My favorite time to hike is in winter and early spring. It’s a little cold, but there are very few people out, there are no bugs, and the vistas from the mountaintops are unobstructed by foliage. Table Rock State Park in northwestern South Carolina is a great park to visit all year, but especially in the winter. The people who come to swim in the lake in the summer and watch the leaves change in the fall have long since vanished by the time it turns cold. The altitude and shade allow the rare snowfall to linger. I love hiking in the snow.
There’s a short, two-mile loop called the Carrick Creek trail that features Carrick Creek Falls. I love hiking loops because I hate to backtrack—it feels like a waste of time. This trail has some elevation changes that might surprise you, but it’s generally easy enough for the whole family, even kids, if the ground isn’t slick and the creek waters aren’t high. If you’ve never hiked in the snow as well, I recommend picking up some trekking poles.
If you want to do something harder, there’s the hike to the summit of Table Rock. The Foothills Trail also follows the Pinnacle Mountain Trail before it diverges toward Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in the state of South Carolina. There’s even a trail that connects Table Rock to Caesars Head.