails, pit toilets, and ample trailhead parking.
Points of interest along the trail include cemeteries, state record trees, and historic features such as the original Charleston Road. Oak, hickory, pine, and diverse wildlife habitats are common throughout the trail. Nearby points of interest include the historic town of Abbeville, Parson's Mountain Recreation Area, Cedar Springs Motorcycle Trail, Midway Hunt Camp, and Candy Branch Rifle Range.
Rangers warn visitors to avoid trail use during the first two weeks of hunting season. Wear brightly colored clothing during entire hunting season.
Directions: From Greenwood take SC Route 10 south 7.7 miles. Turn right onto Route S 2447, drive 2.4 miles to entrance on left. From Abbeville take Route S 133 south 8 miles. Bear left onto Route S 2447. Drive 1.5 miles to entrance on right.
Requirements: Special permit required for organized rides of 12 or more and overnight camping along trail.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication