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South Carolina

South Carolina State Parks

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USA Parks
South Carolina
Santee Cooper Region
Poinsett State Forest
Poinsett State Forest The Lake at Poinsett © Mike Covington
A view of the lake and diving platform at Poinsett State Park.
Walk on the Beach ©
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Poinsett State Forest is a picturesque natural oasis that encompasses 5,000 acres of captivating beauty within the Sandhills region. This forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering an array of recreational activities such as hiking, biking, camping, and fishing. Its diverse ecosystem boasts towering pines, picturesque lakes, charming streams, and serene wetlands. Visitors can explore the intricate network of well-maintained trails, soak in breathtaking vistas, and witness captivating wildlife, making Poinsett State Forest an ideal destination for nature lovers seeking solace and adventure in the heart of South Carolina.
History of the Area
The forest was established in 1934 with the acquisition of over 3,ooo acres of land in the High Hills of Santee region by the South Carolina Forestry Commission. This purchase marked the first time that the Commission acquired land for the purpose of managing a forest. It was named in honor of Joel Poinsett, a South Carolinian statesman, diplomat, and a botanist who introduced the poinsettia plant to the United States.

The land that would become Poinsett State Forest had been heavily logged in the past, leading to widespread deforestation and soil erosion. The creation of the forest aimed to restore and manage the land for the benefits of local communities, wildlife, and recreation.

During the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a vital role in the development of Poinsett State Forest. Several CCC camps were established in the area, and young men from around the country were employed to carry out various conservation projects. The CCC workers planted trees, constructed miles of firebreaks and forest roads, built recreational facilities, and even created a large lake, aptly named "Lake Poinsett."
1. Poinsett State Park offers 50 campsites for tents and RVs with water, electricity hookups, and picnic tables.
2. Primitive camping is available at the park's backpacking trailhead site which includes a fire ring but no amenities.
3. The Mill Creek County Campground nearby provides full:service sites including showers, restrooms, laundry facilities and Wi-Fi access.
4. Santee State Park close by also has lakeside cabins along with tent/RV campgrounds equipped with modern conveniences.

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Poinsett State Forest is located near Manning, Sumter and Columbia

1. Coquina Trail: A 0. 7-mile trail showcasing the park's unique coquina stone formations, with moderate difficulty level.

2. Old Levi Mill Trail: This is a short and easy 0. 5-mile loop that passes by an old mill site.

3. Knot Loop Trail: An intermediate-level hiking path stretching for about two miles through diverse forest landscapes.

4. Wetlands Wildlife Nature Trail: Easy to navigate, this one mile long boardwalk offers views of wetland wildlife habitats.

5. Whispering Pines Nature Trail: Approximately half-a- mile in length; it's perfect for bird watching due its location amidst pine trees.

6. High Hills of Santee Passage (Palmetto)Trail: It stretches over six miles offering hikers scenic views across rolling hills terrain.

7. Swamp Fox Passage(Palmetto)Trail: The longest within the state at forty seven-miles-long providing challenging hikes along swamps and forests.

8. Lakeview Loop: As name suggests provides stunning lake view throughout its three-quarter-of-a-mile stretch.

9. Mountain Laurel Hiking Trails: These are series of trails ranging from . 75 to 1 mile each looping around Mountain Laurel Lake.

10. Coopers Branch #2 Day Use Area & Walking Track: Offers picnic areas alongside a walking track which loops approximately quarter-of-a- mile.

11. Poinsett Reservoir Viewpoint Walkway: Short walkway leading up-to reservoir viewpoint.

12. Horseback Riding Trails: Over ten miles dedicated horse riding trails traversing varied terrains including hardwoods, pines, creeks etc.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
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1. Start on I:26 E from Columbia, South Carolina.
2. Take exit 116 for I:77 toward Charlotte.
3. Merge onto I:77 N and continue for about 15 miles.
4. Exit at SC:48 W/Bluff Rd and turn left after the ramp.
5. Continue straight to stay on Bluff Rd until you reach Congaree Road (SC Route 768).
6. Turn right onto Congaree Road towards Eastover town center.
7. After reaching Eastover, take a slight right onto Main St/S State Hwy S:.
8. Follow this road till it becomes McCords Ferry Rd or US Highway:601S.
9. Stay on this highway passing through Fort Motte till you see signs of Poinsett state park.
10. Turn Right into Park Entrance, follow signage within park to get around various attractions in forest area.

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South Carolina

South Carolina State Parks