Mountain Bridge Passage Hike
Mountain Bridge Wilderness, SC
Saturday, March 30th, 2013
A few years ago my buddy Darrin "Adopted" the Mountain Bridge Passage Trail. This means he volunteers his time to help maintain the trail. I decided to join Darrin, his son Evan, his friend Bob, and Bob's boys for a trail maintenance hike.
I knew this would be a slow paced hike, which would give me an opportunity to photograph what I hoped would be a nice display of early spring wildflowers.
I met the group at the old Camp Spearhead along US276 just north of Cleveland, SC which would be the end point of our hike. From there we piled into Bob's Tacoma and drove to the Oil Camp Creek Trailhead. We parked at the end of the drivable portion of the road and began our hike.
The trail starts off as an easy stroll along a wide track forest service road that follows Oil Camp Creek heading upstream for about a mile. There are many scenic cascades along the creek and several low-flow waterfalls on some of the tributary streams. I didn't bother photographing any of these since I had my Macro lens on the camera to concentrate on the wildflowers which were blooming in abundance!
Eventually they Forest Service Road joins up with the Pinnacle Pass Trail. The Mountain Bridge Passage starts about a half mile later. We would hike the entire 4-mile long Mountain Bridge Passage making for about a 5.5 mile hike.
This trail starts out all uphill until it crosses over Campbell Mountain, and then it is just about all downhill from there.
On the downhill stretch, the trail passes by several waterfalls. Most are fairly low flow and cluttered with deadfall making them not very photogenic. However, the last one is definitely worth a closer look. We took our main break of the day at the top of the falls giving me an opportunity to switch over to my wide angle lens and make my way down to the base for a better look.
According to Darrin, this one does not have a name, so I decided to name it Hamlin Falls. I figure since Darrin puts in many volunteer hours maintaining this trail, this waterfall should be named after him! We will see if this sticks!
The trail eventually leaves the Mountain Bridge Wilderness and enters into the Ashmore Heritage Preserve. There are several other trails that branch off in this area if you are looking to add a few more miles to the hike, but we just stuck with the main trail.
We also checked out Holiday Lake and some of the old camp buildings.
To finish up the day, Darrin led us to one more nearby waterfall that I was not aware of. This one is located on Robinson Branch about a half mile up Lawton Road from US276. Its an short but steep off trail scramble to get to the base of this one.
It was a great day to enjoy the outdoors!
The complete set of photos is posted here: