Stunning Scenic Spots With No Hiking: An Upstate SC Driving Tour

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Do you want to enjoy beautiful views with no hiking at scenic overlooks near Greenville, SC? How about a driving tour of completely stunning overlooks, pull-offs, and scenic spots across the South Carolina Upstate? If that sounds amazing, we thought so too! So here it is, your No-Hiking Driving Tour of Gorgeous Scenic Spots Near Greenville, SC from KAG Contributor, Liene.

Mountain views and scenic overlooks near Greenville, SC

Scenic Views Without the Hike

While my family loves a good hike (and there’s no shortage of them in the Upstate!) we sometimes find ourselves looking for those stunning views – but with little to no hiking. Whether it’s because we have an out-of-town guest visiting who might have less experience on the trail or not physically capable of tackling local hikes, or because I was pregnant or adventuring with an infant, we found a dozen sites that we could pull right up to for that spectacular vista – with just a short walk! Head out to one or two of them, or take an epic driving tour of all of them for a taste of the SC Upcountry.

Wildcat Branch Falls

After breakfast at one of the many cute spots in Traveler’s Rest, head north to Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway 11 and drive west. The first stop is Wildcat Wayside, the old rest stop for travelers on their way to Asheville.

With over a mile of trail that loops into the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, this trailhead can be a popular spot; be careful pulling in and out of the roadside parking area. However, you won’t have to go far to see the star attraction, as the 30ft waterfall is visible from the road. The shallow pool at the base is a popular swimming hole on hot summer days! 

Address: 5500 Geer Hwy, Cleveland, SC 29635

Waterfall at Wildcat Wayside
Wildcat Wayside

Bald Rock Heritage Preserve

After driving a little over ½ mile west on Highway 11 you’ll head north on Highway 276, then in 2.8 miles you’ll come to the roadside parking for Bald Rock Heritage Preserve. This 165-acre Preserve is home to several rare plants, as well as panoramic views stretching from Table Rock to downtown Greenville. Access to the granite outcrop is across the wooden footbridge. 

Address: Highway 276, Cleveland, SC 29635
GPS Coordinates: 35.082310,-82.621320

Bald Rock near Greenville

Caesars Head State Park

In another 4.6 miles’ drive north on Highway 276 you’ll reach the Caesars Head State Park Visitor Center. There is ample parking here, as well as restrooms, picnic tables and a gift shop. Take the short, 0.1-mile trail to the overlook featuring a wonderful view of Table Rock and the reservoir. 

Address: 8155 Geer Highway, Cleveland, SC, 29635

Caesars Head State Park in the clouds
Caesars Head State Park in the clouds

Grant Meadow Overlook

From Caesars Head, retrace your steps back to Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway 11 and continue west. Just under a mile after Aunt Sue’s Country Corner look for Grant Meadow Overlook to your right. This scenic pull-off is newly open, an Upstate Forever conservation easement protecting the 57-acre property that includes the meadow and streams to the north.

Behind them, the focal point – Table Rock. Take a minute to read the historical marker that tells the story of the granite dome, or just soak in the view from the bench before continuing on to Table Rock State Park. 

Address: Grant Meadow Overlook, Pickens, SC 29671
GPS Coordinates: 35.034126, -82.684248

Grant Meadow Overlook

Table Rock Overlook

Table Rock Mountain rises 3,124 feet above sea level and can be seen for miles. But if you want to get up close without the strenuous 7+mi hike, just head to the Table Rock Viewpoint within Table Rock State Park.

To access the pull-off you’ll need a State Park Pass (or to pay admission); it is located about halfway between the Table Rock Nature Center and Gaines Lodge parking areas. If the Park is full or you don’t have a Park Pass, head instead to the Table Rock State Park Visitor Center on Lake Oolenoy, where you’ll find restrooms and a gift shop, plus rocking chairs on a wide porch with a prime view of Table Rock.

Address for overlook: 182-346 Table Rock State Park Road, Pickens, SC 29671
Address for Visitor Center: 158 E Ellison Lane, Pickens, SC 29671

Table Rock

Sassafras Mountain

From Table Rock State Park it’s another 4 miles or so to the intersection of Highway 11 and Moorefield Memorial Highway, where you make a right to drive north 7.5 miles to Rocky Bottom, SC. Make another right on F. Van Clayton Memorial Highway (Sassafras Mountain Road) and take it all the way to the end to Sassafras Mountain Observation Tower. This is the highest point in South Carolina!

From the parking lot to the tower is just over a tenth of a mile, but the short stroll is worth it as on a clear day you’ll have 360-degree mountain views of North & South Carolina and Georgia.

Address: 1391 F Van Clayton Memorial Highway, Sunset, SC 29685

Sassafras Observation Tower

Jumping Off Rock

This next stop requires a bit of time, and patience, as it requires a long drive down a gravel road. Once you are back on Moorefield Memorial Highway, go north 0.9 miles to Horse Pasture Road. This road is open year-round, but will close due to hazardous weather conditions: see SCDNR for updates. High clearance is recommended for the 9.6-mile drive to the overlook, but not required.

On your way in you’ll pass several Heritage Preserves and Wildlife Management Areas, with multiple waterfall hiking trails and Foothills Trail trailheads located on Horse Pasture Road.

Look for a small pull-off with an obvious trail, it’s only a couple hundred feet to the view. Jumping Off Rock is the first of several stops located in the Jocassee Gorges region in this driving tour that features views of Lake Jocassee; if you opt to skip it you’ll get similar views from the Bad Creek Overlook.

