The crunch underfoot on the revamped trail at South Carolina’s Sesquicentennial State Park, in the northeast side of Columbia, might not be natural – but it feels better to the soles than the old dirt path.
From Charlotte, Sesquicentennial State Park is about a 90-minute drive via I-77.
To see and do
Take a walk around the park’s 30-acre lake on the new crushed asphalt surface. It has a give to it that the packed dirt surface didn’t. In fact, it makes what has long been one of the sweetest two-mile hikes in the Columbia area even better. It’s easier to pay attention to the flora and fauna around you when you don’t have to look down for roots or runoff-scraped gullies.
The trail follows the same route as the old trail, close enough to the lake to allow curious children or anglers easy detours to the water’s edge. But it feels different in a variety of ways. Not only is the surface both softer and smoother, the path was widened. The few abrupt turns now are winding turns.
The surface is ideal for trail runners, but it’s loose enough for now to make it a chore to push a skinny-wheeled baby stroller. According to S.C. Parks, Recreation and Tourism, time and trail use should harden the surface somewhat. It’s wide enough for hikers walking in opposite directions to pass without one group having to step to the side.
The wood-deck boardwalk sections are a huge improvement over the former wetlands crossings. They were raised slightly and should remain above the water except after extremely heavy rains. The entire trail was designed to lessen erosion problems in the slopes leading down to the lake.
People who prefer to hike or bike on dirt trails still have plenty to choose from at Sesquicentennial State Park. The park also has a 3.5-mile loop trail comprised mostly of sandy roads, a 6.1-mile mountain bike trail and a short nature trail through a wetlands section.