Places We Protect

Blue Wall Preserve

South Carolina

View of a wide body of water with trees lining its shore and mountains in the background.
South Carolina Blue Wall Preserve © Cara Chancellor/TNC

The Nature Conservancy acquired the Blue Wall Preserve in 1997.



The Blue Wall Preserve is part of a mosaic of protected parcels that cover approximately 20,000 acres within the Blue Ridge Escarpment of the Southern Appalachians. With its abrupt rise in elevation and abundant rainfall, the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment is one of the most ecologically important areas in the eastern U.S. 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 1,400 feet up the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment to views of Hogback Mountain and surrounding peaks, one can see how the preserve earned its nickname.

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. 

What Are We Doing?

We are 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.

The Nature Conservancy is grateful to the Duke Energy Water Resources Fund for supporting road repairs at Blue Wall that improve water quality and benefit people and nature.




575 Acres

Explore our work in this region

The preserve is located in northeast Greenville County near Lake Lanier and minutes from Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve.

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.

Part of the trail near the ponds on Blue Wall Preserve is collapsing. This section of trail has been flagged. Please use caution when hiking through this area to avoid stepping in holes. We will repair the trail as soon as possible.

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. 

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 cookouts
  • 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

Birds Observed on the Preserve: Canada goose, turkey vulture, American crow, blue-headed vireo, red-eyed vireo, broad-winged hawk, wood thrush, 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.