I didn’t expect the terrain to be so hilly here. Driving up to an overlook (yes, this park has an overlook), you can see for miles. From there I made my way to the visitor center. There’s a trail that connects the two, but I was wanting to take another trail and see the lake. I had a good chat with the ranger who was taking a break from fixing some steps. I have to say, rangers are jacks of all trades. I see them mowing, fixing things, and leading tours. They are a font of knowledge when it comes to the flora and fauna and everything else in the park and they always friendly.
He told me about the meeting hall which had been built by the CCC in the 1930’s. I picked up quite a few brochures on Sumter county here, which was nice as I got information on other sites to see in Sumter.
Not far from the meeting room is a pretty spillway also by the CC. It flows under a bridge and trickles down a small waterfall into a stream. It hardly looks man made at all.
Several trails wind through these high hills of Santee. One goes around the ten acre lake. There’s the Coquina Trail, Laurel Group Trail, Hill Top Trail, and the Scout Trail. I did the Coquina trail and thus walked a bit on the Palmetto trail which passes through.
If you don’t walk the trails, one can rent a canoe or a kayak.
How to get there:
From US76 / US378, take the 261 toward Wedgefield. There should be a sign to the park. The park will be on the right.
What’s close by:
Manchester State Forest
City of Sumter with Swan Lake and Historic Downtown