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Backpacker Magazine – January 2011

Trip Finder: Southeast

Your favorite Southeast trips—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

by: Marcus Woolf

Table Rock, Foothills Trail, SC (Pat & Chuck Blackley).
Table Rock, Foothills Trail, SC (Pat & Chuck Blackley).


WILDLIFE Pine Mountain Trail, GA
Pine Mountain rises to 1,395 feet from the low-rolling Piedmont in F.D. Roosevelt State Park, and the park’s lush, chestnut oak-covered ridges lure the scarlet tanager and ovenbird from farther north. Hike the 23-mile Pine Mountain Trail from GA 190 to the WJSP-TV Tower on GA 85W. Camp at Big Knot (mile eight) and Brown Dog (mile 17). Birding tip: Tanagers have bright-red bodies and dark-black wings, but like plenty of cover. Listen for a series short chik-burr calls.

SUMMIT VIEWS Foothills Trail, SC
The 14.1-mile hike from Table Rock State Park to Laurel Valley crosses South Carolina’s highpoint on Sassafras Mountain (3,554 feet). From the summit, gaze across pristine forest and spy 6,000-foot peaks lying on the horizon. On the approach, skirt outcrops at Bald Rock and see Table Rock Mountain looming to the south. The trail also crosses Drawbar Cliffs, with panoramas of Lake Keowee set amid rolling hills. Camp at the remains of the Cantrell homesite near Hickory

FALLS & SWIMMING Bee Branch Loop, AL
Nicknamed the “Land of 1,000 Waterfalls,” Sipsey Wilderness holds 25,000 acres of sinkholes, caves, and hidden cascades surrounded by ancient Southern hardwoods. Begin at Randolph trailhead for this 15-mile circuit. Hike along Thompson Creek and past tucked-away Auburn Falls to make camp at mile 4.5, in Whiteoak Hollow. On day two, close the loop along Bee Branch and detour to Falls Creek Falls; it tumbles 40 feet from a ledge in the secluded canyon.

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