At the top of the “Palmetto State” hovers Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina. Hovering inconspicuously near the borders of North Carolina and Georgia, this humble peak encapsulates a secluded highpointing visit and experience. There is a lot of natural and understated beauty in this state, including the peaks of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains here at Sassafras Mountain! A visit to the highest point in South Carolina will give you the chance to soak it all up from the top!
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Guide to Sassafras Mountain
Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina, may be humble when it comes to the 50 U.S. state high points, but it offers a lot of charm and scenic beauty. From its summit, you can see the neighboring states of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee! North Carolina in particular provides some looming views with its resident 6’000 footer peaks! And bonus – this charming southern state high point recently got an impressive makeover – a new modern viewing platform! Plus the location offers plenty of other day hiking and outdoor adventures to add on to your visit!
Location of Sassafras Mountain
Sassafras Mountain is located literally on the North Carolina and South Carolina border, off of Van Clayton Memorial Highway. It is also a “stone’s throw away” from two additional neighbors, Tennessee and Georgia. In fact, I was able to visit both the high point of South Carolina and neighboring state highpoint Brasstown Bald in a matter of just a single afternoon! Just prior to arriving at the Sassafras Mountain summit, visitors will actually drive through a small section of North Carolina, before re-entering South Carolina upon arrival at Sassafras Mountain.
The highest point in South Carolina and surrounding area
Quick Facts On Sassafras Mountain
Compared to its nearby neighbors Brasstown Bald in Georgia and Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, this high point of South Carolina is considerably smaller in comparison, though it shares similar topography and geographical connections. However, visiting this secluded peak will still give you an accurate taste of the simple and humble natural beauty to be found in this state. The highest point in South Carolina impresses without glitz or distractions, and has a way of blending seamlessly and unassumingly into its surroundings.
Sassafras Mountain is a true walk up state high point, that does not involve any real hiking. It is one of the most accessible of the 50 U.S. state high points. However, here are the quick facts. One of the best parts? It is free to visit and explore this South Carolina high point!
Elevation: 3, 553 feet
Best Time of Year to Visit: Year round! Although be prepared for some potential gloominess and fog if you visit during the winter!
Dog Friendly: Yes!
Attractions: Trails, viewing platforms, observation tower
Facilities: There is plenty of parking and bathrooms at the summit of Sassafras Mountain
To access the summit of Sassafras Mountain is a simple walk up a paved path. There is an observation tower and multiple viewing platforms at the summit, plus other trails in the area to explore. It is a great spot for just a quick visit, or a longer day trip of exploring and picnicking!
Though this is an easy “hike”, consisting mostly of a drive up and short jaunts, the views from the top of Sassafras Mountain give the feeling of having hiked much further and higher! Fortunately, this is a highpointing experience that almost anyone of any fitness level can enjoy.
Insider Tip: This area’s roads are known to get icy in the winter, and the drive up is windy in many sections. Check mountain conditions before your visit, and if there is ice on the road, consider parking at lower elevation at the base of Van Clayton Highway and hiking up the road to the summit as an alternative to driving up.
What to Do at the Sassafras Mountain Summit
When I visited Sassafras Mountain as part of my six state Southeastern high point road trip, I had the summit views and experience to myself. Of course, it was a winter day that left this summit completely shrouded in fog and mist. But it still impressed with its peacefully eerie vibe in this humble spot, even without the clear skies to see all the way to Tennessee! In my pursuit of hiking to the top of all 50 U.S. state high points, it is not often that I get to enjoy the highest point in an entire state in complete seclusion and silence! Even my pup enjoyed the peacefulness of the fog.
Though the actual walk to the top of Sassafras Mountain is not going to take you all that long, the immediate area is worth simply taking a leisurely stroll around for a time. There is a short boardwalk towards the left end of the parking lot with a beautiful overlook that is definitely worth a stop at as well! Additionally, for those looking for a more traditional hiking experience, the trailhead for the Foothills Trail can be found on the dirt road at the end of the parking lot for the Sassafras Mountain summit and viewing platform.
Other Nearby Attractions
In addition to exploring the immediate area of Sassafras Mountain, here are some other great odd on adventures in the vicinity!
The Foothills Trail
The Foothills Trail is a long distance, strenuous hike. But with a trailhead at Sassafras Mountain, you can choose to hike a portion of it and then turn around.
A visit to Sassafras Mountain provides a chance to explore the Foothills Trail in part or full. If you complete all 34 miles one way, expect to pass by Licklog and Pigpen Falls, the Chattooga River, the border of Georgia, Gorges State Park, and Whitewater and Turtleback Falls.
About 30 minutes away from Sassafras Mountain, Twin Falls is an easy and stunning waterfall hike, perfect for families!
Less than an hour from Sassafras Mountain are 3 local state parks to choose from, each with their own charm and beauty to offer:
Ready to explore more of the southern United States, and maybe even tackle a few southern state high points? Better yet, take on an epic southern road trip and explore them all! Check out these trail reports and guides!
- Brasstown Bald, Georgia
- Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina
- Clingmans Dome, Tennessee
- Cheaha Mountain, Alabama
- Mt. Magazine, Arkansas
- Guadalupe Peak, Texas
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