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10 Upstate Hikes That Are Perfect for Teens

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Are you looking for fun or adventurous hiking for teens in Greenville, SC? Here’s our list of great hikes for teens in or near Upstate, SC! Some are challenging and some a bit more relaxed, perfect for a day with friends or family. Plus, there are plenty of trails with gorgeous views that are perfect for the ‘gram. For even more hiking ideas see our list of our favorite local hiking trails.

hiking teens greenville, sc

There are so many great hiking trails in the Greenville area or nearby, it’s truly hard to choose where to go. Luckily, the weather here can lend itself to hiking all year round for the most part, which means lots of weekends to take the teens out on adventures.

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Improve Your Bike Skills at Gateway Park: Travelers Rest, SC

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Have you visited Gateway Park in Travelers, SC? This park along the Swamp Rabbit Trail is full of outdoor things to do, including an impressive bike park where you can practice jumps, ride the pump track, and older bikers can conquer the skills down two different jump lines. Here’s all the information you need to take advantage of Gateway Park on your next visit to TR.

Bike skills park at Gateway Park in Travelers Rest

About Gateway Park in Travelers Rest

Gateway Park is located along the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Downtown Travelers Rest, right behind Sunrift Adventures.

Biking is a bike draw to Gateway Park, but there are also other things to do. There is a small playground in the shade, plus tennis courts, a football field, and a basketball court. Restrooms are centrally located in the middle of the park. And, there are a number of picnic tables and even charcoal grills located throughout the park.

Playground at Gateway Park

Getting to Gateway Park

There are two entrances to Gateway Park, but if you’re not looking for them, you might miss them. The first entrance, and the one that GPS will probably take you to, is right behind Sunrift Adventures. You will actually turn into the Sunrift parking lot and then veer to the right into the Gateway Park parking lot. At this end of the park you’ll find the basketball court and field.

If you continue driving through the park, you’ll pass the restrooms on the left, the playground on the right, and then you’ll arrive at the bike skills park.

There is another entrance/exit here at the bike park onto Henderson Drive. Turning left here will bring you back up towards Main Street, Travelers Rest.

Skills park at Gateway Park, Travelers Rest, SC

Biking at Gateway Park

There’s something for every level of biker at Gateway Park. While my older kids and husband spend most of their time at the park on the skills in the jump lines, the park also offers a pump track, several platforms at varying heights for drop jumps, and 2 1/2 miles of mountain biking trails through the woods and around the park.

Kids track at Gateway Park

There’s also a small figure 8 track for kids beside the playground.

Jump Lines

Bikers using the jump lines start at the platform in the corner of the bike park. Skills in the jump lines include gap jumps, steep table tops, and a variety of berms. Here you’ll find a helpful map of the trails and maybe a friendly biker or two to give you some pointers. If you’ve never tried these types of jumps, a good way to start is by rolling over the jumps on the trail slowly, rather than jumping. It’s always a good idea to take new trails slowly, anyway.

Skills park at Gateway Park, biking in TR

Drop Jumps and Pump Track

Pump track

Across the road from the jump lines, you’ll see the small pump track and the drop jumps. The pump track would be a could place for younger riders to try some skills. There are no jumps on this track only bumps and turns.

Beside the pump track is an area for bikers to practice drop jumps off of platforms. There is a variety of heights to choose from, entry and exit of these jumps is a grassy field- no trails. When bikers are present you’ll want to keep an eye on the kiddos here.

Ride the trails

In addition to the skills portion of the bike park, there is also a trail through the woods and around the park. There are about 2 1/2 miles of mountain bike trail.

dirt bike trail at Gateway Park

Got a flat?

When we arrived at the park most recently, my husband pulled his bike out of the van, only to realize the tire was flat and he didn’t have the adaptor he needed to pump it up. He brought the bike over to Sunrift Adventures, located right beside the park, and they pumped it up for free. He was also able to buy the missing adaptor so he’d have it for next time for just $1. Sunrift is a great resource in the area for biking and all kinds of outdoor adventures.

Watch: Ride the trails at Gateway Park

More to Love at Gateway Park

This park used to be the site of Travelers Rest High School. So, if you are not in the mood for biking, grab a football and play on the football field that has been used to train athletes for decades. You can also enjoy the basketball court or baseball diamond.

