Palmetto Trail Handbook
The Palmetto Trail is a multi-purpose trail which connects the mountains of South Carolina to the seacoast. Most of it is unpaved and can be used for hiking, horseback riding, or mountain bicycling, although a few sections in the upstate are restricted to foot traffic only. Most of the trail runs through rural areas, although it does pass through downtown Columbia and even crosses the state house lawn! The terrain varies greatly, from nice hard-packed dirt to challenging rough trails.
A long section of the trail begins at Buck Hall Recreation Area on the intracoastal waterway, then proceeds through the Francis Marion National Forest, goes around the Santee-Cooper lakes, and concludes at the Wateree River near Wedgefield. Another section runs through Fort Jackson and into downtown Columbia, then to the Broad River. Beyond that, a number of shorter sections are open in the Dutch Fork area and in the upstate.
Note that the Canal Recreation Area in Berkeley County has been closed. A new parking area on the other side of the highway replaces it.
Here is a partial list of the places that provide parking and access to the Palmetto Trail: