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Time Outside: Big Rock Mountain Trail

Corey Glenn, Contributor

The summit of the mountain is tree-covered, but on a clear day you can see both Georgia and North Carolina.

Famous among local climbers for its — wouldn’t you know — big rocks, Big Rock Mountain makes an excellent hiking destination. Lying within the Nine Times Forest, about 40 minutes from campus, the one-mile trail to the top makes for the perfect afternoon hike.

After taking the green-blazed Big Rock Summit Trail from the Cedar Rock Trailhead, passing under some high voltage power lines (listen for the hum), conquering a brutal quarter mile, 300-foot climb and cruising down an old logging road, one comes to the eponymous big rocks. 

Follow the green blazes as you wind your way through the field of massive gneiss and granite boulders to the summit. Be sure to step out on the rocks and ledges, and bask in the year-round panoramic views of the rolling Piedmont to the south and the ever-spectacular Jocassee Gorges to the north.

The summit of the mountain is tree-covered, but on a clear day you can see Georgia, North Carolina, several major mountains and the High Rises from the lower vistas.

The trip to the summit and back takes about an hour, and the easiest way down is back the way you came. But there are plenty more wonderful trails in the area to explore if you’ve got the time and inclination.

Finally, an important note of caution: if hiking this trail or any other in the Nine Times Forest from October through January, be sure to show your Tiger spirit and wear plenty of Clemson orange, as this is a seasonal hunting area.

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