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South Carolina

Blue Wall Preserve


Why you should visit: The Nature Conservancy acquired the Blue Wall Preserve in 1997. The Preserve is located in northeast Greenville County and is part of a mosaic of protected parcels that cover approximately 20,000 acres within the Blue Ridge Escarpment of the Southern Appalachians. The Preserve was designated as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society; 114 different bird species have been observed on the Preserve. There is a variety of natural plant communities, including: hardwood uplands, Virginia pine succession forest stands, saturated southerm shrublands and open-water lakes. There is also a majestic waterfall along the trails. 

The Cherokee called the Blue Ridge Mountains the “Blue Wall.” Standing at The Nature Conservancy’s Blue Wall Preserve, looking 1400 feet up the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment to views of Hogback Mountain and surrounding peaks, one can see why. This 575-acre preserve, named for this view, is part of a larger collection of 22,000 acres of conserved land that provide clean drinking water, quiet recreation and protection of ecological diversity in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. The Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment with its abrupt rise in elevation and abundant rainfall is one of the most ecologically important areas in the eastern US if not the world. The preserve hosts a variety of natural plant communities, including: hardwood uplands, Virginia pine successional forest stands, saturated southern shrublands, cold water streams, majestic waterfalls and open-water ponds. The Preserve was designated as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society.

Location: Northeast Greenville County, east of Hogback Mountain

Size: 575 Acres

Birds Observed on the Preserve: Canada Goose, Turkey Vulture, American Crow, Blue-headed Vireo,   Red-eyed Vireo, Broad-winged Hawk, Wood Thursh, Mourning Dove, Brown Thrasher, Chimney Swift,   Carolina Wren, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Carolina Chickadee, Pileated Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, Acadian Flycatcher, American Goldfinch, Eastern Phoebe, Northern Parula, Blue Jay, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Redstart,   Worm-eating Warbler, Oven bird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Northern Cardinal, and Red-winged Blackbird. Download Checklist.

What the Conservancy is doing: SCTNC is currently working on eradicating invasive plant species on the Blue Wall Preserve, including Chinese privet, kudzu, multiflora rose, English ivy, Princess tree, and Tree of Heaven. We also maintain a partnership with the Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF), which helps us update kiosk information and maintain trails. The PCF has established a part of the Palmetto Trail crossing South Carolina on the Blue Wall Preserve. Learn More

Blue Wall Conservation Partnerships
Blue Wall Focus Area: The Blue Wall Preserve is part of a larger collection of 22,000 acres of conserved land. The remainder of the properties, owned by area municipalities, are under conservation easements held in trust by the Nature Conservancy, to insure clean drinking water, quiet recreation and the protection of ecological diversity for the Southern Blue Ridge region.These partners, along with area agencies and organizations, meet several times annually to discuss ways they can cooperate on the stewardship of their respective properties and in the region. Partners include Town of Tryon, City of Landrum, City of Greenville, Spartanburg Water System, Naturaland Trust, and SC Department of Natural Resources

Blue Wall Passage of the Palmetto Trail: Soon after The Nature Conservancy acquired the Blue Wall Preserve in 1997, a partnership was created with the Palmetto Conservation Foundation to establish part of the statewide Palmetto Trail on the Blue Wall Preserve. Learn more about the Blue Wall Passage of the Palmetto Trail.

Furman Forest Partnership:  Realizing the preserve and surrounding conserved lands offered a wonderful opportunity to engage area students in ecological research, the Conservancy is working with neighboring property owners Spartanburg Water Systems, the City of Landrum and the Town of Tryon to provide Furman University students access to partner lands for ongoing research and field based learning activities. Known as the Furman Forest Partnership,  Through this partnership,  students  have not only helped to document plant and animal communities on these properties, they have helped answer questions regarding water quality, impacts of invasive plants on natural communities and how to value ecological services that conserved lands provide to surrounding communities.


For more information:

The Nature Conservancy
27 Cleveland Street Suite 203
Greenville, SC 29601
(864) 233-4988

The Preserve is located in northeast Greenville County near Lake Lanier and minutes from Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve. Click here to view on a map.

Parking
Ample parking is available at the parking area located on Pennell Rd. Please be advised that the next parking area available for the Palmetto Trail access is ~ 10 miles.

Trails

Palmetto Trail at Blue Wall: Enjoy a 2.7 mile easy one way hike along the Blue Wall Passage of the Palmetto trail. Those wishing to continue on the Palmetto Trail to Vaughn’s Gap will encounter a more strenuous 1.5 mile hike upon leaving the Blue Wall Preserve.  View a map of the Blue Wall Passage of the Palmetto Trail.

Waterfall Trail: 1 mile up the Palmetto Trail from the Pennell Rd. parking area, hikers have the opportunity to take a 0.7 mile hike around the north side of the pond for a nice view of a waterfall. This trail joins back up with the Palmetto Trail at the south end of the pond.

The public is invited to enjoy the preserve during the daylight hours. While at the preserve we ask you to please respect the site and follow these guidelines:

  • Stay on designated trails
  • Keep pets on a leash and clean up after them
  • No camping, fires or cook-outs
  • No bicycling
  • No use of motorized vehicles
  • Dispose of all trash (no dumping)
  • Do not disturb wildlife or plants
  • No Drug or Alcohol use
  • No horseback riding
Directions

From Greenville/Hwy 25:

  • From the intersection of Hwy 25 and Hwy 11, head east on Hwy 11 towards Gowensville.
  • Drive approximately 9.5 miles and turn left onto Oak Grove Road. This is roughly 1 mile past the entrance of the Cliffs of Glassy development.
  • Go approximately 5.5 miles on Oak Grove Road and turn sharply left onto Lake Road, just past the Oak Grove Baptist Church.
  • Follow Lake Road for approximately 1.2 miles and come to a dead end at stop sign.
  • Turn left onto Lakeshore Road.
  • Go 0.4 miles and turn left onto Dug Hill Road.
  • At 0.2 miles, turn left onto Pennell Road

Please park in the upper parking area and walk down Pennell Road to the Palmetto Trail and kiosk.

From I-26: 

  • Exit I-26 onto SC Hwy 14 (Exit No. 1).
  • Follow SC Hwy 14 west towards Landrum for 2.6 miles.
  • Turn right onto Mountain View Road.
  • Go approximately 1 mile to a stop sign. Continue straight through the stop sign onto Belue Mill Road.
  • Drive approximately 1 mile and turn right onto Oak Grove Road at the fire station.
  • Follow Oak Grove Road approximately 0.9 miles.
  • Turn right onto Lake Road.
  • Drive approximately 1.2 miles and come to a dead end at stop sign.
  • Turn left onto Lakeshore Drive.
  • Go 0.4 miles and turn left onto Dug Hill Road.
  • At 0.2 miles, turn left onto Pennell Road.

Please park in the upper parking area and walk down Pennell Road to the Palmetto Trail and kiosk.

Click here to view on a map.

Discussion

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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