The tallest point in South Carolina is easy to reach and has wide ranging views of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee.
In the upstate of South Carolina, in the Jocassee Gorges Wilderness Area, is the beautiful and easily accessed Sassafras Mountain. At 3,560 feet it is the highest point in the state. This popular spot is an easy drive up a well maintained mountain road where you will be treated to views in almost every direction including South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. It is a great spot to catch the sunset either from the large viewing deck that is just shy of the summit, or directly on the summit via an easy 100 yard walk to the peak.
Sassafras Mountain is located at 1399 F. Van Clayton Memorial Highway in Sunset South Carolina about 5 miles up from the intersection of F. Van Clayton and US 178 in the community of Rocky Bottom. The drive up the mountain is very pleasant as the road is in great shape, it isn’t too curvy, and it is paved the entire way. You can’t miss the parking area because it is literally at the end of the road and there is a large sign present for the foothills trail which crosses over the summit. The parking area for Sassafras Mountain is very large but there are not any restroom facilities at the summit.
From the parking area you have two options neither of which is very far or difficult so we recommend both. The easiest is the large viewing deck that is at the far end of the parking lot. This is just steps off the parking area and provides great Southwest facing views of the Jocassee Gorge and beyond. No matter how far you drove to visit Sassafras Mountain, just seeing this view would make the drive worth it. While you don’t get a more panoramic view like on the summit, the view you do get from this vantage point is unobstructed and beautiful.
The other option is the actual summit of the mountain. This is also easily reached by walking up the unpaved, gated road at the entrance to the parking area. It is only about 100 yards up a slight incline before you are on top of the highest spot of South Carolina. The area is host to cell towers and is open and expansive. Close to the center of the large open area is a plaque and bench designating the summit of the Sassafras Mountain. To get the best views though, you will have to walk to the edges of the clearing via a number of paths that are present. Depending on which way you walk and where you decide to enjoy the view, you may actually be in North Carolina as the border runs across the top of the mountain. Because the walk to the summit is so easy and short, this is a great spot for watching the sunset. So come early, bring a picnic, relax, and enjoy the beautiful views that are offered up by Sassafras Mountain.
When you have finished enjoying your time at Sassafras Mountain, walk back to your car and drive safely down the mountain.