Ellicott Rock Wilderness
Ellicott Rock Wilderness sits at the southern tip of the hazy Blue Ridge Mountains. Congress designated Ellicott Rock Wilderness in 1975, later expanding it in 1984. The wilderness spans three states in Sumter, Nantahala, and Chattahoochee National Forests of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia respectively. The wilderness provides visitors with bountiful opportunities to experience solitude and see an impressive array of plan and animal communities while hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, swimming, or kayaking.
For questions about or recommendations for planning your next visit to the Ellicott Rock Wilderness, you will need to contact one of the managing offices listed below by phone or email.
Andrew Pickens Ranger District (Lead)
112 Andrew Pickens Circle
Mountain Rest, SC, 29664
Office hours: 8 AM - 4:30 PM
Chattooga River Ranger District
Lakemont, GA, 30552
Nantahala Ranger District
90 Sloan Road
Franklin, NC, 28734
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||Trail difficulty varies from moderately difficult trails to extremely challenging off-trail opportunities. This is a federally designated wilderness area, which by law is managed to minimize human presence. Consequently, trails are neither signed nor blazed, and are maintained at a low level that results in their tread being difficult or impossible to see at times. The visitor must have an accurate topographic map, compass, and the ability to use both.|
|Permit Info:||Boating the Chattooga River requires a permit. More information on the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River and boating permits can be found here.|
|Open Season:||All year. Access varies with weather conditions|
|Restrictions:||No horses, bikes, wagons or carts. No motorized vehicles. Entering Chattooga Wild and Scenic River corridor, group size is limited to groups no larger than 6 while camping, 4 while fishing, and 12 while hiking. Dogs must be leashed at all times. Primitive camping is allowed. Camping and campfires are prohibited 50 feet from streams and trails to protect riparian areas, and 1/4 mile from any trailhead or road. Do not make new fire rings and remove any evidence of camping before you leave. Leave No Trace principles apply. For nearby free camping opportunities see Burrells Ford Campground.|
Ellicott Rock Wilderness has several good access points in both South Carolina and North Carolina. There are three popular access points in South Carolina:
To access the Chattooga River Trail at Burrell’s Ford in the southern region of Ellicott Rock Wilderness from Walhalla, SC, take Highway 28 for 8.5 miles north. Make a right at the fork onto Highway 107 and drive for 10 miles. Take a left at Burrell’s Ford Road (often not signed) and drive 2.5 miles down the gravel road. Park in the parking lot near Burrells Ford Campground along the road, or just on the other side of the bridge into Georgia.
Chattooga Picnic Area
To access the East Fork Trail of Ellicott Rock Wilderness via the Chattooga Picnic area from Walhalla, SC, take Highway 28 for 8.5 miles north. Make a right at the fork onto Highway 107 and drive for 11.5 miles. Take a left at the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery sign onto Fish Hatchery Road. Drive down the narrow, winding, paved road for 2.5 miles and park in the parking lot at the end of the road.
Sloan Bridge Picnic Area
To access the Fork Mountain Trail in Ellicott Rock Wilderness via the Sloan Bridge Picnic Area from Walhalla, SC, take High 28 for 8.5 miles north. Make a right at the fork onto Highway 107 and drive for 17 miles. Turn left into the Sloan Bridge Picnic parking lot just after the Highway 107 and State Road S-37-413 junction. Access to Fork Mountain Road is inconspicuous. The trailhead is located 200 feet north of the parking lot off to the side of Highway 107.
There are two access points located in North Carolina:
Ellicott Rock Trail – Eastern trailhead
To access the Ellicott Rock Trail’s eastern trailhead in Ellicott Rock Wilderness from Cashiers, NC take Highway 107 south for 7 miles. Make a right at Bull Pen Road and drive 2.5 miles along the paved and graveled road. Park at the Ellicott Rock Trailhead on the right hand side, trailhead is on the left.
Ellicott Rock Trail – Western trailhead
To access the Ellicott Rock Trail’s western trailhead in Ellicott Rock Wilderness from Cashiers, NC take Highway 107 south for 7 miles. Make a right at Bull Pen Road and drive 6.5 miles. Parking and the trailhead is on the left.
The wilderness is located near the area that has the highest recorded rainfall in the east. Be prepared for wet weather. In addition, temperatures in the wilderness are typically ten or more degrees cooler all year than in nearby Walhalla.
River and Stream Fishing
|Difficulty Level:||More to Most Difficult|
Alerts & Warnings
- Bridge closure on FS road 305 on Enoree Ranger District
- New digital payment options and online reservations at Enoree recreation sites
- Supervisor's Office not issuing passes until June 29
- No potable water at Parsons Mountain Recreation Area
- Please be aware of open well hazards on Sumter National Forest