a good moderate hike
length total 5.5 miles
Owned and managed by the SC Department of Natural Resources, the 1,886-acre Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve bears the name of a prominent mountain within its boundaries. That mountain harbors the white irisette, Sisyrinchium dichotomum, a perennial, designated as federally endangered. The plant has leaves that appear as forked blades; its flowers are diminutive and pale white. The plants grow in rich basic or neutral soils.
The property varies from early successional forest, left from clear cutting by the previous owner, to mature upland and cove hardwoods. Numerous rock outcrops jut out of the rugged Chestnut Ridge and Squirrel mountains, which are separated by the upper South Pacolet River. The river is creek-like in its dimensions within the property.
Visitors may enjoy a hiking trail on the preserve. The trail is 2.75 miles one way (so 5.5 miles round trip). The trail leads from the parking area on Oak Grove Road, up the south side of Squirrel Mountain and then descends the north side, ending at the South Pacolet River. The trail is moderate in difficulty and passes through different seral stages and forest habitats. Spring wildlflowers, such as bloodroot, and large boulders and outcrops are visible from the trail. The trail is for hiking only. Mountain bikes, horses, motorized vehicles and camping are prohibited on the preserve.