If you are 5 or 95, you will find something at this park to get your heart pumping while soaking in some vitamin D. Bring some friends, and get out to Gateway Park.

Gateway Park in Travelers Rest

Visit Gateway Park in TR

115 Henderson Drive, Travelers Rest
Visit the Gateway Park website for more information.

Would your family enjoy a day visiting Gateway Park in Travelers Rest?

Where else can you ride? Check out the Kidding Around Guide to Mountain Biking in the Upstate.

Your Family Guide to the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail System

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If the creation of Falls Park was the spark that set Greenville, South Carolina on track to become a beloved hometown and vacation destination to thousands, then it’s the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail System that has become the locomotive still pulling us forward today!

We share an overview of the entire trail, including where the trail starts and ends. We will begin at the northern end of the SRT and travel down to the southern tip of Greenville County, learning about some fun things to do along the way!

Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, SC

This article includes:
North End of the SRT
SRT South of Furman University
West Side of Greenville on the SRT
End of the SRT
Itinerary of SRT Links to Do With Kids

The Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail System: From Travelers Rest to Laurens County

The old Carolina, Knoxville, and Western Railway line was nicknamed for the large cottontail rabbit that roamed these parts back in the day. Although the tracks have been replaced by a paved trail (and locomotives by runners, walkers, and cyclists), the name stuck.

The 28-mile network of trails stretches from Travelers Rest to downtown Greenville, with additional sections in Lake Conestee Nature Park, Simpsonville, and Fountain Inn. There is even a section that opened in 2023 in Laurens County with the Loop Trail. The Loop Trail is the official starting point of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail.

There is yet another extension off Laurens Road that rides by Holland Park called the Green Line Extension. It was completed in June 2023 and runs from the Greenville Zoo to Verdea Boulevard. 

It could be that in the future the entire length of the Reedy River will be covered. Then, residents would have a multi-use trail connecting the Upstate to the Saluda River. The SRT project will continue to add trails and extensions, branching from the main trail into the community to increase accessibility and improve commutability throughout Greenville County!

A portion of the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Travelers Rest, SC.

Northern Greenville County: Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail System

The trail starts in Travelers Rest (often referred to as “TR”), the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains. What used to be a sleepy mountain town was transformed with the advent of the Trail into a hub for outdoor adventure. Today, TR is a destination in itself, not just a stop on the way to Caesars ​Head and Table Rock.

Local Swamp Rabbit Businesses

The trail system has become so intertwined with the legend of Greenville that dozens of local businesses have jumped on the train; for example, in Travelers Rest you will find the Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Taproom, Swamp Rabbit Inn, Swamp Rabbit Storage, and Swamp Rabbit Tees.

Travelers Rest

For ideas on what to do with a day in TR, check out this sample itinerary that includes parks, restaurants, and shops all within an easy walking radius. If your visit falls on a Saturday, be sure to stop by the TR Farmers Market in Trailblazer Park and check out the kids’ table that features a new activity every week. You can also rent bikes from Sunrift Adventures if you do not have your own, making TR the perfect place to start the SRT.

Furman University

Soon after crossing Roe Ford Rd. (and passing mile marker 26) you’ll reach Furman University. A couple of access points allow visitors to connect to the path that circles Swan Lake, and just before Duncan Chapel Road (about MM27.5), you’ll spot the old rail car that marks the location of a public parking lot and rest stop. Be sure to check out the Kidding Around Furman University article for more on this beautiful campus!

South of Furman University

Just after the intersection of the trail with Sulphur Springs Road, you’ll find Swamp Rabbit Station. There is a pocket park at MM29 with train cars (a boxcar and locomotive) – a perfect stop for those kids who love everything train-related!

Old railroad car at Swamp Rabbit Station off of the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, SC.

Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery

Then push on another two miles to reach the Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery (MM31.5) and the outskirts of downtown Greenville.

Hampton Station Orange Line of the SRT

Once you begin your adventure from the Swamp Rabbit Cafe toward downtown, you can make a pit stop by veering off of the main trail onto the Orange Line of the SRT, and check out Hampton Station. Here you will find restaurants, a coffee shop, some breweries, and even art classes and axe throwing. Learn more about Hampton Station, and why it is a wonderful stop-off point on the SRT, in our KA Guide to Hampton Station.

