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What to expect

South Carolina has 499 trails including medium, easy, and difficult trails. The trail with the highest elevation climb is the South Waccamaw Walk and the one with the least climb is the Hunting Island Marsh Boardwalk. The longest trail is Southeastern Serpentine Trail at 912 km. To complete this hike you should budget at least 60 days. For a shorter adventure, you can try the Horse Pasture Road Walk a t 172 m. This could be done in as little as 1 days. Trails with the best offering of hostels include Natural Bridge, Raven Rock and McKinney Mountain Loop Trail, Ditch Pond Overlook, Cayce Riverwalk, Laurel Fork Creek Road, and James Island County Park Loop.

Guide to hiking in South Carolina

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FAQs about hiking in South Carolina

What is the climate like for hiking in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, winters are mild and summers hot. Spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) are the best seasons to hike, with mild temperatures and beautiful landscapes. Always keep in mind the sudden rain showers in spring. Visit South Carolina's official tourism site for more.
Summers (July to August) are hot and humid, not ideal for hiking. Still, coastal areas offer a pleasant breeze. Check weather updates regularly and stay hydrated.
Winter (December to February) is mild, but trails in mountain areas may get icy. Layer your clothes, watch for weather warnings, and take necessary precautions.

Do I need a permit to hike in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, most hiking trails don't require permits. However, state park fees may apply. For backpacking in wilderness areas, check specific requirements with the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism. Visit their official site for detailed information.

Is wild camping allowed in South Carolina?

Wild camping in South Carolina is typically permitted in state forests and some state parks with certain restrictions. It's advised to check regulations with specific parks. Backcountry camping is also allowed with a permit in some areas. Visit the official site for more information.

Are there mountain rescue services in South Carolina?

In case of an emergency while hiking in South Carolina, dial 911. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) is responsible for coordinating statewide emergency response. They work closely with county emergency services. More information can be found on the SCEMD website.

Are there dangerous plants in South Carolina?

South Carolina's diverse habitats host varied flora. Coastal hikes reveal live oaks, Spanish moss, and saw palmetto, while the Mountain Region's forests bloom with rhododendrons, mountain laurels, and ferns. Check out South Carolina's State Parks website for specific locations' flora details.

What wildlife should I be aware of when hiking in South Carolina?

From alligators in coastal wetlands to white-tailed deer in mountain forests, South Carolina's fauna varies with the terrain. Watch out for venomous snakes and mosquitos. Be informed about wildlife in hiking areas using the website.