hepatica
Hepatica Wildflowers Hepatica (Round Leaf) © Alden Warner

Places We Protect

Nine Times Preserve

South Carolina

Nine Times Preserve is the wildflower showcase of the Southern Blue Ridge.

** ALERT: Nine Times Preserve suffered some storm damage from Hurricane Irma. Please note that parking and access currently is limited. Thank you for your patience!**

Named because nine bridges across a small creek were needed to gain access to the property, this 560‑acre nature preserve is one of the most biologically significant properties in the southeast. Located where the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains meet the Piedmont, The land encompasses five mountains that harbor more than 134 species of native wildflowers. It also is home to seven distinct forest types where black bear roam, unique rock outcrop plant communities where peregrine falcons fly, and headwater streams where trout dart.

The Nature Conservancy owns and manages the preserve to promote healthy native plant communities and wildlife populations. Nine Times Preserve is also designated as a state Wildlife Management Area under an agreement with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, which oversees fishing and hunting on the property.  Learn more about freshwater fishing regulations.  

Protection began at Nine Times Preserve when Upstate Forever purchased the property from Crescent Resources in 2007. The Nature Conservancy then took ownership in 2009, utilizing a $1.5 million grant from the South Carolina Conservation Bank and private donations from individuals and foundations.

In the winter of 2012, approximately 1.7 miles of trail were installed to give visitors an opportunity to explore the forests, ravines, and streams throughout the preserve. Funding from the Recreational Trails Program through the SC Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism made the trail installation possible.

Nine Times Preserve is located just off the Cherokee Scenic Highway (Hwy 11) minutes from Table Rock State Park and Jocassee Gorges State Management Area. With approximately 3 miles of trails to choose from this preserve offers a wonderful opportunity to take winding hikes along rushing creeks, through hardwood forests, as headwater streams course down nearby ravines and across mountain glades. 

Trillium Trail: An easy 0.25 mile hike one way along Eastatoee Creek, this trail offers the best opportunity at the preserve to view ephemeral wild flowers in spring. During the rest of the year enjoy a cool shady walk along the creek. Trailhead is located across the bridge from the Ephemeral Trail parking area located at the intersection of Eastatoee Creek Rd and E. Preston McDaniels Rd.

Rocky Bald Loop Trail: Located at the center of the preserve the Rocky Bald Loop trail is a moderate to difficult trail that winds for 0.6 miles along switchbacks up Rocky Bald Mountain. At this point hikers have the choice of continuing up Rocky Bald Mountain and eventually returning to the Rocky Bald parking area via an old logging road and a short hike along E. Preston McDaniel Rd. (1 mile) or taking the Cedar Rock Trail down to the Cedar Rock Parking Area (1.1 miles). Trailhead is located at the Rocky Bald parking area.

Cedar Rock Trail: A moderate to difficult trail along an old logging road that climbs up part way Cedar Rock Mountain. After approximately 0.5 miles hikers will reach a kiosk, at which point they have the opportunity of continuing another 0.6 miles to the Rocky Bald loop trail or returning to the parking area at Cedar Rock. Trailhead is located at the Cedar Rock Parking Area.

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 rules:

  • Stay on designated trails
  • Keep pets on a leash
  • No camping, fires or cook-outs
  • No bicycling
  • No motorized vehicles
  • Dispose of trash (no dumping)
  • Do not disturb wildlife or plants
  • No Drug or Alcohol use
  • No horseback riding
  • Hunting in accordance with SCDNR WMA regulations only
  • Fishing only along Eastatoee Creek and in accordance SCDNR Freshwater Fishing Regulations only

For safety, please consider wearing orange when hiking in October, November and April.