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Foothills Trail, Gum Gap Segment Professional Review and Guide
"A day-long hike to the highest point in South Carolina, with great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This hike is easy to moderate for about 75 percent of its length and tremendously arduous for the balance. You walk through a portion of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, including Watson Heritage Preserve, then pass through Gum Gap and follow the North Carolina border, finally climbing Sassafras Mountain, the highest mountain in South Carolina. This trail is easier from west to east, but only slightly. At the western end, there are sharp ascents and descents in both directions."
--John Clark & John Dantzler, Hiking South Carolina (Falcon Guides).
This trail mostly follows mostly old road beds in fair shape until the Sassafras half where it goes into the woods. The trail abruptly changes course in several places so be aware of the trail markings. The markings going toward Sassafras Mtn. get pretty skimpy after Big Spring Mtn.. Keep in mind this trail follows the state line between SC & NC and adjoins the Greenville Watershed property and there should be no problems. There are several nice places to camp towards the Caesar’s Head end and a few toward Sassafras but those are mostly dry camps. The Dolves Mtn. overlook has an awesome view from Whiteside Mtn. above Cashers NC then past Mt. Pisgah to the north. The extreme view holds portions of the Great Smokey’s and much of the Blue Ridge containing the Parkway are in view. Most of the remainder of the trail is woods and Rhododendron banks. There are several streams with one crossing of Matthew’s Creek, but not major. Overall the grade is not bad until the Sassafras approach then the trail has several steep assents and descents with few steps making the whole affair rather arduous. An enjoyable overnighter or a long day hike coming off Sassafras toward Caesars Head. My GPS listed the hike at 14.1 miles and the hardest assent at 696 in .5 miles.
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