Friday, September 16, 2022
As cool, crisp autumn air descends across the region, there isn’t a better time to explore Spartanburg County’s outdoor amenities.
Vibrant green has started its slow, annual transition to fiery shades of red, orange and yellow. And several spots in our area have truly marvelous views of the foliage, including some that can put you up close and personal with the changing of the seasons.
Just south of Downtown Spartanburg is the county’s most-used outdoor recreation offering: the two-mile Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail. The trail provides up close looks at the foliage for runners, walkers, cyclists, and even visitors taking their four-legged friends for a stroll.
For a glance at all you can do along the ever-growing Rail Trail, check out this guide to an afternoon the Rail Trail.
The Cottonwood Trail, an 85-acre preserve also known as the Edwin M. Griffin Nature Preserve, is one of Spartanburg’s best outdoor offerings. Surrounded by woodlands, the meandering waters of Lawson’s Fork Creek provides an enjoyable babble as you walk, run, jog or bike along the trail. The Spartanburg Area Conservancy recently completed restoration of the Cottonwood Trail Boardwalk, a 550-foot pathway crossing the preserve’s wetlands.
Glendale Shoals, near the Glendale Mill on Lawson’s Fork Creek, is another space owned by the Spartanburg Area Conservancy. A scenic spot, there’s a waterfall cascading over a dam where you can occasionally find kayakers. As you enjoy a stroll around the area, wildlife is often visible, and even if not, the sense of calm tranquility is very valuable.
Cleveland Park is home to a gorgeous clubhouse which overlooks the perfectly manicured landscape. The charming grounds are peppered with communal grills, swings, benches, and outdoor fitness equipment with paved walking trails that wind throughout. It’s a wonderful space for your next event, or to stop and relax for a moment during a weekend retreat. And in fall, with crisp air surrounding you, the picturesque lakeside park never looks better, with the fiery foliage reflecting in the water.
Outside its expansive Spartanburg headquarters, the Milliken Arboretum sits on 600 acres of manicured greenspace amidst a nationally-recognized arboretum that was formerly a peach orchard. A passion project of Milliken & Company’s founder, Roger Milliken, the arboretum contains a number of trail-like paths carved out by lawnmowers and frequent runners and walkers. The space itself is home to hundreds and hundreds of trees, of many varieties, many of which take on the warm colors of autumn as the air cools down.
Landrum, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offers glimpses of foliage from a quaint downtown that’s not far from the beauty of nature. Not far from the Tryon International Equestrian Center, Landrum has earned a reputation for things you can’t find anywhere else, and that includes incredible mountain views.
Essentially the Hub City’s official garden, Hatcher Garden & Preserve offers 10 acres bustling with flowers, shrubs and trees. The free, public garden, founded in 1969, is also a respite for birds and bird-watchers. Open during daylight hours, Hatcher Garden features trails and paved quarter-and half-mile paths that are wheelchair accessible, so everyone can enjoy nature’s beauty on a visit. There are picnic spaces and seating areas around the trails, too.
We’ve often talked about the sights and sounds on and around the Mary Black Rail Trail, and the expansive offerings of Croft State Park, but all of these options provide perfect spots for off-the-beaten-path views of the season’s change.