Hike around Wattacoo Lake
Ashmore Heritage Preserve
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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 3 mile loop that begins and ends on Persimmon Ridge Road and follows the West Fork of Wattacoo Creek upstream, the 4.4 mile Mountain Bridge Passage Trail that connects to the abovementioned Oil Camp Creek area, and the 1.6 mile loop that is described on this page, which goes around Wattacoo Lake. Each of these trails interesects the others; please see this map which has all 3 trails shown.
Elevation Profile of the trail
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Note that on the map below, the lake is not identified. If you change the underlying map from Google Terrain to Google Aerial, you'll be able to see the lake in the upper right hand portion of this loop.
GPX data for download (includes both *.gpx format, as well as *.gdb format for Garmin users): Trail around Wattacoo Lake.
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 the old Civitan Camp, and 1.8 miles east of the intersection of US276 and Highway 11 that is near Wildcat Falls.
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 right, you will continue to follow the wide forest road. The roadbed has a layer of a large, heavy rock base and makes walking somewhat difficult.
About 600 feet from the stream crossing, you'll note a wide, overgrown trail that heads steeply uphill to your left. This trail climbs the ridge to reach and follow the ridgeline of Green Mountain. To get to Wattacoo Lake, continue straight on the trail/road you are following. It will begin a steady descent, and in about 0.3 mile, you will see the first glimpse of Wattacoo Lake on your right.
Continue to follow the trail, which will remain right along the lake's edge until you reach the south side of the lake. Along the way, you get great views of the lake, as well as the southern face of Green Mountain:
Once you've reached the south side of the lake, the trail will leave the lake's perimeter, and continue southwest, bringing you back to Persimmon Ridge Road. You cross Wattacoo Creek on a small brige prior to reaching the road.