Downtown Greenville on the SRT

Unity Park

As you pass the Kroc Center and head toward Downtown Greenville, you come to Unity Park, one of the best places to ride the SRT. Here, you can grab food at one of the various places to eat, let your kids play at the immaculate park, hang out in the open fields, or explore the wetland preserve.

The Children’s Garden

Where the Swamp Rabbit Trail turns to pass under South Academy Street, you know you’ve reached the Children’s Garden at Linky Stone Park (MM33.5), a perfect place to stop and rest before entering downtown.

Falls Park to Cancer Survivors Park

After passing through River Street underpass you’ll be right alongside the Reedy River all through Falls Park on the Reedy. There are dozens of adventures waiting for you here with trails leading every which way. Falls Park is a highlight of the trail you won’t want to leave! Regular trail users are pretty familiar with this portion of the SRT, simply because it is one of the best parts.

As you leave Falls Park, you will come across Cancer Survivors Park. Here, there are gorgeous gardens, statues, and memorial sites to take a rest and ponder over.

Learn more about Falls Park and what you can do there during your ride on the SRT.

Falls Park garden on the Reedy River

Greenville Zoo and Cleveland Park 

From Cancer Survivors Park,  it’s just a short ride to Cleveland Park. Cleveland Park is an old favorite; the trail passes Maj. Anderson’s memorial F-86 Saber jet fighter plane (MM35), numerous picnic shelters and playgrounds, and spur trails to the Fernwood Nature Trail and Greenville Zoo. 

Once at the Greenville Zoo, you will find one of Greenville’s most popular children’s playgrounds which is filled with play equipment ranging from swings and monkey bars to slides and other amazing activities that will have your child moving. There are covered shelters with picnic tables within the park.

Green Line Extension

Opened in June 2023, the Green Line Extension was a major addition to the SRT. It connects the Greenville Zoo with Verdae Boulevard! There are plenty of places to stop along the way, including Holland Park, where you can hang out at a brewery, or even explore the aerial ropes course at Flying Rabbit Adventure. 

Flying Rabbit Adventure aerial ropes course in Greenville, SC.

Take the SRT Green Line Extension to Holland Park, where you can do an aerial ropes course at Flying Rabbit Adventure Park!

The Final Stretch of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail System

The continuous trail currently stops just north of Greenville Technical College’s main campus, at South Pleasantburg Drive. It then resumes north of Lake Conestee Nature Park at Parkins Mill and Mauldin Road. There is then another large jump from Conestee to Simpsonville and a final jump to Fountain Inn.

There are suggested connection routes to take you to Conestee. These travel busy thoroughfares and aren’t recommended for younger cyclists. These segmented portions of the Swamp Rabbit Trail will hopefully be connected in the future! They are great for a short bike ride or walk while exploring the family-friendly downtown areas of Simpsonville and Fountain Inn, SC.

Conestee SRT Trail

However, once you reach Conestee you’ll find an oasis of calm. A spur trail within the park connects the trail system to Conestee Park (where the playground and dog park are), while the main trail winds around with the Reedy River to the historic Conestee Mill and dam. Here you’ll find a parking area and kiosk at the trailhead, mile marker 41, and the terminus of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail System.

Simpsonville SRT Trail

The Simpsonville, SC portion of the SRT is another jump from Conestee to the heart of downtown. Here, you can ride from West Trade Street down Main Street Simpsonville for 0.93 miles. You will find dining options, places for a picnic, and more!

Things to do in Simpsonville, SC.

Spend the day in Downtown Simpsonville after riding the local portion of the Swamp Rabbit Trail!

Fountain Inn SRT Trail

The final stretch of the Swamp Rabbit Trail is located in Fountain Inn. It’s a large jump from Simpsonville to Fountain Inn. This portion is best explored when visiting the growing town at the bottom of Greenville County. You will find a 0.87-mile extension of the SRT at 107 Mt. Zion Drive in Fountain Inn.

Loop Trail in Laurens

The official beginning of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail officially opened in 2023 with the two-mile Loop Trail. The trail is mostly shaded, and will hopefully one day connect to the trails fully into Greenville County as the expansion of the SRT continues!

For more information on the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail System, please visit the Greenville County Rec website, where you will also find a detailed trail maps. You can also text swamprabbit to 99000 for alerts about closures, special events, and more. Be courteous while your ride, and follow all road crossings safely. Happy trails!

