Hiking The Foothills Trail – Round Mountain Area

On Thursday, May 28th, I dropped my kids off at school, then headed up the road towards the Sloan Bridge trail-head for the Foothills Trail. I was hoping to get a few more miles of hiking in before the end of the month. I figured that I would hike to Upper Whitewater Falls, 5.5 miles away along the North Carolina, South Carolina state line, then turn around and hike back to my car. I would have to hurry because I needed to be done in time to pick my youngest son up at school at 2:45 pm.

This section of the Foothills trail was fairly overgrown, particularly at the beginning.

The canopy was thick overhead and this was one of the few spots where I had at least a partial view of the sky.

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There were lots of flowers growing all along the trail. These light pink clusters are Mountain Laurel. The Mountain Laurel have been in full bloom on all my recent hikes.

Here, I came upon some Galax, which are also known as Wandplant, Wandflower, or Beetleweed. According to Wikipedia, it’s native to the Southeastern U.S. and grows mainly in the Appalachian Mountains.

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The trail passed a small open area, then under some blow-down, before passing this cool gnarly old tree.

After hiking about 3 miles, I arrived at this location where I had distant views of Lake Jocassee. The Fall and Winter views must be especially nice.

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The mountains in this zoomed-in shot are looking very “Blue” indeed.

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From there, the trail switched back and descended until it crossed North Carolina Highway 281. It was only 8 tenths of a mile further to Upper Whitewater Falls, but unfortunately, I was running out of time. I decided that I had better turn around and begin the 4.7 mile hike back to my car. In all, I hiked 9.4 miles. The total elevation gain was a little over 1500 feet for the round trip.

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