This hike. That lake. Those views! Keowee Toxaway State Park is one of my favorite places to escape to. With it only being 35 miles outside of Greenville, it’s an easy trip. We have spent many weekends here exploring the trails, taking in the views, and swimming in the lake. There is also fishing, camping and a even a cabin you can rent.
Keowee Toxaway State Park: Natural Bridge Nature Trail and Raven Rock Trail
Natural Bridge Nature Trail: 1.3 mile loop
Raven Rock Trail: 4.4 mile loop
TIP: To get to the view that makes this hike so very worth it, you gotta get on the Raven Rock Trail. So all in all you are looking at about 5.7 miles (full loop). I have labeled this on my map below with notes that some may find helpful. You can also find the original here.
Shortly after you start the hike, which is on the blue Natural Bridge Trail, you will encounter a fork in the trail, where you must make the decision to go right, or go left. This is important y’all. From my experience (which means the dumb choices I’ve made) I feel as though I can help you. I suggest going left all the way. It will take you down a fairly steep descent with lots of stairs. If you come back this way you are climbing for quite awhile…which you may not want to do at the end of the hike. Also, it’s really the prettier of the two options. By going left at the start of the hike you will end up by Poe Creek, which features the natural bridge and a waterfall.
After this you continue on the Natural Bridge Nature Trail until it connects with the Raven Rock Trail. I personally don’t have an opinion about going left or right on this loop, either way it takes you to stunning views and great swimming spots. The water is clear and the air is fresh!
There is primitive camping along the way but I am terrified of hiking in with kids (carrying a sh*& ton of stuff!) and not having a real bathroom nearby. However, if that’s your thing this is an awesome site! And the leaves were just now starting to change – it would be glorious to camp here in the next couple of weeks with all of the colors and cooler temps!
After swimming and taking in incredible views, it’s time to head back. You can make it one whole loop or go back the way you came. Again, it depends on what kind of workout you want. Last time we hiked up all the stairs (remember how I said to go left at the beginning? we went right) and it was exhausting. But it did feel great after it was all over!
Lake Keowee is stunning. It feels like you are far away from real life when you sit up on that rock at the top, breathless and awe-inspired. I would do this hike over and over again just for that moment of beauty and wonder.
Until next Tuesday…happy trails!