A short and moderate loop hike inside Table Rock State Park with numerous waterfalls and cascades.
Inside South Carolina’s Table Rock State Park is a short loop trail that is a beautiful walk through the woods that is packed with a number of water features. The 2 mile Carrick Creek Trail is rated as moderate and while it only has one named waterfall, Carrick Creek Falls, the trail wanders along two different creeks with a number of short unnamed waterfalls and cascades. Carrick Creek Falls is also very close to the trailhead and would be an easy out-and-back hike if you only wanted to visit the waterfall. This is a great kid friendly hike inside a very nice South Carolina state park.
Table Rock State Park is located just off the scenic Highway 11 in Pickens South Carolina. The main visitors center is located at 158 Ellison Lane but the trailhead for the Carrick Creek Trail is across highway 11 on Table Rock State Park Road at the Table Rock Nature Center. There is an admission fee at Table Rock State Park which is paid as you enter the park. At the time of this video, the fees were as follows – From the Saturday before Memorial Day through the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the fee is $5 for adults, $3.25 for South Carolina seniors, and $3 for children ages 6-15. Children 5 and under are free.
After you pay the admission fees and enter the park look for the large parking area at the far end of Pinnacle Lake. There is good signage present so you can’t miss it. The nature center and trailhead are across the street from the parking lot.
All hikers must register at the trail head using the registration cards that are present at the informative signboard. Once registration is complete, continue on the trail past the nature center and cross Carrick Creek. The Carrick Creek loop trail is marked with green blazes and there is excellent signage throughout the trail system that runs through the park.
Initially the trail is paved and relatively flat. Very quickly you will encounter Carrick Creek Falls which is a short but beautiful waterfall on Carrick Creek. Although you haven’t walked very far, there is a large observation area with benches that can be used to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the waterfall.
When you are ready to continue the hike the trail continues on the left of Carrick Creek following it upstream where you immediately encounter additional cascades just above Carrick Creek Falls. Shortly after crossing back over the creek the trail forks at the bottom of the loop. You could go either way but we went right and will describe the hike from this perspective.
The right fork follows Green Creek up the mountain with an almost countless number of cascades and small waterfalls. It is a very beautiful and enjoyable section of the forest to walk through. There is a modest elevation change but it really isn’t too bad. Soon the trail will fork again where continuing straight will take you to the top of Table Rock Mountain. However, for this hike you will want to follow the green blazes and go left. This section of the hike, which is about 1/2 a mile, will take you across to the Pinnacle Mountain trail where you meet back up with Carrick Creek and follow it downstream. Look for the trail sign and green blazes heading left when you encounter the Pinnacle Mountain trail.
From here the trail parallels Carrick Creek once more as it descends back down to the start of the loop. There are additional cascades that you will pass as the trail works its way down the mountain. Some of the cascades are very beautiful so plan on spending a little time to enjoy them.
When you encounter the start of the loop, turn right heading back towards the nature center and parking lot which isn’t too far from this point. You will pass by Carrick Creek Falls again if you want to stop to enjoy this beautiful waterfall once more.