Formed nearly 250 million years ago, the Appalachian Mountain range could’ve easily been as tall as the modern Himalayas. Time slowly weathered down these goliaths into the rounded mountains we have today but their beauty has lost none of its potency. Luckily, these aged peaks stretch down far enough to encompass a small region of our state… known as the Blue Ridge Mountains. One distinctly shaped mountain has caught the eye of natives and travelers throughout time.
Prior to European settlement, this area was home to part of the lower Cherokee nation. The Cherokee called the region "Sah-ka-na-ga," or "Great Blue Hills of God," and had various hunting camps across the hillsides and basins. Table rock is said to have acquired its name from a Cherokee story in which the flat-topped summit was used as a table for the Great Spirit to eat his meals.
Standing at 3,124 feet, the granite dome peak of Table Rock is surrounded by two other named mountains. Stool Mountain, located slightly below Table Rock, also received its name from the Cherokee legend as it was necessary for the Great Spirit to have a seat or “stool” while enjoying his meal. Directly West, Pinnacle Mountain’s peak juts out above the surrounding range. It is the second tallest mountain in South Carolina, falling short of Sassafras Mountain by just 139 feet. But to give credit where it’s due, Pinnacle Mountain’s entirety is within South Carolina, unlike Sassafras which shares a border with North Carolina. So, in a way, it’s the tallest mountain “in” our state.
Within Table Rock state park, there are two bodies of water located at the base of the mountain offering spectacular views, the closest of which is Pinnacle Lake. At the right angle, the mountain range is brilliantly reflected off of the lake making it one of the most breathtaking views in South Carolina. Directly behind Pinnacle, Lake Oolenoy’s 67 acres of pristine water provide a multitude of outdoor recreations.
There are also a total of six hiking trails within the park of varying difficulty. Luckily, you don't have to travel far to feel like an outdoorsman and catch a view of mountain streams or waterfalls within the oak-hickory forest. Carrick Creek Falls is found less than 100 yards from the starting point of the Nature Center, an easy trip to your nature fix. For the more experienced hikers, you can hike to the summits of both Pinnacle and Table Rock Mountain for an amazing view of the 3000 acre preserve and beyond.