Leaves show an amazing display of colors and hues in fall before they end up on the ground. Talk about a last hurrah for foliage before freezing temperatures set in!
South Carolina is a wonderful state for viewing these vibrant, color-changing leaves. Whether you’re hiking, standing at an overlook, or visiting a park or orchard, you’ll be amazed to see such colorful vegetation.
Keep reading to learn about where you can best view the South Carolina fall foliage and identify a few leafy specimens.
Beautiful Places to Experience South Carolina Fall Foliage
1. Table Rock State Park, Pickens
Located in northwestern South Carolina is the naturally beautiful 3,083-acre Table Rock State Park, named for its towering mountain.
Table Rock has an extensive trail system that gives you scenic views of the South Carolina fall foliage. You’ll either view the foliage during the hike or view it at the beginning or end of your hike. Here are two hiking trails that give you these opportunities:
- Carrick Creek Trail: This two-mile loop takes you through waterfalls and a forest of oak, hickory, pine, and hemlock trees. Before you begin your hike here, you’re treated to views of the Carrick Creek Falls from the observation deck!
- Table Rock Trail: This strenuous 3.6-mile trail has you hiking through a forest of oak and hickory trees toward rocky outcrops. At the Table Rock summit, you’ll receive marvelous views of South Carolina’s fall foliage in the distant countryside and mountains.
By camping at Table Rock, you’ll have more time to enjoy the South Carolina fall foliage. The sites are located near the park entrance and the White Oaks picnic station, and they welcome tent and RV campers.
2. Chattooga Belle Farm, Long Creek
According to Chattooga Belle Farm, the mountains are calling, especially when fall is around the corner! This 198-acre working farm is situated at the Blue Ridge Mountains’ base. And in the distance are endless views of trees scattered on the hills and a valley.
The farm has a South Carolina apple orchard that serves a variety of produce throughout the year. As you pick apples, peaches, blueberries, and other produce, you’ll experience panoramic views of the fall foliage of South Carolina.
The farm’s large event barn is great for weddings, family reunions, corporate events, and so on. What better way to enjoy South Carolina’s fall foliage in the mountainous surroundings than to do it with friends and family?
3. Jocassee Gorges, Sunset
Jocassee Gorges is the Grand Canyon of South Carolina with its 43,500-acre wilderness, forested slopes, rivers, and streams. From early October to late November, it’s the most popular destination for viewing South Carolina’s beautiful fall foliage.
Jumping Off Rock Overlook
The main attraction at Jocassee Gorges is Jumping Off Rock, where you’ll see the most picturesque sight in the eastern US.
From the overlook is a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Lake Jocassee. In fall, red and gold trees surround the lake; combined with the clear waters, it’s a colorful picture come to life!
Horse Pasture Road is the way to get to the overlook. Be sure to make a few stops along the graveled road, as there are several overlooks giving you different-angled views.
Set up camp at Jocassee Gorges for continual views and close encounters with the South Carolina fall foliage! Some of the designated spots are first-come, first-served, and other sites are perfect for primitive camping.
You’ll either be tent camping on the mountain ridges or in the valleys but not at the lakeshore.
4. Fred W. Symmes (Pretty Place) Chapel, Cleveland
The Fred W. Symmes Chapel, or Pretty Place, is the spiritual center of YMCA Camp Greenville. It’s the country’s fifth largest Y camp and is set on a mountaintop on the Blue Ridge Mountains’ eastern ridge.
This chapel is a pretty place that lets you see a much bigger pretty place! From the chapel, you’ll receive an unobstructed view of the South Carolina upstate area’s forested hills.
For a more beautiful view of the South Carolina fall foliage, watch the sun rise over the mountains. As you stand at the chapel, the morning will bombard you with many fall colors in the distance!
Understand that public viewing is prohibited during camp and private events, so be sure to check the online schedule.
Because of the view of South Carolina’s fall foliage, it’s the perfect place to host weddings. After all, a beautiful natural setting is perfect for beautiful unions! Other events include memorial services and family programs.
5. Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch, Mount Pleasant
Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch is a South Carolina pumpkin patch that offers many fall-related activities besides pumpkin picking. It’s also the best place to enjoy the fall colors with your family and friends thanks to its gardens and surrounding trees.
The patch hosts one of the largest fall festivals in the Palmetto State. If anything will invite you to catch glimpses of South Carolina’s fall foliage during your stay, it’s the pumpkin patch’s festivities! There are tractor tours, nature exhibits, games, and an eight-acre corn maze.
Boone Hall Plantation
Nearby is the Boone Hall Plantation, famous for its long avenue of massive oak trees. If you’re on a bus or tractor tour here, they’re a sight in fall. And at the plantation are gardens that contain a variety of year-round plants, not just ones for fall.
As you learn about the plantation’s history and the Gullah culture, let the fall foliage at this historical landmark mesmerize you.
Trees and Plants Native to South Carolina
There are plenty of locations where you can best see the fall foliage of South Carolina. However, you may be asking yourself what kinds of trees or plants you’re looking at.
Here are a few examples of the state’s trees and plants whose foliage displays beautiful colors in fall.
6. October Glory Red Maple
The 40–50-foot October Glory Red Maple is a fast-growing deciduous shade tree with a dense and rounded 25–35-foot spread when mature. With this cultivar being pollution-tolerant, you may see it in urban settings, not just in state parks and other remote areas.
Fall Color Changes
Unlike other red maple cultivars, this one’s leaves have a lasting fall color (for as long as several weeks!). The maple’s leaves appear lush greens in spring and summer, but in late fall, they become red, orange, and yellow.
7. Water Oak
Another fast-growing deciduous shade tree in South Carolina is the 50–100-foot Water Oak. Though it’s technically a short-lived type of red oak, it can be long-lasting when planted in areas and soils it likes. That would be loose and moist soil along rivers and streams in full sun with partial shade.
One way to distinguish this tree is the shape of its leaves, which resemble drops of water.
Fall Color Changes
There are two types of water oak. The fire water oak is small with its leaves having fiery orange and red shades when developed. Then there’s the medium-sized Thierry water oak, whose leaves turn from green to yellow in fall.
In the oak’s 10th year, it produces heavy crops of acorns. While viewing its fall foliage in South Carolina, you may see glimpses of the wildlife feasting off this tree.
8. Oakleaf Hydrangea
The Oakleaf Hydrangea is a flowering deciduous shrub with lobed leaves that are reminiscent of those on an oak tree. Though this six- to eight-foot cold-hardy shrub exhibits beautiful fall foliage in South Carolina, it’s an attractive sight any time of the year.
Fall Color Changes
Summer and fall are when these leathery 12-inch leaves are bright green. But once late fall rolls in, the leaves present shades of orange–bronze, red, and purple.
This hydrangea’s flowers grow in large clusters, beginning as greenish-white blooms. When they age, they become subtle shades of pink, purple, and brown. After the hydrangea stops producing new flowers, the current blooms remain on the shrub.
The narrow, tall-growing Sweetgum Tree reaches 60–80 feet high and spreads out at 40–60 feet wide. You’re likely to find this tree in remote areas. Due to its shallow root system, it wouldn’t grow well near sidewalks or paved trails.
Fall Color Changes
Some cultivars of this deciduous tree are ornamental for their South Carolina fall foliage. The star-shaped palmate leaves change from lustrous green to multiple fall colors with deep purple and red hues.
A few sweetgum cultivars produce dark brown spiny gumballs called capsules when fall arrives. These balls are 1.5 inches in diameter and are ornamental. However, they make quite a mess when the fruit falls from the tree.
Wearing sturdy shoes goes without saying when experiencing this piece of South Carolina fall foliage up close. Watch your step as you approach since these fallen capsules are capable of making people trip and twist their ankles.
Gaze Upon South Carolina’s Beautiful Fall Foliage!
Forested hills, mountains, parks, and orchards grace the Palmetto State with color-changing foliage when fall arrives.
Whether you’re seeing it from a distance or up close, the South Carolina fall foliage is a beautiful sight to behold. Don’t wait to catch a glimpse of the fall colors before winter brings them to the ground!