Sulphur Springs Trail @ Paris Mountain State Park
Well. I am out of practice y'all. Or better put, out of shape. This trail - Sulphur Springs - kicked my tail FOR REAL. Well, only the never-ending uphill part. Not to scare you away or anything...I feel like I might be in the minority here. A little history for fun...I grew up going to Paris Mountain. Many Saturdays were spent having a picnic and hiking around the lake. We always parked our blue Dodge Caravan right next to Lake Placid, which is one of the first parking lots when you enter the park. (of course we were wearing Umbros and scrunchies) As far as I was concerned, that was the extent of Paris Mountain. Up until like, this past weekend. You are thinking WHAT?!?! HOW THE HELL DID YOU NOT KNOW ABOUT THE OTHER 80% OF THE PARK?!?! Well I'll be darned. I had no idea. There's an awesome playground a little ways further. Then long, windy roads to MORE picnic shelters, MORE trails, and yes, MORE LAKES! I am still in shock. All of this, right here in Greenville, practically in our backyard.
I have so many suggestions friends. Of course, I went on a whim and did no research (typical). I am sure you will be more responsible. On a positive note, I learned a lot. So here ya go:
SULPHUR SPRINGS TRAIL: 3.8 MILE LOOP | STRENUOUS TRAIL (9 on a scale of 10 per SC State Parks)
We got lost and did a few circles before figuring out where the heck we were supposed to go. That might have to do with the fact that I am directionally challenged, but either way, there are parts of the trail that split off and are not clearly labeled. Do yourself a favor and just print the map out and take it with you.
Know that this trail is indeed a strenuous hike that at times feels like it will never end. Take water. In fact, SC State Parks rated it a 9 out of 10 with 10 being the most strenuous. Maybe I shoulda checked that before hand. Or worked out...
There are beautiful views, you just can't see them. I kid you not - I speak the truth. At least not in the summer, not on this trail. Look closely below and you can see a hint of a view. A bit disappointing after almost dying on the way up people.
The hike is a 3.8 mile loop. We parked at Picnic Area #6 and entered where the main signs are (to the right). This takes you STRAIGHT UP. I kind of prefer hiking up rather than down a mountain, I guess I am just outta shape. Ugh....gotta work on that. What I am trying to say is that technically you could go the other way around the loop and go up a slow winding mountain and then down a bunch of stairs (rock stairs). There are options.
It's a pretty trail, it really is. We had to stop often so I could slow my heart rate down as I feared I would keel over at any moment, so we got to take in the beauty of the forest (through the sweat dripping off our faces).
Overall, the park is gorgeous. There are so many trail options at Paris Mountain, from easy to strenuous. It's right up the road. There's not only hiking, but you can bike, picnic, play on the playground, camp, swim...it's always an adventure. Especially once you discover all that the park has to offer (drive past the first couple of parking lots!!!!)
What's your experience at Paris Mountain? What are your favorite trails?
Until next Tuesday, happy trails!