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TimeOutside: Let’s go for a drive

As the leaves around Clemson enter their peak color and misty morning fog accompanies cerulean skies, my heart starts to wander, to yearn to see the beauty of the landscape, to dance across our golden and green hills on the two-lane ribbons of asphalt that take us to the places where we belong.

In other words, I want to go for a drive. Here are some of my favorite routes I’ve found over my five years.

SC 28 – Leaving west from Clemson, this highway cruises through Seneca and Walhalla before becoming one of my favorite highways, twisting up and over the Blue Ridge. It then winds across a rolling plateau to a spectacular descent into the Chattooga River gorge. I usually turn around just across the Georgia line, but the highway continues in spectacular fashion to Highlands, North Carolina. 65 miles / two-hour round trip

SC 11 – South Carolina’s most famous highway, the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway, is right in our backyard. Almost every part is spectacular, but my favorite route is to take SC 28 to Walhalla, then cruise SC 11 all the way past Table Rock to SC 8, and come back to Clemson through Pickens and Six Mile. 85 miles / two-hour round trip

SC 107 and 130 – If you’re looking for a deeper foray into the mountains, this loop is for you. After going up SC 28 and crossing the Blue Ridge, take a left onto SC 107 and twist up into the highlands, and a scenic overlook will greet you after dancing along the ridge, ducking in and out of the old roadbed until you turn onto the Oscar Wiginton Highway, which features another spectacular overlook of Lake Jocassee and the foothills. Then, you can turn north on SC 130 to go to yet another overlook as a part of Duke Power’s Bad Creek Project, or you can visit nearby Whitewater Falls. I usually then return to Clemson via SC 130, dancing along the dam. 85 miles / two hours and 15 minutes round trip

Nuclear Plant Loop – My favorite sunset drive takes you west out of Clemson up Old Clemson Highway to SC 130, which dances along the dam with a spectacular view of the mountains over the islands of Lake Keowee. After turning right at the nuclear plant and turning right just after crossing the river, a backroad will take you to SC 133, which will bring you back through the 12-mile gorge. 25 miles / 45 minutes round trip

Terrapin Crossing – A great mountain view can be found by turning north on Robbins Bridge in Norris. Eventually, this turns into Terrapin Crossing, a road with a spectacular overview of the Carolina Blue Ridge. Return to Clemson through Six Mile via SC 133. 30 miles / 50 minutes round trip

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Corey Glenn
Corey Glenn, Asst. News Editor
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