Address: 448 Horse Pasture Rd, Sunset, SC 29685

Jumping Off Rock

Long Shoals Wayside Park

Once back on Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, look for the intersection with Roy F. Jones Rd. After driving 1.4 miles west on Highway 11 you’ll see the entrance to Long Shoals Roadside Park. There are picnic tables located right next to the parking area, but this stop does require a short climb to reach Little Eastatoe Creek. While not as long as the walk to the Sassafras Mountain tower, it is a little steeper – it descends about 100ft. 

Address: Scenic Hwy 11, Pickens, SC 29671
GPS Coordinates: 34.949246, -82.851151

Long Shoals

Bad Creek Overlook

From Long Shoals Park drive west on Highway 11 for almost 10 miles. Turn right on SC-130 N and continue for 10.1 miles. Bad Creek is the site of the largest hydroelectric station operated by Duke Power and includes 7,500-acre Lake Jocassee, a 375-acre upper reservoir, an underground powerhouse and a one-mile-long tunnel bored through the mountain bedrock connecting the reservoirs and powerhouse.

The site is open to the public year-round, however, visitors must abide by the Bad Creek visitor regulations posted at the electronic gate at the entrance to the site, which is at the turn off SC-130 N onto Bad Creek Road.

Proceed carefully on Bad Creek Road. for 3.6 miles until you come to the entrance to the parking lot for the Bad Creek Visitor Overlook. This overlook has more breathtaking views of the emerald Lake Jocassee, with a backdrop of the mountains of the Jocassee Gorges. 

Address: Bad Creek Visitor Overlook, Bad Creek Road, Salem, SC 29676
GPS Coordinates: 34.995363, -82.992124

Note: Just to the north is the North Carolina border and Whitewater Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the east. We’ve chosen not to include it in this guide as the hike to the viewing platform is about 0.6 miles and involves stairs for the best view; this is also a fee area. However, it is close enough that it is definitely an option if interested. The waterfall can be viewed at the end of the paved 1/2 mile path without the stairs! Read more about Whitewater Falls in our driving tour of stunning waterfalls!

Bad Creek Overlook

Wigington Overlook

Once back on Whitewater Road drive south for 0.7 miles, then turn right and head west on Oscar Wigington Memorial Highway. This short connector route between SC-107 and SC-130 offers a fantastic bird’s-eye-view of Bad Creek Reservoir and the Carolina foothills from the Wigington Overlook, which is 1.4 miles from Whitewater Road.

Address:  Oscar Wigington Memorial Highway Scenic Overlook, State Rd S-37-413, Tamassee, SC 29686

GPS Coordinates: 35.001087, -83.043677

Wigington Overlook

Sloan Bridge & Chattooga Pull-Offs and Picnic Areas

Continue west on Wigington Highway until you reach Highway 107, Falling Waters Scenic Byway. Just north of the intersection is the Sloan Bridge Picnic Area, with restroom facilities and picnic tables. 2.3 miles south is Fish Hatchery Road, which leads to the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery, another picnic area, and a popular spot for fishing. 

Sloan Bridge address: Sloans Bridge Access, Tamassee, SC (GPS Coordinates: 35.003620, -83.054143)
Walhalla State Fish Hatchery address: 198 Fish Hatchery Road, Mountain Rest, SC 29664

Sloan Bridge

Burrell’s Place Pull-Off

One mile south of Fish Hatchery Road is a memorial site for five service members who were killed when a B-25 Army Air Corps plane crashed into a mountaintop at night on March 10, 1943. At the Burrell’s Place Pull-Off, visitors can find a memorial marker with the names of the servicemen. 1/3 mile further is a wide spot in the road that has room for a couple of cars, with a view of Cantrell Mountain and the Upstate beyond.

GPS Coordinates: 34.964861, -83.078429  

Russell Farmstead (Chattooga Town)

After cruising the rest of Falling Waters Scenic Byway, you’ll reach Highway 28S. Make a right and continue towards the SC/GA border, and in 7.5 miles you’ll reach the pull-off for Chattooga Town, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Russell house was a busy Appalachian farmstead in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and served as a stopover for travelers headed north to NC to escape the hot South Carolina summers. A fire destroyed the main house and three outbuildings in 1988, leaving only a chimney of the main house, but the foundations are visible and an interpretive sign on the site details the layout of the farmstead.

Address: Mountain Rest, SC 29664
GPS Coordinates: 34.909300, -83.172708

Chattooga River (Oconee County) Pull-Off

Retracing your steps to Mountain Rest, SC, you’ll take Chattooga Ridge Road to Long Creek Highway; the next destination is where Highway 76 crosses the Chattooga. Just before the river there is a 10-minute parking pull-off with room for about 6 cars, and a walkway that leads to an overlook of the Chattooga River and the bridge. If you would prefer a closer look at the river, park at the US Forest Service Chattooga River Access site across the way, though that will require a short walk.

Address: Highway 76 Chattooga River Access, Mountain Rest, SC 29664
GPS Coordinates: 34.814151, -83.303892

The fastest way back to Greenville from the Chattooga River is through Clemson on Highway 123, though if you’re looking to take the scenic route (or headed to our starting point in Traveler’s Rest) you’ll want to take Highway 11. We often detour through Pickens to stop for food, or watch the sun set from Glassy Mountain. 

Pack that bag of gear & snacks, and hit the road this spring with the Kidding Around Greenville guide to scenic viewpoints and pull-offs. Make sure to tag us in your photo posts to let us know which scenic pull-offs and overlooks near Greenville, SC that you enjoyed most!

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About the Author
Mother of four young boys, Liene is constantly on the move since returning to Greenville in 2012. Whether she’s exploring the state parks and natural areas of the Carolinas or teaming up with other moms to organize activities for the kids, she’s always searching for the next adventure in the Upstate. For everything from hiking, travel, cooking and crafts to multicultural & global education posts, visit her blog,

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