A itinerary of some of the best places to ride the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail.

Swamp Rabbit Trail Itinerary: Fun Ideas for Using the SRT with Kids

If you are looking to enjoy the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail, but have young children who can only peddle (or be patient) for so long, explore one of these connections between fun places in Greenville County. 

  • Cleveland Park to Linky Stone Park: Downtown Greenville (~ 1.2 miles)
    • Begin at Cleveland Park, explore the monuments, and hang out under the trees as you pass by the gardens at Cancer Survivors Park. Then, cruise by the Medusa tree in Falls Park, and travel past the Liberty Bridge and the Peace Center until you reach Linky Stone Park. Here, you can explore a mini gingerbread-style house with your kids.
  • Downtown Greenville to Travelers Rest (~ 9 miles)
    • Begin in Falls Park, head toward Unity Park, and travel along the SRT past Hampton Station. You can continue on past Furman University, and head to Downtown Travelers Rest for lunch before heading back.
  • Greenville Zoo to Holland Park (~1 mile)
    • Begin at the Greenville Zoo and Cleveland Park and head toward Laurens Road until you reach Holland Park. This is a shorter trip and is great if you have younger kids. Take a pit stop at Holland Park and enjoy some delicious food and maybe a brew or two. This stretch of the SRT is part of the Green Line Connector and continues on toward Verdae Boulevard.

What’s your favorite portion of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail System?

Swamp Rabbit Cafe right off of the Swamp Rabbit Trail

Moving to Greenville, SC?

Learn why the SRT is so iconic in Dan Hamilton’s Guide to the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail System!

Shop and Make Art at TR Makers Co in Travelers Rest, SC

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Looking for a place to make some art in Travelers Rest, SC? TR Makers Co offers art activities for both children and adults. You can plan a birthday party or girls’ night here, or take advantage of summer sessions, playdates and even homeschool classes.

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Travelers Rest Makes A Perfect Summer Staycation

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Looking for some staycation ideas? How about a day in Travelers Rest? Kidding Around Greenville contributor Lindy Wilson ventured out and about on her own personal Staycation to Travelers Rest.  This quaint town offers shopping, parks, restaurants and more!

So maybe your budget (or perhaps even just your sanity) doesn’t permit for a full out family vacation this year. The trend of “staycationing” is still one many families enjoy. We are fortunate because there are tons of great spots within a short drive of the Upstate! Today I’ll focus on one area just a little north of Greenville, but be sure to dig around our archives for even more staycation ideas.  The website is loaded with pieces such as weekend itinerary ideas or western NC day trips or SC day trip ideas.

About Travelers Rest

A few months ago, we headed to Travelers Rest, which we had driven through before but never really checked out. It’s very hip and you can make a day of it just exploring Main Street. So get out those strollers or tie on those baby carriers! (We choose the carrier for our baby while the four year old had to bear heavily enforced hand holding.)

staycation in Travelers Rest near Greenville

We started TR with the Whistle Stop Cafe and of course fried green tomatoes. The cafe is charming- lots of memorabilia and decor along with a staff that was eager to greet us. The fried tomatoes, which I believe were my first ever, were amazing. The kids tried a little but preferred the kids menu, which wait for it – was written on a Dinosaur TRAIN coloring sheet! After many train pictures, we ventured out to find other spots.

 

This particular outing was for the Greenville Crawl so we were eating just a course or two per stop. That meant we still had room to try the nearby Sidewall Pizza! You could try your own version of a crawl or just take a different path to space out lunch, snack and dinner breaks. There were a few stores across the road we would have checked out if we had more time. The Whistle Stop Cafe also is right along the Swamp Rabbit Trail! There is also Gateway, Poinsett and Trailblazer park so consider adding those in to get out some wiggles! You could also check out the TR Farmer’s Market too. There is also a baby store specializing in natural products – Modern Cloth!

As I was saying, we immediately came upon Sidewall Pizza. Now originally we weren’t going to go but as we had time, we decided to check it out. Oh my gosh – pizza loaded with local meat! Thin flaky but not crackery crust! YUM! The kicker was homemade mint cookie and cream ice cream, my husband’s two favorite flavors in one! I was delighted that it was a light spearmint taste, and you can guess how the kids felt about pizza and ice cream! We’re also very excited about their birthday club for free pizza.

