About the USC Upstate Passage
This 1.3-mile passage of the Palmetto Trail begins on the campus of the University of South Carolina Upstate campus in Spartanburg, SC, and dives into a wooded forest on the banks of the Lawson’s Fork Creek. Visitors may enjoy pleasant vistas in the winter months as the hard packed dirt trail contours away from the trailhead at the Rampey Center and drops slowly to a T-junction at a picnic area above the Lawson’s Fork.
Here, users may continue either north or south on the Trail. To the north (left) the Trail follows a scenic route on a raised corridor above the creek. Amateur botanists may want to keep their eyes out for the dwarf-flowered heartleaf (Hexastylis naniflora), which is the only naturally occurring, federally endangered plant in Spartanburg County. The Trail passes a rocky knoll and a wooden bridge before venturing onto a single path on the banks of the Lawson’s Fork. The creek is a typical Piedmont stream that forms within sight of the Blue Ridge Mountains and flows for 29 miles through Spartanburg County. Kingfishers, great blue herons, mallards, beaver, and muskrat are common along its waters. In spring and summer months, it is possible to encounter nonpoisonous water snakes. (Contrary to popular belief, there are no cottonmouths in Spartanburg County.)
From Spartanburg, follow Pine Street to Interstate 585. Continue on I-585 to Valley Falls Road (Exit 22 North). Follow Valley Falls Road north to North Campus Blvd. Turn right onto North Campus Blvd. and follow approximately 0.5 miles to a sharp right curve. Turn left here into the Rampey Center parking lot. The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot.
Only hikers and mountain bikers may use this section of Trail. The USC Upstate Passage is marked with yellow blazes and a short spur trail is marked with white blazes. Hikers and bikers should wear bright colors during big game hunting season, which is from the middle of August through January. Because portions of the passage are located within a floodplain, some sections may be wet during rainy seasons.