May 19, 2020
Sassafras Mountain observation tower in Pickens County and Bald Rock Heritage Preserve in Greenville County, two of the Southern Appalachians' most popular and iconic tourist destinations in South Carolina, will reopen to the public on Wednesday, May 20. Both natural areas have been closed since Mar. 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was made to close both areas initially because large crowds were gathering. Officials with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) emphasized that as people return to the two landmarks, social distancing will have to be observed or they may be closed once again.
"People need to use good common sense when visiting Sassafras and Bald Rock," said Tom Swayngham, SCDNR assistant chief of wildlife. "They need to maintain a minimum of 6 feet in social distance from other visitors, and we would like for folks up there to wear masks, although we can't require that. If conditions get too crowded, we may have to limit the number of vehicles at these natural areas."
Additionally, bathrooms at Sassafras Mountain will remain closed. Please take any trash back with you and refrain from littering. Do not throw tissue, masks, gloves or other non-disposable items on the ground. Pack it in, pack it out.
"The views at Sassafras and Bald Rock are breathtaking, and we know how much people love them, but we need the public to help us in keeping everybody safe," Swayngham said.
Sassafras Mountain is the highest point in South Carolina at 3,553 feet. The observation tower opened on Earth Day April 22, 2019.
Bald Rock Heritage Preserve adjoins Caesars Head State Park and is part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. It provides scenic, panoramic views of the east side of Table Rock Mountain and the surrounding foothills of Pickens and Greenville counties.
Both sites are owned and managed by SCDNR.
Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina, in the fall. (SCDNR photo)
Bald Rock Heritage Preserve in the spring. (SCDNR photo)
Media Contact: Regional Public Information Coordinator, Greg Lucas at LucasG@dnr.sc.gov