I didn’t realize Baker Creek State Park is open seasonally from March 1 to September 30 until I started this post. Keep it in mind when you go out in spring in summer and check the website in case the times have changed.
I visited this park two summers ago as I drove along Lake Thurmond, chugging along on my road trip. This was one of several sites I visited. It was a hot day, perfect for a swim and a wade through shallow water. Besides swimming, one can go fishing, boating, hiking and biking, and camping. There are three trails here. The Wild Mint Nature Trail is one mile long and the hike/bike trail is ten miles, but I suppose one can make it shorter as there are three interconnecting loops. This trail takes one along Little River Branch of Lake Thurmond, and into the park interior. The third trail is hiking only and .7 miles long. In the official description it’s described as being both easy and moderately difficult. Sometimes it’s just subjective. I’ve been on trails rated difficult that I found moderate and I’ve been trails rated easy that I found rather difficult.
Whatever trail you take, or don’t take, the views of the lake are quite nice. If the shelter, the Lake Pavilion, hasn’t been reserved, that’s a nice place to partake in lunch, or use the picnic tables right by the lake.
The park is located in the Long Cane District of the Sumter National Forest and consists of 1,305 acres.
How to Get There:
The park is located a mile off US378 and west of McCormick.
What’s Close By:
Hickory Knob State Resort Park
Sumter National Forest
Three Rivers Greenway is more than what lies in Richland County, which is already quite a bit. There’s also a good chunk in Lexington County in West Columbia and Cayce. But this post will be on the Richland County side.
The three rivers in the title refer to the Broad, Saluda, and Congaree Rivers. The latter is created by the Broad and Saluda. The northernmost point of the greenway can be accessed north of Broad River Road. At the parking lot you can see the lock that starts the Columbia canal. Walk across that and you can see the diversion dam. It’s a nice walk through the woods on the island especially on a hot day. From here you can walk all the way to Riverfront Park in downtown Columbia. Unfortunately due to the 2015 flood, part of the canal on which the walkway ran is gone so it’s not possible to get to the Gervais Street Bridge and the State Museum.
Further South, though, is Granby Park. It’s located at the end of Catawba. Here the trail continues, swooping into the Olympia and Granby Mill area and through Olympia Park before puttering out. While part isn’t along the river, it is still a nice walk through a historic mill village and mills. In Olympia Park I was lucky enough to catch sight of a blue heron.
The walkways on the river are lighted and paved with boardwalks and overlooks. You can walk, run, or ride your bicycle. It is also wheelchair accessible. It is currently twelve and a half miles long and growing. At this time they are working on a segment on the Richland County side of the Saluda River, along the zoo.
Columbia’s The Comet Soda City Connector route started in late August. For now and until January February it will be free! According to the newscast, the free price may be extended if there’s enough interest. Otherwise it’ll be $1.50 (with no transfers). There are two routes. One goes from the The Vista to Five Points, and the other goes from the Vista to Taylor Street (Benedict College/Allen University area) It runs Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm. It begins/ends at the SC Museum, I think at the back near Washington Street. Both routes stop at Lincoln Street, on Main Street, the State House. Then one goes on to Taylor and Harden and the other to Five Points. Points of interest along the way are: Edventure children’s museum, Vista restaurants and shops, memorial park, Columbia museum of art, Maxcy Gregg park, Main street district, USC, Five points restaurant and parks, colleges.