This recommended loop hike provides a scenic tour through the High Hills of Santee, which are found through the western region of Sumter County. These "hills" are in fact ridges of sand leftover from an ancient ocean. With time, the sand, shells, and other organic material morphed into "coquina," a type of limestone (see the Coquina Trail
Given the extensive trail network at Poinsett State Park, this loop can be done in reverse or adapted for groups of varying abilities or time constraints.
Trails are open to mountain bikes and frequently maintained by the local MTB club, Midlands SORBA. Park open 9 am to dark. Visitor Office open 11 am - 12 pm, 4 pm - 5 pm. Admission: $3/adult, $1.50/senior, $1/children (6-15), free/5 and under.
From the parking area north of Old Levi Mill Pond, head east onto the Splice Trail
for a nice, undulating warmup. After 0.75 miles, look for the Whippoorwill Trail
to the left. At over five miles in length, the Whippoorwill Trail
makes up the majority of the mileage on this hike, which makes for easier navigation (if in doubt, check out the Hiking Project mobile app
for on-trail navigation).
Head north to begin a brief climb, passing some cabins on the right. Continue along the Whippoorwill Trail
as it snakes and bends back upon itself, looping to the north around the Campground. Cross the Scout Trail
(a good trail to take, heading left (south), to shorten this hike) and wind along more hilly contours before crossing the Scout Trail
in the other direction at signpost #26. This is another intersection to bypass some mileage by heading left (north) on the Scout Trail
, either crossing the Cowasee Trail
or taking the Cowasee Trail
back south toward signpost #31.
For this hike, stick to the Whippoorwill Trail
up toward signpost #29 before continuing onto the Cowasee Trail
south to signpost #31 and a brief section of the Palmetto Trail: Wateree Passage to the parking lot.
Longleaf pine, mountain laurel, frogs, woodpeckers, hawks, bats, and snakes.