Carrick Creek Falls in Table Rock State Park South Carolina

Where is Table Rock State Park

Located at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Table Rock State Park resides entirely in South Carolina. The park’s geography includes Pinnacle Mountain. The mountain is the tallest point in the state of South Carolina. Table Rock State Park also contains a nature center, a campground, several hiking trails, and creeks, cascades, and waterfalls. The closest city to Table Rock State Park is Pickens, South Carolina. The state park is located 127 miles and a two-and-a-half-hour drive west of Charlotte, North Carolina, 59 miles and a one-hour drive south of Asheville, North Carolina, and 26 miles and a forty-minute drive northwest of Greenville, South Carolina. Table Rock US State Park is also located near several other recreation areas. These areas include Gorges State Park, the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, and DuPont State Recreational Forest.

How Large is Table Rock State Park

Table Rock State Park covers over 3,000 acres. The park's geography mainly consists of rolling hills, rocky outcroppings, mountains, and riparian streams and creeks. There are three distinct hiking trails in the park. Aside from the Carrick Creek Nature Trail, the Table Rock Summit Trail, and the Pinnacle Mountain Trail, Table Rock State Park also supplies the eastern trailhead for the 80-mile Foothills Trail. Pinnacle Mountain, found in the park, resides at an elevation of 3,425 feet and is the tallest mountain in South Carolina. The park's two lakes accommodate seasonal swimming and fishing. However, no gas-powered boats are allowed in the park. Lake Oolenoy permits the use of kayak, canoes, and trolling motors. Visitors can also rent fishing boats, kayaks, and canoes on Lake Pinnacle.

Table Rock State Park Weather

The weather at Table Rock State Park varies throughout the year. In summer, temperatures in the park average between 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter temperatures in the park average between 25- and 55-degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest days of the year arrive at the park in July and August. The coldest days appear in Table Rock State Park in January and February. On average, Table Rock State Park sees about 100 days of rain per year. The total accumulation of rainfall throughout the year in the park is about 65 inches. Table Rock State Park rarely experiences any snowfall. The average amount of sunlight present in the park during the summer months is about 14 and a half hours.

Sunrise Above Pinnacle Lake in Table Rock State Park South Carolina

When did Table Rock Become a State Park

Table Rock State Park first became a state park in 1935. Before the Hopewell Treaty was drafted and signed in 1785, the land that encompasses Table Rock State Park was a part of the Lower Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee called the area the “Great Blue Hills of God.” The name Table Rock also stems from Cherokee influence. According to tribal legend, the flat-topped mountain within the park was where the Great Spirit ate his meals. After the Hopewell Treaty, Europeans descended upon the region. The original 2,800 acres that comprised Table Rock State Park was donated to the state of South Carolina by Pickens County and the city of Greenville. 

Things to do in Table Rock State Park

Visitors arriving at Table Rock State Park will find a variety of outdoor recreational activities to enjoy during their trip. Our State Park Visitors Guide outlines the most popular adventures and activities found within the park below: 

Explore the Nature Center

The nature center at Table Rock State Park is one of the best place’s visitors can start their park adventure. Inside of the nature center there are several interactive displays and educational exhibits. These exhibits educate visitors on information regarding the park’s wildlife, ecology, geology, history, and relation to Native American Culture. The nature center is also the sight of several interpretive programs hosted by the park. These programs discuss a variety of topics and are offered on a rotating schedule. More information on these programs can be sought at from the park’s website or from park employees.

Hike the Carrick Creek Nature Trail

After visiting the nature center, visitors to Table Rock State Park should take a hike on the Carrick Creek Nature Trail. This trail grants visitors the opportunity to take in views of the park’s geography, vegetation, and several cascades and waterfalls. The trail is also a popular sight for several species of wildflowers when they are in bloom.

Hike the Table Rock Summit Trail

The hike to the namesake of Table Rock State Park is moderately strenuous and climbs about 2,000 feet over the course of 3.5 miles. The trail also includes sight of Civilian Conservation Corps work as well as a connection to the Pinnacle Mountain trailhead at the 2.5-mile mark. The end of the trail grants visitors’ views of the Table Rock Reservoir and of Caesars Head. The latter is the namesake mountain of Caesars Head State Park.

Take a Refreshing dip in Lake Pinnacle

Nothing is more refreshing than taking a dip into Lake Pinnacle after a long day of hiking the Table Rock Summit Trail. The lake offers seasonal swimming to visitors who arrive at Table Rock State Park during the summer months.

