U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Sumter National Forest

South Carolina

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Forest Information

The Sumter National Forest, located in the northwestern part of South Carolina, is comprised of 360,115 acres. There are twenty-two developed campgrounds of which six met the selection criteria.

The Croatan is one of four National Forests in North Carolina and the only true coastal forest east of the Mississippi. A combination of pocosins, Longleaf and Loblolly pine, bottomland and upland hardwood ecosystems give this little Forest a diversity in appearance, a number of Crotan unique recreational opportunities, and great camping locations.

Located at the southern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountain range and in the Piedmont (foothills) of South Carolina, the Sumter National Forest offers the outdoor enthusiast rugged mountain and rolling Piedmont terrain along with the magnificent Chattooga Wild and Scenic River. There is a diversity of activities found year round in the Forest making it great for a family camping vacation. However, Spring and Fall, when the temperatures are cooler and the wildflowers, shrubs and trees are most colorful, are probably the best times to visit the Sumter National Forest. And hiking is a very popular and effective to discover all Sumter National Forest has to offer.

Hiking trails range from the challenging Andrew Pickens District Hiking trails network (comprising a total of 47 miles) to comfortable Parsons Mountain Lake trail. There are also trails for the horse, motorcycle, and canoe within the Sumter National Forest. (Contact the Forest's Supervisor's Office for information and maps.) The Forest also permits mountain bikes on seven different trails.

Camping locations in the Sumter National Forest range from "roadside" or dispersed camping (not included in this campground review) to the nicely developed campground of Parsons Mountain Lake found next to Parson's Mountain Lake. Convenient to historic Abbeville, Parsons Mountain Lake features terraced sites, hot showers and flush toilets. Somewhere between these two levels of camping is Brick House campground. Basically, this campground, circular in shape, is very rustic offering tables, grilles, drinking water, and shade. Popular with hunters in the fall, Brick House appears to also be well-suited for Scout groups or family reunions.

Perhaps the most diverse campground in the Sumter National Forest is Whetstone Horse Camp. Located just a couple of miles from the Chattooga River, Whetstone attracts not only horse-lovers but whitewater enthusiasts, hikers, and just about anyone looking for quiet and solitude. While this campground is designed for horse-people with nice long parking aprons and spacious sites, it is a delightful place for recreational vehicles too.

Visitors to the Sumter National Forest soon learn it is a forest of diverse activities and recreational opportunities. Whether visiting the rugged mountains in the western section of the Forest or rolling Piedmont hillsides, this is a forest that requires more than one visit or weekend stay. Visitors soon discover one weekend is not enough to fully explore the Sumter National Forest.

SUPERVISOR ADDRESS 4931 Broad River Rd. Columbia, South Carolina 29210-4021 803-561-4000 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Andrew Pickens 112 Andrew Pickens Circle Mountain Rest, South Carolina 29664 864-638-9568 Enoree 20 Work Center Rd. Whitmire, South Carolina 29178 803-276-4810 Long Cane 810 Buncombe St. Edgefield, South Carolina 29824-1021 803-637-5396

Fred and Suzi Dow