Ashmore Heritage Preserve
Greenville Co, SC
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The Ashmore Heritage Preserve is a 1,125 acre area located in Greenville County, South Carolina, several miles southeast of Caesar's Head State Park. This area includes the newly formed Mountain Bridge Passage Trail, whose southern terminus begins on highway 11, and which traverses this Preserve, and connects with the trail along Oil Camp Creek. For more information, see this page by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
There are several options for hiking in this area: There is a loop trail that goes around Wattacoo Lake, a trail that connects to the abovementioned Oil Camp Creek area, and the 3 mile loop that is described on this page, which begins and ends on Persimmon Ridge Road.
Elevation Profile of the trail
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GPX data for download: Ashmore Heritage Preserve Trail.
The parking area for this hike is located off Persimmon Ridge Road, which turns north off Hwy 11/276 in Greenville County, SC. The turn for Persimmon Ridge is just west of the turn for Camp Spearhead.
Once you turn onto Persimmon Ridge Road, the parking area is approximately 0.8 mile from Hwy 11/276; a small area on the right, with room for several cars.
The hiking trail begins a short distance further up Persimmon Ridge Road. A sign board is present here, discussing the various plants and animals present in this area.
Ashmore Heritage Preserve Trail
The trail begins along a wide jeep road through open forest, crossing a small stream in a very short distance. Once across the stream, the wide forest road you are following bears to the right, with a narrower, single track hiking trail bearing to the left. Going right will take you along the Wattacoo Lake Loop. Bearing left will take you along the Mountain Bridge Passage Trail.
Once you bear to the left, following the narrower, hiking trail, you begin following the West Fork of the Wattacoo Creek upstream, and are treated to several cascades, waterfalls, and smaller tributaries along the way.
Cascade along the Trail (above)
Two Waterfalls seen along the Trail (below)
The trail climbs gently, but steadily along the first 1 1/2 miles, with wide open views through the forest throughout its length.
There are lots of wildflowers along the trail; in late March I saw many, many Dwarf Crested Irises, as well as bloodroot, and quite a few other wildflowers whose names I don't know.
At the 1.5 mile point, the trail forks; bearing right will take you on to the north, up and over Campbell Mountain Ridge, and down to Oil Creek Camp. Continuing straight, will bring you to Persimmon Ridge Road in about 500 feet or so. At this point, you can turn left on Persimmon Ridge Road and return to the parking area in 1.4 miles, or, if you prefer trail walking, reverse your route, returning the way you came.
More photos in my flickr set.