Rent a Kayak or Canoe

Individuals wishing to kayak or canoe on Lake Pinnacle are able to rent watercraft from the Lake Pinnacle Boathouse during the summer season. Visitors can also rent boats all year round from the park’s visitor center. The pricing for kayak and canoe rentals is five dollars per half hour.

Go Fishing on Lake Oolenoy

Anglers visiting Table Rock State Park will want to pack all of their freshwater fishing equipment along with them to the park. Lake Oolenoy covers an area of 67 acres and is teeming with largemouth bass, bream, and catfish. A South Carolina state fishing license is required to fish anywhere within the park. Visitors should also keep in mind that all South Carolina fishing regulations are in effect in the park.

Wildlife Viewing in the Park

Table Rock State Park provides a home to a variety of avian and other wildlife species. Common species spotted throughout the park include white-tailed deer, racoons, squirrels, and the gray fox. Other wildlife present in the park includes black bears, bobcats, and peregrine falcons. The park is listed as an important bird area by the Audubon Society.

Camping in Table Rock State Park

The two camping areas inside of Table Rock State Park contain 94 camping sites. Each site is equipped with water and electric hookups. The campgrounds also are supplied with hot showers and bathhouses. Visitors looking to camp in the park can make reservations online through the park’s website and reservation portal.

Beautiful Sunny Day View of Small Pier on Lake Oolenoy in Table Rock State Park South Carolina

When to Visit Table Rock State Park

Table Rock State Park is open year-round. However, the majority of its visitation occurs during the summer season. In summer, warmer temperatures descended upon the park allowing for a variety of activities to be experienced. During spring wildlife in the park is the most active. Fall is a great time to visit Table Rock State Park to experience the colors of the season. Winters in the park are relatively mild and offer visitors a chance to avoid summer crowds.

Must Have Items to Bring to Table Rock State Park

Visitors looking to plan their next trip to Table Rock State Park will want to keep a few items in mind while packing. The following list includes several essential items visitors won't want to forget. 

Water & High Energy Snacks

Water and high energy snacks are two essential items List of Parks advises every visitor should make sure they bring along with them to Table Rock State Park. The average person should pack one to two liters for every hour they plan to spend hiking, fishing, or otherwise recreating.

Fishing Tackle

Anglers visiting Table Rock State Park will want to make a checklist in order to ensure they have packed all of the necessary fishing equipment along with them. Hopeful anglers should also obtain a South Carolina state fishing license from either the state’s online portal or a local outfitter or issuing establishment.

Sturdy Hiking Boots

Every hiking trip requires a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Visitors should look to invest in a lightweight and waterproof pair that will provide additional comfort and protection. It is always a good idea to bring extra hiking socks as well in case it rains, or your feet get wet in the park’s creeks.

Wildlife Field Guides & Binoculars

Visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the woodland wildlife species that call Table Rock State Park home will want to bring along a South Carolina or North America specific field guide. Birders will also want to remember to bring along their binoculars in order to spot species perched up in the tall trees or rocky outcroppings of Table Rock State Park. 

Layers of Clothing

Wearing layers of clothing to Table Rock State Park is the smartest way to combat fluctuating temperatures. These layers can be removed or added at will as your body temperature increases and decreases.

Sunset View of Small Cascade on Carrick Creek Table Rock State Park South Carolina

Where to Stay Near Table Rock State Park

Visitors looking to stay within Table Rock State Park should make a reservation at the park’s lodge or for one of the park’s campsites. These reservations can be made online through the park’s website and reservation portal. Visitors looking to stay in the park in the summer should make reservations months in advance. Individuals hoping to stay in a hotel near the park can first check out options in Pickens or Pumpkinville. However, more options await forty minutes away in Greenville. 

Food Near Table Rock State Park

The closest food to Table Rock State Park is located in nearby Pickens. The city is about a 10-minute drive away from the park and contains a few restaurants and a grocery store visitor can utilize to replenish their stomachs or supplies. Visitors looking for a larger city with a more pronounced culinary scene may want to make the forty-minute drive to Greenville.

Airports Near Table Rock State Park

The closest international airport to Table Rock State Park is located in Greenville. The Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport is 39 miles and a 55-minute drive away from the park. The next closest international airport to Table Rock State Park is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is 120 miles and a two hour and thirty-minute drive northeast of the park.

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