We chose the Union County area to do a bunch of a short hikes in on a random weekday because:
- We had not really ever been to that part of South Carolina.
- It seemed like a place people wouldn’t necessarily flock to to hike during the Coronovirus shutdowns.
So first we went to Musgrove Mill State Historic Site which is actually a battlefield themed park but has some nice nature hikes as well.
The highlight is Horseshoe falls which is actually a very short hike (maybe 0.1 miles?) from the parking area on the north side of the river. This is a pretty section of river with sandy banks and easy rock scrambling at these water levels. It is also not a horseshoe at these water levels but looks like it would be at higher water.
Next up was Rose Hill Plantation, the former home of 1860s South Carolina governor William Gist. The house was closed due to COVID-19 but the grounds were open and there are a couple nice trails behind the home through the woods (formerly cotton fields). There are in the neighborhood of 2-5 miles of trails here depending on the loops you choose.
Finally we went to Pacolet River Heritage Preserve which, for the record, is NOT in Union County but we had to choose a title for this entry and Union County won. Sorry Spartanburg.
Anyway, this is basically a small lot at the end of dirt road that will have your wife questioning if your directions are correct (mine did anyway). There is one trail here, it’s about a mile and half in length and ends along the Pacolet River at the site of a former bridge that was destroyed in a flood (interesting info on this at the trailhead).
The river area is nice, we saw a lot of turtles and there is a soapstone quarry site in the vicinity that has been used for thousands of years (literally). The trailhead also has info on that.