On Friday, Wayne, Ron, Judy and I drove to Table Rock State Park. On this day we would do a loop hike by connecting three trails. We would begin by hiking on the Table Rock Trail to the junction of the Ridge Trail at Panther Gap. The Ridge Trail would take us to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain. Finally, from there we would follow the Pinnacle Mountain Trail back down to our point of beginning.
We started our hike at the Nature Center. Within 100 yards, we came to Carrick Creek Falls, which we viewed from the newly built platform.
Shortly after we resumed hiking, the trail began to climb steeply. We passed several more cascading waterfalls along this section.
The Table Rock Trail is strewn with rocks. Here, the trail passes between large boulders before heading up some makeshift stone steps.
The tree in this first image was a huge specimen that reached high into the clear blue sky. The tree in the second image was at the junction at Panther Gap. It appears to be eating the faded metal sign.
Some winter weather had passed through the area the week before. As we hiked along the Ridge Trail, we came across some snow on the ground that hadn’t yet melted. The closer we got to the summit, the more snow that we encountered.
Here, the trail led us through a tunnel of Rhododendron before continuing on.
The summit of Pinnacle Mountain is wooded so there are not a ton of views, even with the leaves off the trees. We stopped long enough to take a couple of quick pictures, then headed on down the trail. The trail drops about 600-700 feet in the next 6 tenths of a mile before reaching Bald Rock Overlook. From there, we had expansive views of the piedmont of South Carolina. Shortly after that, we descended a large open rock outcropping where we could see Table Rock Mountain in the distance. At 1.8 miles to go, we passed a rock formation that has been described as resembling a ships bow.
Later, we encountered more snow along the sides of the trail where it paralleled a stream.
One last waterfall, followed by a small cascade where most of the water runs along the length of a long slab of stone.
Three tenths of a mile from the end of our hike, we crossed this stream on rocks. We crossed it again about 300 feet later.
In all, we hiked 9 miles and gained 2,519 feet in elevation. Virtually all of the climbing was done within the first 4.9 miles. I would definitely rate this hike as strenuous, but well worth the effort.