Next we wandered further down “the other Main street” here in downtown Travelers Rest to the Tandem Creperie. Not wanting to get too full, we got their Orange Rosemary Spritzer and a cafe americano. Daddy, my photographer extraordinaire, didn’t share his coffee but the spritzer was great. Very different but good! The baby and the big girl nearly drank it all! The shop itself was the epitome of hipster cool. It took a second for me to figure out why they had a tandem bicycle:) There was also patio seating which you might find better for kids.

In addition to some great restaurants in Travelers Rest, there were tons of local boutiques. This included Carolina Bee Company‘s store front AND Copperhead Mountain Moonshine, both of which we stopped in and were offered free samples. The honey was fun with various creamed flavors- chocolate, blackberry and cinnamon. The owner was busy but kind and made sure my baby was old enough for honey. Watch little hands as they do have some gorgeous but breakable pottery items. In case you didn’t know, raw local honey has many health benefits, including helping with seasonal allergies which is great for when it “pollens” here and all of Greenville is coated in yellow!

As a nice stop for us parents, the Copperhead distillery was awesome. We only had two samples each as the kids were with us and all, but they were more than willing to let us sample more. Moonshine is something new to us. Out west where we’re from, we didn’t see much of it though we aren’t much of drinkers anyways, especially not hard liquor. It seems sweeter than rum and I love its history. This particular business, like many in TR, is family owned and we met both the owner and his grown daughter. It’s also situated fairly center in the Main Street stretch making it a convenient stop.

Last but not least was Shortfield’s. It’s a quaint little place with an impressive menu. We got there right as they were filling up for dinner so we ordered quickly as not to be ”campers”- humus, brownie stack, and tartlets in addition to a generous bread basket (a life saver for impatient little ones!). They also had a nice patio set up for those interested. Even the kids liked their humus, which was smoky and not your common everyday chickpea puree. The brownie stack was baked just right, fudgy but yet crumbly. Our oldest didn’t like the tartlets but we enjoyed them. All in all it was a great way to spend a long afternoon.

What’s your favorite thing about Travelers Rest?

The Kids and The Adults are Sure to Love Poinsett Park in Travelers Rest

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Love Travelers Rest? Consider checking out Poinsett Park with the kids. KAG Contributor Lindy Wilson visited with her family and is giving us all the details so you’ll know just what to expect. You’re sure to love all this park has to offer, including multiple playgrounds and a paved trail for walking!

About Poinsett Park

This park is a little tricky to get to heading south, but worth it! If planning your day, its easiest to stop while driving northward, as you won’t have to fight traffic to turn off Main Street.

At first, I was skeptical. The park looks small, but we were there so why not check it out? It was gorgeous with a very decadent tree line and lush grass.

The playgrounds

The kids were enchanted with the tree house themed playground. I was relieved that there was a toddler area to direct my little one towards. They liked the swings and enjoyed the many slides available.

Watch out for the climbing web- preschoolers will need your help but it’s very user friendly! The forest of stairs shaped like trees also scared me, but my kids navigated them well. Little monkeys will surely enjoy all the climbing features!

For whatever reason, the rainwater didn’t pool much on the slides or swings or anywhere else for that matter. The low retaining wall surrounding playground also seemed to help waterproof the park a lot, as there were hardly any puddles. So this park may be a good bet after a rainy day.

Poinsett Park in Travelers Rest

The walking trail

Once we finally got the kids away from the playground, we took a family walk around the trail. This trail seemed popular with many people, and though there were quite a few pet owners walking their dogs, the park was very clean. It is a nice size yet had good visibility. Those with older kids could probably walk the trail by themselves yet be in sight to wave at their children over on the playground. This feature makes it very family friendly- adults can jog a bit, have an uninterrupted conversation or just enjoy the walk.

There are also some nice picnic tables and a shelter that can be reserved for special occasions. The larger trail has a cut through with tables near the playground so you can just circle nearby if needed.

Visit Poinsett Park

Poinsett Park is a great little destination for the whole family. We saw many generations there and families with kids of all ages. It’s not far from downtown Greenville and is just a stone’s throw from downtown Travelers Rest.

5 Pine Forest Road, Travelers Rest
Visit the park website here.

Have you taken your little ones to Poinsett Park in Travelers Rest yet?

RELATED: Playgrounds with Paved Walking Trails, Playgrounds with Fenced Toddler Areas