Last March I had the opportunity to thru hike the 76.2 mile Foothills Trail with my good friend Jeremy Puskas of Bonefine Gear. Its northern terminus is in Oconee State Park, SC and the southern terminus is located in Table Rock State Park, SC. It was well worth the 3.75 hour drive from East Tennessee for this hike. I had heard so much about this trail for quite some time now and it proved to live up to the hype.
We began our journey at the trailhead in Oconee State Park. I was so glad my friend Jeremy guided me on this hike. Even though the trail was easy to navigate. It was nice going with some one who knew the trail well. Matter of fact, Jeremy collected the data for the Pocket Profiles that AntiGravity Gear makes and sells. Jeremy has thru hiked the Foothills Trail 4 times and has section hiked it many more. Also just being able to spend some trail time with Jeremy was awesome. One of Jeremy’s friends named Andy hiked with us the first day. It was his first big hiking trip. We did 24 miles that day which was really good for his first backpacking trip, but he ended up needing to go home that night. So Jeremy and I camped near Sloan Bridge. It was the location that Andy was picked up from.
The next day we got a good early start. We were out to cover as much ground as we could. When we got to the Toxaway River Bridge, we had a chance to jump in the river and get clean. I have to admit that it was the first time I ever skinny dipped. And just for the record, it didn’t live up to the hype. I didn’t see as any different than swimming with trunks on. But at least I was clean and I didn’t stink anymore.
We met our friend Craig Smith at mile marker 48.7 which is the trailhead to the Frozen Creek Access. After taking a dinner break we loaded up and hiked to mile marker 50.9 in the dark. We made camp near the logging road and had a couple of beers that Craig had hiked in for us. They were so good after a long day of hiking.
The next morning we loaded up and head out to finish our journey. It was a very very long day. It seamed that I couldn’t get enough calories that day. Even though I brought around 2400 calories of food per day on this trip. I usually just carry 2000 calories per day. But Jeremy and Craig had extra food that fed my beast like hunger.
As we hiked that last day, we split up a little and having each other a little room to hike their own speed. But after yet another long day. I came put of the woods at Table Rock State Park along with Jeremy. Craig was still a few miles behind us so we went and got his truck and came back to pick him up. Craig was able to finish the last piece he was missing. Which gave him a total of 3.5 days on the Foothills Trail. Jeremy and #mybeardedself finished it in 3 days.
We had warm and sunny weather for most of our hike. And in my own opinion it was too warm. I much prefer to hike in cooler weather. That’s why I do most of my hiking in winter. But the sun on this trip seemed to just zap the energy right out of me. I had no problem staying hydrated. I was drinking plenty of water and was watching to how much I was sweating. It also seemed that I couldn’t get enough calories. I ate all of my food (which was 2400 calories per day) and some of Jeremy’s and Craig’s food as well. That’s the first time I had ever encountered not being able to get enough calories. So that’s something I’ve got to look at and learn why and how to deal with that in the future. I believe it had something to do with the heat, because in the Smokies I ate less than 2000 per day and didn’t have any issues.
But all in all it was an incredible hike. I absolutely love this trail and I will definitely thru hike it again, but next time I’ll bring my tenkara rod and do it in 4 days instead of 3.
So you’re planning to hike the Foothills Trail, I would recommend doing it in 4 To 5 days. That really allows you to check out the cool waterfalls along the trail and all of the cliff tops. I give the Foothills Trail ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.