Sassafras Mountain (South Carolina State Highpoint)

South Carolina

Trip Date: Saturday, June 27th, 2020
Last Updated: Monday, July 27th, 2020
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★☆☆(3/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 0.4 miles roundtrip
Time 30 minutes
Terrain Hilly, 80 feet of elevation gain
Best Seasons All
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible Yes

Highlights

Hike Summary

On the border of North and South Carolina in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains is Sassafras Mountain, the highest place in South Carolina. Much like many of the other state highpoints in the South (for example Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina), you can drive almost all the way to the top, requiring a only short uphill walk to the summit on a paved path. Though the mountain at 3553 feet above sea level is thousands of feet shorter than other Blue Ridge peaks, the summit still offers a commanding view of the Appalachians on a clear day.

From the parking lot, follow either the steep concrete path or the more gradual gravel trail designated as wheelchair accessible. No matter which way you go, it's a quick trip to the summit. At the top, you'll see the nearly brand-new concrete observation platform pictured below which opened in 2019.

The concrete observation platform on top of Sassafras Mountain

The concrete observation platform on top of Sassafras Mountain

Like many other state highpoints (including Florida, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa), South Carolina's is right against the border. A black line delineates the North Carolina-South Carolina border, and like many before, you can straddle the line and experience being in two places at once.
The North Carolina-South Carolina border marked on the observation platform

The North Carolina-South Carolina border marked on the observation platform

If you're lucky enough to visit on a clear day (they don't call them the Smoky Mountains for no reason), the views are magnificent. Even on a hazy day, you'll still be able to see some of the surrounding mountains, as shown in the two pictures below.
Forested peaks to the southwest of Sassafras Mountain

Forested peaks to the southwest of Sassafras Mountain

Cloudy views to the north and east from the summit of Sassafras Mountain

Cloudy views to the north and east from the summit of Sassafras Mountain

After you finish descending the mountain, look for a trail at the far end of the parking lot. A few extra steps will lead you to an additional viewing platform, as pictured below. Here, you can see views to the south and west.
A smaller observation deck near the parking lot

A smaller observation deck near the parking lot

And with that, you'll have summitted a state highpoint and enjoyed some low-effort views! Connect with me using the social media links below and share your adventures!



Important Information

Dogs are allowed on leash. This short trail is great for anyone of any age or ability. In addition to the paved path, there is also a designated wheelchair accessible gravel path to the summit. You can visit in any season, though be careful of icy roads in the winter. Expect to see people no matter when you visit.

Directions

Sassafras Mountain is located on the North Carolina-South Carolina border between Greenville and Asheville. Use the link below to navigate the rural highways. No matter where you're coming from, you will end up on U.S. Highway 178 and turn onto Sassafras Mountain Road/F Van Clayton Memorial Highway in Rocky Bottom. This road winds all the way to the parking lot near the summit.

Google Maps Directions

Parking, Fees, and Facilities

Parking is free! There are pit toilets near the lot.

Nearby Hikes

The concrete tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome
Clingmans Dome (Tennessee State Highpoint)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
★★★★☆(4/5)
The summit tower as seen from the parking lot
Brasstown Bald (Georgia State Highpoint)
Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia
★★★★☆(4/5)

External Links