Parson's Mountain Recreation Area just south of Abbeville is home to an 800-foot summit and a moderately difficult four-mile loop trail. You don't have to climb the mountain to enjoy the mostly clay-surfaced Parson's Lake Trail. The forest around this recreation area includes woods overflowing with flowering flora such as sparkleberry, redbud, wild ginger, and dogwood. You can see many of these by merely following the loop around Parson's Mountain Lake. If you're up for a tougher hike, a spur branches off at the westernmost portion of trail and you will climb past Civil War-era gold mines to the summit of Parson's Mountain. The mountain is neither terribly high nor dramatic, but it offers compelling views of the surrounding countryside. Geologists call this type of hill a "monadnock," which is a technical term for a mound of hard rock left when all the surrounding land erodes away. Restrooms and drinking water are available at the campground, and a portable toilet is near the fire tower at the summit. Parson's Mountain Recreation Area has 23 campsites and primitive camping is available at nearby Fell Hunt Camp.
Directions: From Abbeville, Drive southwest on SC 72 for approximately two miles, then turn left (south) onto SC 28. Drive for approximately two miles and turn left onto Abbeville County S-251. The entrance to Parson's Mountain Recreation Area is 1.5 miles ahead on the right. Enter the recreation area and continue to the trailhead at the boat ramp parking area.
Distance: 4 miles
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Sumter National Forest, South Carolina
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