Winding Stairs Trail

Sumter National Forest, South Carolina

Elevation Gain1,649ft
Trailhead Elevation2,221ft
Elevation Min/Max1159/2221ft
Elevation Start/End2221/2221ft

Winding Stairs Trail

Winding Stairs Trail is a hiking trail in Oconee County, South Carolina. It is within Sumter National Forest. It is 3.3 miles long and begins at 2,221 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,649 feet. This trail connects with the following: Cherokee Road.

Winding Stairs Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A pleasant, easy walk through a forest filled with rhododendron and mountain laurel. The Trail passes Miuka Falls, one of the state's most impressive cascades. This is a great mountain hike for beginners, a pleasant morning or afternoon outing, or a good warm-up for more demanding trails. Offering views of one of the state’s prettiest waterfalls, Winding Stairs Trail connects with the 2.7-mile Big Bend Trail to form an interesting 6.2-mile eastward spur of the Chattooga and Foothills trails.

The trail moves through a mostly hardwood forest of red oaks, post oaks, hickories, tulip poplars, white pines, and white cedars; the relatively open understory is decorated with a multitude of wildflowers and shrubs. The forest is alive with ravens, warblers, indigo buntings, common yellowthroats, yellow-breasted chats, vireos, and thrushes, as well as white-tailed deer, squirrels, and feral hogs."

"The South Carolina Trails Program calls this trail “one of the finest beginner trails in northwest South Carolina.” Of course, the person who wrote that description must have only hiked the trail downhill.

When hiking both out and back, this trail provides a pretty decent workout with more than 1,000 feet in elevation change. Aptly named Winding Stairs for the numerous switchbacks or natural staircases, the trail also offers great views of two waterfalls and surrounding mountains."

Winding Stairs Trail Reviews

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An easy well marked trail. Except for the trail head. Some one had taken the sign and tossed it in the woods. But the trailhead is just south of the cherry hill campground entrance. The trailhead is off the highway, just inside a large grassy area. With your back to the road,look to your right up a small hill, don't take the large trail to the left, that goes back to the campground. The trail will take you past an old cemetary on your right. Take time to check out some of the old headstones from the 1800s. Follow the red blazes 1.2 miles to miuka falls. To get a good view, you'll have to go down a steep trail to the bottom of the falls. It's worth it but, I wouldnt advise going down without hiking boots and trekking poles especially if its wet. After that the trail winds down past secret falls. The secret is, that it's not very impressive. lots of small creeks along the way if you need water. Trail ends at Tomassee road. Trail may be better in the late fall when the trees are bare and miuka and the vistas of mountains and lake are more visable.

Winding Stairs Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Sumter National Forest
Nearby City
Sumter National Forest
Andrew Pickens Ranger District, Sumter National Forest, 112 Andrew Pickens Circle, Mountain Rest, SC 29664, (864) 638-9568.
Local Contacts
Trail Guide, Andrew Pickens Ranger District, Sumter National Forest, Forest Service; Tamassee USGS quads.
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018