- The northwest portion of the Sumter National Forest serves as a gateway to the mountains of South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. This area is home to the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River, the Chattooga Picnic Area and Fishing Pier, the Foothill Trail, Ellicott Rock Wilderness and the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery. Parsons Mountain, Lick Fork Lake and Woods Ferry are three recreation areas on the Sumter offering scenery, outdoor activities and history.
The Chattooga Wild and Scenic River begins in mountainous North Carolina high on the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains--the start of a 50-mile journey that ends at Lake Tugaloo between South Carolina and Georgia. The river is one of the few remaining free-flowing streams in the Southeast. The setting is primitive; dense forests and undeveloped shorelines characterize the primitive nature of the area. The Chattooga Offers some of the best whitewater boating around. The river is also known for its excellent trout fishing opportunities. One can also hike along the river on the Chattooga Trail. Horseback riding is allowed on the nearby Rocky Gap/Willis Knob Horse Trail.
Ellicott Rock Wilderness covers 9,012 acres. This wilderness spreads across the corners of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. It also straddles the 15,432-acre Chattooga Wild and Scenic River Corridor. The steep terrain of the Ellicott Rock Wilderness offers numerous mountains and waterfalls to explore.
Recreation - Visitors to the Sumter National Forest find many recreational opportunities. Boating, fishing, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, motorcycle riding, wildlife viewing, camping and picnicking are a few of the most popular activities. Developed campgrounds and dispersed or primitive camping is available. Canoeing is popular on the Enoree and Tyger Rivers and Turkey and Stevens Creek. Recreational fishing is very popular, with rivers, streams and lakes located throughout the forests.
Hikers may enjoy slow, leisurely hikes, day trips, or extended overnight hikes, depending on the experience you seek. Some trails are dedicated to hiking, a few have interpretive signs, and some are available for horseback riders or hikers. Winter-weather hiking can be quite enjoyable in South Carolina but always go prepared for freezing weather along ridge top trails during winter months.
Climate - Climate on the Sumter National Forest varies with elevation and location. The area generally has a temperate climate, with cool winters and warm, humid summers. Snow and freezing temperatures are possible in the winter at the higher elevations. Thunderstorms are possible throughout the year but most common in the spring and summer. Tropical storms occasionally strike the coast during the hurricane season.
The Sumter National Forest is located in three areas of South Carolina. The Andrew Pickens Ranger District lies in the mountains west of Walhalla, in the northwest corner of the state. The other two districts form part of the Piedmont. The Enoree Ranger District is located along the Georgia border, to the west of Greenwood and Edgefield. Enoree Ranger District surrounds the town of Whitmire, between the towns of Union and Newberry. The National Forests of South Carolina are Headquartered in the South Carolina capital city of Columbia.