Palmetto Trail – Blue Ridge Electric Co-Op Passage, SC

The Blue Ridge Electric Co-Op passage of the Palmetto Trail (PT) is 12.6 miles across the stunning and rugged Jocassee Gorge. On Saturday 4/2/2022, we drove upstate to hike a section of this passage with the Ladies of the Palmetto Trail. Our hike leader secured approval for us to start on a private trail that connected to the PT. If you look at the passage’s map in the reference below, we started around mile 5, hiked to near mile 7 then proceeded on a connector trail (between the PT and the Foot Hill Trail (FHT) ) to High Rock or Petroglyph Rock as referred to by the locals. The roundtrip hike was 7miles with an elevation increase of about 900 ft. (90 floors) up to 1800ft high. I adventured an additional short distance on the FHT toward Lighthouse campsite to snap a few photos of huge boulders. We saw colorful wildflowers, two beautiful waterfalls (one on private property), stunning vistas and even a few horse riders.

This hike was educational in addition to being enjoyable. My new friend Lisa explained that the circles we observed on the mountain side at High Rock, were in fact petroglyphs created thousands of years ago by Indians who covered sap with pots to generate Turpentine after exposure to heat. She had learned about this process on a previous hike with a naturalist from Clemson University. Who knew?! I googled this process and included a reference I found on this process below. Make sure to check out my video to see the petroglyphs.

Reference Palmetto Trail Blue Ridge Electric Co-op Passage, Trail map, Ladies of the Palmetto Trail, PalmettoTrail Hikers, Making Turpentine from SAP

Note: I received questions about the trailhead, since the one we took was private, I can’t refer you to it. Brad Caldwell kindly provided information on alternate -albeit longer ways to reach the rock. I hope you find it helpful: To get to Petroglyph Rock, you can start either at Sassafras or Table Rock on the FHT (about 5 miles 1 way) or come up from Alewine Rd to PT to Whalesback/Long Ridge, which is about 4 miles 1 way.

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7 thoughts on “Palmetto Trail – Blue Ridge Electric Co-Op Passage, SC

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  1. Beautiful photos as always! We were there just a week before you. I had never heard the turpentine theory of those petroglyphs! What an interesting place!

  2. It’s easiest to hike from Sassafras toward Table Rock since it’s mostly downhill. Not a strenuous hike, but it does require shuttling cars unless you want to hike back uphill!


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