Foothills Trail, SC / Fall Foliage

The wild and beautiful Foothills Trail is a little known gem of a trail tucked up in the northwest corner of South Carolina. Despite its lack of notoriety, the October 2010 issue of Backpacker Magazine listed the Foothills Trail as one of the ten best long trails in the country (50+ miles). This designation puts the Foothills Trail in the company of the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and other better known trails.

Furthermore, National Geographic named the Jocassee Gorges one of “50 of the World’s Last Great Places”. The route we’re planning goes through the heart of the Jocassee Gorges area. Here is a link to the article

This is Fall Foliage season in SC. Why not come with us to enjoy the wild and beautiful landscape of the Foothills Trail? At the same time, you'll lose some weight or more accurately improve your body composition in the process.


The Foothills Trail Fitpacking Trip will be from October 19-27, 2013. Here is the proposed itinerary.

Your hike will cover a 50 mile segment of the Foothills Trail, starting from 411' tall Whitewater Falls. We will traverse several major rivers, summit Sassafras Mountain (the highest point in South Carolina @ 3554') and finish at spectacular Table Rock, which at 3300' offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. In the middle section, you can wet a hook (or yourself) in the (possibly) cold waters of Lake Jocassee.


The Foothills trail is well marked and well maintained by a large group of volunteers. Water is abundant from the many headwaters that feed into the four major river systems the trail traverses. Because of these niceties, as well as fewer and more gradual elevation changes and solid footing, this trip is rated moderately difficult.


Weather is always an important consideration when backpacking. Fortunately, the end of October on the Foothills Trail usually finds temperatures ranging between 40F to 72F with low humidity. Please come prepared for the possibility of freezing temperatures at night and rain. Here is the historical October weather

Trip Leaders

Bruce Cannon, lives in Columbia, SC and is a Wilderness Medicine certified Wilderness First Responder and a Leave No Trace Master Educator. He is a long-time Scoutmaster and maintains a section of the 76 mile-long Foothills Trail in South and North Carolina.

2nd Guide to be one of:

Jeff Wagner lives in Roswell, GA and thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 2008 (Trail Name: Jukebox). He guided the 2010 Shenandoah National Park, the 2011 100 Mile Wilderness and the 2011 & 2012 AT Primer Fitpacking trips.

Steve Silberberg, lives in Hull, MA and has many years of backpacking experience over a variety of terrains and guides most Fitpacking trips. He is a SOLO certified Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer, and Certified Food Handler.

Equipment List

Here is a list of equipment we suggest you bring. The list is extensive and can seem daunting, but please don't let this deter you from the trip. You can rent top notch quality gear for reasonable prices from Traverse Outfitters, Lower Gear or Outdoors Geek. It may also be possible for us to provide some gear for you at a nominal fee if you let us know far ahead of the trip. Unfortunately, we're not in the gear business so the selection of our available inventory is unpredictable. Please feel free to discuss any gear with us before the trip.


We don't believe in austere eating regimens. Backpacking is a rigorous, rewarding activity. You must feed your body in order for it perform. Your body will dictate that you eat often, so it's important to have fuel to feed it. Please check out the sample menus. This list is not comprehensive and may be altered or augmented. If you want to bring personal food, say a 5 pound chocolate cake, go for it. You'll not only hate carrying it over 50 miles through the Foothills, your body will reject the empty calories and prefer nutritious food.


$1050 per person. This includes 2 nights in a hotel near the airport, ground transportation to/from the trail, all meals eaten on the trail, permits, fees and 2 awesome guides.

Any restaurant meals eaten off the trail are your responsibility. This generally means 2 dinners as our hotel may provide breakfast or any parking charges for leaving your car at the hotel all week./p>