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Time Outside: Treaty Oak Trail and secret beach

Corey Glenn // Asst. News Editor

The view of the mountains and lake from the cliffs near the Treaty Oak.

Experiencing spectacular sunsets is an inherent part of the Clemson experience, and I’ll be tackling one of my favorite places to watch them this week: the Treaty Oak Loop.

This three-quarter mile loop along the prominent bluffs above Lake Hartwell will lead you to the former site of The Treaty Oak, the tree under which the Hopewell Treaties were signed. 

These treaties, signed in 1785 at the Hopewell Plantation of General Andrew Pickens, governed relations between the US and the Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw peoples until the Indian Removal Act of the 1830s.

These days, the site is occupied by several historical markers and a small sapling where the great tree once stood.

If you go just beyond the site, you pop out on top of a 30-foot cliff that offers spectacular views of Lake Hartwell, the Walker Course and the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond. Sunsets from this perch are nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Continuing along the loop back towards the parking area will take you past several sandy “secret beaches,” tucked away from the main area of the lake and bounded by the Clemson Experimental Forest. These make a great spot for a little swimming getaway.

The trailhead can be found along West Cherry Road, about halfway from the 3-way stop to the causeway over Lake Hartwell, just after the Clemson Poultry Center.

Overall it makes a great little date spot, whether you’re hanging your feet off the cliffs or taking a dip.

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Corey Glenn
Corey Glenn, Asst. News Editor
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