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Sunset, South Carolina

Sassafras Mountain

The highest point in South Carolina was once owned by an energy company that neglected it but now the state is taking it back. 

Sassafras Mountain, the picturesque South Carolina high point is undergoing a focused improvement plan, but it was almost left to litter and neglect.  

The summit of Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina at 3,533 feet above sea level, was owned by an energy company that left it open to public access. While left untouched, visitors would have to navigate tricky roads to get there and likely have to step around broken bottles and other detritus on their visit.

The company eventually sold the site to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in 2004, which then began the current improvement plan, adding a paved trail, better signage, a plaque, and an overlook to the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains which was designed by nearby Clemson University students. A conservation trust even purchased 8,000 acres of the mountain on the North Carolina side to keep the summit area and view pristine.

Now, an observation tower will be built from which, viewers will be able to climb above the tree line and get a view of four different states at once. Donations are being sought for the observation station, and donors can buy custom engraved bricks that will go at the tower’s base.

Know Before You Go

From Route 178 in Rocky Bottom, SC, turn onto the F. Van Clayton Highway. At Carolina Point, turn onto Continental Divide Road and follow it to the parking lot. Walk to the summit.