9 Must-Visit Off-Road Jeep Trails in South Carolina

The Carolina expanse is home to many prime off-roading spots. We talked at length about Uwharrie, Brown Mountain, and the Black Swamp in another article, but what does Southern Carolina have to offer for jeep fans?

While not traditionally known for its 4×4 tracks, the SC area has its fair share of forests, mountains, and crossings. While the state does not develop many dedicated OHV trails, there is an abundance of backroad networks and forest service roads within the state that see more than their fair share of footfall.

*WARNING: Before you go out on any trails, please read through my list of essentials here. I could save your life!

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in and see what awaits the average off-roading enthusiast in the area.

The 9 Best Off-Road Jeep Trails in South Carolina

  1. Carolina Adventure World
  2. Sumter National Forest
  3. Battery Park OFV
  4. Gulches Off-road Vehicle Park
  5. Horse Pasture Road
  6. Parsons Mountain OHV Trail
  7. Little Longnose Road
  8. Shooting Tree Ridge Road
  9. Oconee State Park

If you’re looking for a challenging and scenic off-road adventure, you’ll want to check out these four Jeep trails in South Carolina. Each one offers its own unique set of challenges and rewards.

Dirty Jeep after running an off-road trail in SC Carolina Adventure World

If you’re looking for a trail ride, no expenses spared, then look no further than Winnsboro, SC. Located just a short 30-mile drive north of Columbia, the adventure park offers all the amenities that you could want, though this does come at a price. With an annual pass that runs nearly a whopping 500 dollars for adults, what does CAW bring to the table to earn that price tag?

The answer is a varied mix of trails that lead riders through forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls, and more, winding back to deliver primitive and RV campsites, baths, hikes, climbs, and more. There’s a ton of activities to engage in at CAW, and while some of the drier patches do kick up quite a bit of dust, park authorities assure us the trail is as safe as can be.

If you feel like enjoying a picnic while seeing some sights, you can drive up to Great Falls and just have a nice meal while you take in the scenery. And if afterward, you feel like it’s time to get into your Jeep Wrangler and stretch its legs a little, you could have that too on the point-to-point trail. And if you ever find yourself stranded, rescue services are also available 24/7, though they aren’t included in the ticket price.

On the back of some great weather the year-round, the off-chance of rain and subsequent fun-in-the-mud, and a friendly, helpful, and well-informed staff that’s always just an arm’s reach away, it’s safe to say CAW might just be worth the trip.

Jeep trail at the Sumter National ForestSumter National Forest

Sumter National Forest is home to three Rangers districts in the Andrew Pickens, the Enoree, and Long Cane. While most of the marked and maintained trails and trail systems in the area (the Enoree Trail, Cedar Springs, and Parsons Mountain) are geared exclusively towards ATVs and motorbikes, this should hardly deter Jeepers in the area. The death of the official designated Jeep trails only means that there are plenty of undiscovered gems in the area, with the winding forest service roads going through waterlogged swamps, forests, some steep climbs, and some treacherous trenches.

To enter the national forest, you can make your way through Greenwood or Abbeville, and the park offers a long list of activities featuring picnics, primitive and RV camping grounds, hunting areas, fishing, and more. There are plenty of places where riders can safely park and continue on foot or for a hike, and there are designated recreational areas featuring showers and cabins. Sumter is nearly 370,000 acres across three states featuring interconnected roads, meaning adventurers will hardly ever find themselves having to take the same stretch on their way back.

All-in-all, while the Sumter Trails are officially touted as just “ATV and mountain bike trails”, the surrounding service and backroads provide Jeep-bound travelers with plenty of room to explore the Carolina wilderness. We’d recommend visiting the ranger’s office to get your bearings as well as a guided map of the area before you dig in for your trip. Sumter is definitely a great place to start an expedition into the region, complete with scenic waterfalls, untouched terrain, and historical sites peppered across a geographically diverse landscape.

Battery Park OFV

Getting to actual full-sized off-road vehicle parks, Battery Park is first up. Just a short drive away from Carolina Adventure World, entry into the park may be obtained through Myrtle Beach. The park itself features a short, five-mile, two-way course that is shared with ATVs and bikes. The park runs through dirt, shrubs, and mostly forest, with the narrow paths surrounded by dense vegetation on either side.

The trails are rated for all levels of experience. Less inclined riders may choose to take harder clay roads instead of muddier, more difficult routes intended for more seasoned veterans of the trail. Most intentional obstacles are accompanied by bypasses, and the trail itself is relatively well-marked and maintained. The designated camping areas feature showers, cabins, and RV parking, and are placed in such a way that you’re never far from the action, or far from the trail.

Muddy off-road trail in the South Carolina GulchesGulches Off-road Vehicle Park

Gulches ORV is the Jeep owner’s dream come to life. With it sporting a catalog of over 45 trails across 80 acres, all open to full-sized vehicles, you can easily see why. Gulches were designed to accommodate vehicles of all sizes looking to test out their tuning, and it shows.

Trails are rated from the easiest of the easy, to “Should only be attempted by professionals under any circumstances”. Every new visitor starts their day by becoming accustomed to the color-coding system used to mark trails for difficulty and noteworthy obstacles, starting at red signs for beginner trails and ending at black signs for the most difficult. All aside from five of the trails are designated one-way to minimize safety risks, and the vast majority of the trails lie between the beginner-to-moderately difficult spectrum.

If you were hoping to try something more challenging, even the worst of Gulches’ near-vertical climbs feature outlets into easier trails, ensuring your Wrangler never gets stuck up a creek with nowhere to go. Rescue services are also available around the clock.

Once you’re done riding for the day you can choose one of the thirteen campgrounds available to set up camp. Camps offer RV sites and picnic spots, as well as a few fishing sports along the Reedy River. Cabins offer some options to people looking for a proper roof over their heads as well. Drive on down to Laurens County and plan your own adventure through the wide and varied Gulches trails.

Horse Pasture Road

One of the best off-road Jeep trails in South Carolina is Horse Pasture Road. This trail offers incredible views of the Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area and Lake Jocassee. It has multiple access points to the 77-mile long Foothills Hiking Trail, so hikers should be cautious.

Parsons Mountain OHV Trail

This 16.6-kilometer loop trail is located near Abbeville, SC about 30 miles from Greenville. I would rate it as a moderate Jeep trail, that is suitable for all skill levels. The overall forest setting is great and there are a number of obstacles to enjoy.

Little Longnose Road

One of the most scenic off-road trails in South Carolina is Little Longnose Road in Clemson, SC. The trail sits in the heart of some of the best waterfall hunting in the region and has incredible views along the way. You only need to travel 30 miles from busy Clemson University to enjoy this great trail.

Shooting Tree Ridge Road

If you’re still in the area of Jocassee Gorges, Shooting Tree Ridge Road is another great moderate Jeep trail that will give you an unbelievable view of the surrounding landscape. This curvy road brushes by several streams and offers several places to pull off the trail. You can even stop by and enjoy other activities such as fishing, hunting, and camping.

Oconee State Park

Oconee State Park is located in Seneca, SC, and offers several moderate Jeep trails. If you’re looking for an off-road adventure to enjoy with family or friends then head on over to this park. It has a number of great trails to choose from and plenty of areas for picnics or camping.

Final Thoughts

So that’s about it for this list. We hope you found the information provided helpful, and more importantly, that you know where to start your adventure in South Carolina. If you think it’ll take even more track to satisfy your appetite, consider taking a look at our article on trails in the North Carolina region, just a short hop across the border. Good luck going further than the roads will take you!

Mark Anders

I love my Jeep and will share my years of knowledge with you here! Stay with me and read on!

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