September 13, 2014 – While staying at the campground at Table Rock State Park, I really wanted to make it to the top of Table Rock because even though the 6.8 miles roundtrip is rated strenuous, Hiking the Carolinas says “This is the one you came for! – this climb to the top affords some of the best views in South Carolina.”
But after talking to some other folks who had done it (or tried to), I pretty much doubted I could complete the entire hike. But I hoped I could make it to the CCC rain shelter about 1.6 miles up the trail since I had heard about this project when Robert was showing me the CCC Cabins and restoration efforts. But “up” is the operative word there because it was uphill the whole way.
But however far you intend to go, don’t miss getting on this trail at least a little ways because it’s well worth it.
A very short distance down the trail where it’s still easy boardwalk, you’ll come to Carrick Creek Falls. There are benches to sit, relax and enjoy.
But directly across from these falls, you’re warned that the numerous cliffs and slippery rocks along the trail make it extremely dangerous after dark, which falls quickly at this point even if shining at higher elevations.
At first, I found the tree roots and rustic rock steps manageable as well as attractive.
And I found pretty resting spots and bridges along the way to further entice me.
The trail is well marked (red) and easy to follow in that sense, and the spreading roots made for some interesting sights and steps.
I quickly found out, though, that the fallen acorns added another dimension of difficulty since they could be like marbles when stepping on them making tripping on the trail even easier. They were falling fast and furious, too, and the noise sometimes sounded like being bombed – I was thankful none landed on my head!
But most times just keeping my balance and not twisting my ankle was enough to deal with. Believe me, don’t do this trail without a hiking stick or lots of water!
Despite it all so far, I was still really enjoying the scenery, especially when I came across this patch of Hearts A Bursting wildflowers to greet and encourage me.
Happy yellow flowers poking out and little gurgling waterfalls were welcome companions, too.
But about at this point I saw that I had only gone a mile and it had taken me two hours to get here, so I just didn’t feel like I was up to another 1/2 mile knowing I had it all to do again on the way back.
And going downhill wasn’t easy, either, and by this time my knees were pretty much screaming at me.
Being tired and a bit disappointed I didn’t make it as far as I wanted to, I kept telling myself to be especially careful not to slip on the rocks.
I couldn’t resist walking out onto this big boy, though. I sat here for a while, too, and rested listening to the birds sing and the acorn bombs.
This was my final reward, though – getting back to Carrick Creek Falls in one piece and cooling off behind them!
Links with more info and pictures of the top of Table Rock:
All Malia’s Miles pages on Table Rock State Park: