Adventure Abounds in Poinsett State Park

As far as State Parks go, Poinsett may be tucked away and less famous than Sesqui, Table Rock, or Myrtle Beach State Parks. But, Poinsett is quickly becoming the premier location for mountain bikers and hikers.

With almost twenty-miles of trails, campgrounds or cabins, and only twenty minutes from Sumter, Poinsett is the perfect get away for nature and outdoor enthusiasts.  The park also offers a variety of other activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, stand-up paddle boards, and educational programs. Every year it hosts Take A Kid Mountain Biking, First Day Hikes, National Trails Day, and the Knot Mountain Bike Race; all of which support the community and encourage outdoor and active lifestyles.

All of the trails in Poinsett are multi-use for both hikers or mountain bikers, vary in length from 1.5 miles to 5.3 miles, and intersect so trails cab be combined for a longer adventure.  Easy to read trail maps are provided in the Ranger’s Office and all of the rangers are very knowledgeable about the trails and can tell you which trail best suits your needs.  The trails are color-coded with clear tree blazes in corresponding colors; making these trails easy for even basic or beginner hikers to follow.

In addition to the great trails inside the park, the Palmetto Trail also cuts right through the park, utilizing pre-existing trails.  The Palmetto Trail is a 400-plus mile trail that bisects our state in half and is maintained by the Palmetto Conservation Foundation.  It is divided into different sections and can be day- or thru-hiked.  The Wateree Passage starts in Manchester State Forest (which surrounds Poinsett), becomes the High Hills of Santee Passage as it enters Poinsett and then meanders out of the park and down to Mill Creek and the Lake Marion Passage.  The Palmetto Trail adds another 20+ miles of trail near Poinsett.

Dubbed the mountains of the Midlands it is part of the sand hills region—meaning that millions of years ago it was the beach of the ocean—and the diversity of plant life astounds even avid naturalists.  It is one of the few places people can see Spanish Moss draped from a Mountain Laurel. Poinsett is also rife with history.  It was once a rice plantation, a grist mill (ruins of the mill can still be seen there today), and was one of the parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930’s.

Camping is available for primitive sites, with water and electric hook-up, or RV hookups and the campgrounds, as well as other facilities, are always immaculately clean.  The rangers are like family, and the activities offered are simpler and quieter without the hustle and bustle of more tourist destinations.

Call Poinsett today or visit their website and make arrangements to visit this quaint park.  Spend the day or spend the weekend at Poinsett and fall in love with outdoor adventure all over again.

Deanna Anderson is an avid day or section hiker who is hiking her way to becoming an Ultimate Outsider as well as completing the Palmetto Trail.  She is a published author and a freelance writer for The Sumter Item newspaper and Lakeside Magazine. 


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