June 5, 2023

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Stunning Views With No Hiking: Bald Rock Heritage Preserve

Stunning Views With No Hiking: Bald Rock Heritage Preserve

Views from Bald Rock Heritage Preserve, under an hour from Greenville, SC, are reason enough to visit this beautiful spot. Here’s what you need to know to visit this pretty place. 

I can’t remember exactly when I discovered Bald Rock. Maybe it was when I was curious as to why lots of cars were randomly parked on the side of the road heading up to Caesars Head State Park. I imagine that may be how a lot of people discover this place. 

It’s certainly a unique place and one that takes hardly any effort in order to experience a breathtaking view of Greenville and Table Rock. 

Bald Rock near Greenville

Bald Rock Heritage Preserve

Bald Rock Heritage Preserve, a land that stretches 165 acres, is actually managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and is part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness. There aren’t any signs that indicate where it is along the road but it’s easy to pull up on Google maps and it’s about five miles south of Caesars Head State Park. 

Once you park at the pull-off, it’s a short, easy walk to beautiful views. There’s a small wooden bridge next to garbage cans that you walk across and then up the granite, which opens to wide, beautiful views of the Carolina foothills.

There are pockets of granite that my kids like to think were made for them since they fit perfectly in many of these holes carved out by years of weather. There are also two headwater streams that run through the preserve, which provide an environment for rare fauna and flora.

There aren’t really hiking trails at the preserve but there is plenty of space for a picnic and to walk around the huge outcropping and explore the area near the streams in the woods.

Clean Up Efforts

The large rock outcropping has been vandalized with graffiti and excessive amounts of trash for the last several years, unfortunately. We always advocate following the seven principles of Leave No Trace when you enjoy the outdoors and it’s a sad sight when people leave a beautiful place much worse than when they found it. 

The Friends of Bald Rock, a volunteer-based organization that started in 2021, has led substantial clean-up efforts for the preserve. They’ve hosted several days of community-wide litter clean-ups and provided power washers to start removing the graffiti. On one day of cleaning up the preserve in October 2022, the volunteers collected more than 300 pounds of litter. 

They still have a long ways to go because the preserve has been so trashed in recent years (which isn’t the first place to be a victim of this kind of disrespect, unfortunately). People have had illegal fires, dumped entire cars off the rock outcropping, and strewn the area with broken glass and beer cans. 

If you’d like to help in the clean-up efforts, sign up for the email newsletter that Friends of Bald Rock sends out and see their calendar of upcoming volunteer events.

Fireworks, drugs, graffiti, alcohol, littering, and campfires are all illegal and perpetrators can be fined up to $465. If you see anyone defacing Bald Rock or using drugs, alcohol, shooting off fireworks, or the like, you can report them by calling 1.800.922.5431.

Enjoying the Preserve

My kids and I really love Bald Rock Preserve and usually stop there if we are hiking in the area. It’s always worth the stop to enjoy the views. We’ve taken our hammocks up there multiple times to read and even do our homeschool work. 

Hammocks at Bald Rock

Parents do need to be cautious about broken glass though. While clean-up efforts are on-going, there is still broken glass around, especially in the forested areas and even on the rock outcropping where people have had illegal campfires. 

Camping isn’t allowed by the way.

Pets are allowed at Bald Rock Preserve but must be kept on a leash. The preserve is open sunrise to sunset because of the vandalism. You don’t get a direct view of either the sunrise or the sunset but you will be able to see some beautiful landscapes.

Activities Near Bald Rock

Bald Rock Heritage Preserve is very close to Caesars Head State Park, which has miles and miles of hiking trails like the moderate Raven Cliff Falls hike and the Dismal-Naturaland-Gum Gap strenuous hike. The overlook at Caesars Head State Park is nearby as well and in the fall you can see the migration of hawks.

It is also near Wildcat Wayside Falls, Table Rock State Park, and Jones Gap State Park. Table Rock and Jones Gap have many miles of trails like the hard Table Rock Summit Trail and the moderately difficult Rainbow Falls Trail at Jones Gap.

Table Rock Summit
Table Rock Summit

If you’re headed to Pretty Place at YMCA Camp Greenville from Greenville, Bald Rock is on your way up there so it’s an easy stop. Additionally, Sassafras Mountain isn’t too far away. This beautiful spot is the highest point in South Carolina and you can drive right up to it and take a short walk to the platform. Fun fact: the platform splits North Carolina and South Carolina so you can literally stand in two states at one time.

Getting to Bald Rock Heritage Preserve 

To get to Bald Rock from Greenville, take Highway 11 to Geer Highway and go about 2.8 miles. The pull-off to the preserve will be on your right. There is usually a guy selling honey at a small table there. The preserve is about five minutes from Wildcat Wayside waterfall and five miles from Caesars Head State Park. 

If you type in “Bald Rock Heritage Preserve” into a map, it will come up and give you directions. It’s a very popular place so you’ll see a lot of cars parked there during most times of the year.

Bald Rock Heritage Preserve
6600 Geer Highway, Cleveland, SC 29635