What to do in Sand Hills State Forest

The 46,000-acre Sand Hills State Forest lies between the piedmont and coastal plain of South Carolina stretching between Chesterfield and Darlington Counties. Sugar Loaf Mountain is one of the most popular recreation areas in the sandhills region. Deep sands and arid conditions characterize it. The tract was originally purchased by the federal government in the mid-1930's as a relief effort for farmers. The S.C. Forestry Commission administered management until 1991 when an official title transfer to the state was finalized. Prior to that time, poor land practices ranging from improper logging to poor farming practices depleted the land. When relief efforts were initiated, reforestation and wildlife management practices were put into practice. Today, the tract is a productive timber resource that houses a variety of game and non-game species. The wildlife rehabilitation approach centered on habitat improvement rather than artificial stocking. Sound timber management was supplemented with food and cover patches focused on re-establishing the small game including quail. Each year these food patches are reinforced for the resident white-tailed deer, wild turkey, quail and a variety of songbirds. In addition, yearly plantings of brown-top millet guarantee a food source for the areas mourning doves. Additional measures include nesting boxes for summer ducks.

The most popular activities on the Sand Hills State Forest include hiking, picnicking, fishing, and mountain biking. Included in the huge forest tract are 13 fishponds stocked with bass, bream and catfish. The sandhills also offer other forms of recreation such as bird watching, nature study, primitive camping, and horseback riding. Visitors should note that horseback riding and mountain biking requires a permit obtainable from the State Forest Headquarters. Permits are $5 daily and $25 annually. These permits may be used on other South Carolina State Forest tracts. Hunting is permitted; state rules and regulations apply.

The Sand Hills State Forest is located in north central South Carolina, in Chesterfield and Darlington Counties. The forest office is located in the town of Patrick, on US Highway 1, which leads through the forest.

South Carolina generally has a temperate climate, with cool winters and warm, humid summers. Thunderstorms are possible throughout the year but most common in the spring and summer. Tropical storms occasionally strike the coast during the hurricane season.

P.O. Box 128
Hwy 1
Patrick, SC 29584

Phone: 803-498-6478

  • Sand Hills State Forest Travel Q&A