158 Ellison Lane – Pickens, SC
Sept. 8-23, 2014 – Talk about a delightful state park – Table Rock State Park is a green jewel in South Carolina’s northwest corner, known as the Upcountry. Ellison Lane runs off of S.C. Hwy. 11, also known as Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway that winds through South Carolina’s northwest corner, known as the Upcountry. This 112-mile road was the route used by the Cherokees and the English and French fur traders.
How did Table Rock get its name? Cherokee Indian Legend states that a Cherokee Chieftain named the Table Rock Watershed “Sah-ka-na-ga” (The Great Blue Hills of God). When he finished hunting, he would stop here and use the Table Rock mountain as his dining table while sitting on Stool Mountain to dine on his venison.
The Visitor Center porch is a great spot for a gentle swing while gazing at the heart of Table Rock.
Park history: The park was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC built a dam for Pinnacle Lake, several fish-rearing pools, the superintendent’s residence, a lodge, shelters, and miles of roads and hiking trails. The CCC also landscaped the park using natural vegetation from the Pinnacle Lake bed. Much of this work remains visible in the 21st century.
Me at Lake Oolenoy fishing pier, a 67 acre lake within the park on the Visitors Center side of Hwy. 11. It has a boat ramp and does allow private boats on it and fishing can be done on either lake.
On the other side of Hwy. 11 off of Table Rock State Park Road, the Pinnacle Lake swimming beach had recently closed for the 2014 season when I was there, but one weekend they were having an Outdoor Celebration and I caught these scenes of some of the water fun rentals available here lakeside. No private boats are allowed on this 36 acre lake – only watercraft like paddle boats, canoes and kayaks which can be rented here.
Herpetologist Ben Stegenga was there that day showing off some colorful (and harmless) snakes to the kids. The kid in me always enjoys events like this and watching the wonder in the other kids’ eyes.
There are several cabins, day use, playground and picnic areas, including larger shelters for rent.
All Malia’s Miles pages on Table Rock State Park: