Eastatoe Gorge – The Narrows

9/23/18

Sherri and I

Rain in the North Carolina led us to find this trail in Pickens County SC. There wasn’t much info on it out there but I saw the Greenville Hiking Club was doing it so we decided to check it out.

It was father than I expected. It was past Table Rock then kind of at the backside of that area. We took Highway 11 to Highway 176.

We arrive at the red gate just beyond the Laurel Valley parking area of the Foothills Trail. We park and head down the trail. It’s only about 10 am. You know when it’s early and the trail hasn’t been traveled you will be walking through spiderwebs playing Ninja! I saw this that explains it perfectly!

It’s a nice wide path most of the way. It goes through some nice woods but does not offer any views. Maybe in a winter hike. About a mile into the hike we see bear poop. I have never come across a bear or its poop before. There is this joke that says “how can u tell a black bears poop from a brown bears poop?” Answer- black bears poop has nuts and berries and brown bears poop has little silver bells!

That’s because some hikers wear bear bells. Sherri and I do. Not that I don’t make enough noise out there but it’s to let the bears know your coming. Then hopefully they hide! This one had nuts – black bear. 😜

This of course starts the bearanoia! Every time Sherri stops I think bear! We did just shake that one off and keep walking.

There are a lot of blowdowns on this trail but overall it’s an easy walk.

Eventually the trail gets more narrow. It winds with long switchbacks going downhill with very little elevation. Then we come to a big turn in the trail that goes over a bridge and the trail starts going downhill. We wondered why this trail was rated as moderate other than the length but this is why.

We can hear water rushing on most all of this trail. Hiking with water sounds is very soothing. The next sign is a directional to the Narrows. The other way leads towards the river above the narrows.

After this turn the trail has a lot of muscadines on it. There is also a small peach looking fruit which I think is a persimmon. I don’t know why I know that but I just googled it and it was persimmons! It’s like a bears cafe around here! 🙄

We get down to an observation deck on a cliff to view the narrows. It’s really beautiful but I don’t see any way to the bottom.

Sherri saw pics of people at the bottom so on the way back out we found a steep side trail to the bottom. It’s possible to rock hop or wade to the narrows but we decide we won’t. The water is rushing pretty good and there is another Falls there.

We head back up the trail and back towards the car. We passed one guy on the way down and a couple more people on the way back up but that was it.

When we get back to the car it was 6 miles. I want to stop at the foothills trail and Sherri wants to Check the map at the trailhead.

Maybe Someday we will do a couple other sections of the foothills trail. It winds all through this area. We get back in the car and decide to head back instead of more hiking. As we are driving Sherri sees a sign for Sassafrass Mountain and turns. I’ve never been there but you can drive to the top. It’s about 5 miles up a steep, twisty road. It is the highest point in South Carolina. We come to a parking area near the Foothills trail. We park and go to the lookout. It has a pretty good view.

Turns out they have the top closed off because they are building an observation tower and visitors center at the top. It looks like the one at Mount Mitchell.

Time to head home. We got a lot in today and will still have some of Sunday left to chill.

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