Turkey and Wine Creek Trail

Turkey Creek
Last Tuesday I met up with my paddling buddy Brian O. to do some hiking. I’m getting in shape to do some backpacking in the Smokies next month. So we settled on a twelve mile, one-way stretch along the Turkey Creek in western SC. I paddled there last year, and Brian has paddled it many times. This hike, however would take us by a stretch he hadn’t done yet.

We began at the end of the trail on SC 283 west of Edgefield and shuttled one car to the trail head on Forest Service Road 617A. The air was cool but the sun promised to warm things up under the clear skies. Unlike a paddling trip we were underway in no time. The trail starts along the Stevens Creek, but the foliage blocked views of the water for long stretches of the entire trail.

Dimpled Trout Lily
Wildflowers were peeking through the groundcover throughout the trail. One distinctive flower perched only a few inches above the ground, the yellow spidery blooms dangling straight down. These “dimpled trout lilies” (Erythronium umbilicatum) were found everywhere on our hike, from up on the bluffs to near the creeks. I took photos of several of the wildflowers, and we were also able to ID the green and gold (Chrysogonum virginianum), rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides), and spring beauty (Claytonia virginica). The SC Wildflower Guide was helpful for our IDs.

We passed the confluence of the Turkey and Stevens creeks. It was interesting to see it from above the water. From there we turned northeast and followed the Turkey Creek. After a while we came out upon a service road and it was unclear which way to go. A white pickup pulled up at the same time. The driver, an avid geocacher with three GPS units wasn’t able to help us. So we tried to follow the creek and got nowhere. Eventually we decided to hike up the service road a bit and found the continuation of the trail. It would’ve been helpful for this to have been indicated on the sctrails.net map.

Rue Anemone
Some more walking brought us to the Key Bridge. A wooden bridge is going up beside it, presumably for a new trail connection, though the Key Bridge would probably have done the job. The bridge put us a little past halfway on the journey, so we began to look for a lunch stop and paused on a small bridge to eat.

After the break it was back to walking and more walking. Views of the creek became more sparse as we walked through a dense lowland and then ascended a bluff well off the water. On the bluff it looked as if a fierce storm had downed dozens of trees, but as all the dead trees were pines, this was apparently the work of the Southern Pine Beetle. It was unclear how many trees had been killed by the beetle and how many had been cut down to prevent the spread, but the destruction was impressive.

Eventually we came down off the bluff and broke off of Turkey Creek to follow the smaller Wine Creek, but it wasn’t readily apparent where this was as we crossed several small tributaries. After a short distance on Wine Creek, we broke off and ended up at the trail head on highway 283, ready for a well-deserved rest.

I used GPS Visualizer to make a Google Map. Here is the GPX data…plot it however you like!

More trail info: