Poe Creek State Forest
Poe Creek State Forest in Oconee and Pickens counties is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, affording spectacular views of the Piedmont, not to mention the abundant fishing and hunting opportunities. Straddling South Carolina’s scenic Highway 11, Poe Creek is also home to Long Shoals Wayside Park, a beautiful recreation area that spans a stretch of the Eastatoe Creek where locals and visitors alike congregate in warmer months for fishing, sunbathing and rock sliding in the cool mountain water. There’s also a conference center and mountain cabin available for rent on the property where families, work groups and lovebirds can enjoy the natural beauty and seclusion of this Upstate gem.
About Poe Creek
Poe Creek State Forest is a 2,498-acre tract in Oconee and Pickens counties near Lake Jocassee in the upstate of South Carolina. A roadside park and cabin/conference facility rentals round out this beautiful state forests’ many recreational offerings.
Of special note
Like all the state forests managed by the South Carolina Forestry Commission, Poe Creek State Forest receives no state appropriations from the General Assembly and is 100% self-sustaining. Operating funds for the forest, as well as salaries, are generated from the sale of timber products, land leases, Wildlife Management Area (WMA) permits and facility rental fees.
Additionally, Poe Creek State Forest pays 25% of its gross income to the local school districts in the counties in which the forest is located.
Things to do
Long Shoals Wayside Park
A popular 10-acre recreation area on Poe Creek State Forest called Long Shoals Wayside Park, originally managed by the SC Forestry Commission, occupies a stretch of the Little Eastatoe Creek along Scenic Highway 11 in northern Pickens County. The park, now managed by Pickens County, is a popular trout fishing site year-round (brook, brown and rainbow), but in summer months visitors enjoy sunbathing, swimming and sliding down the flat, gently sloping shoals into the (very) cold creek waters.
With the help of community volunteers led chiefly by upstate conservationists Dennis Chastain and Dr. George Smith, the Forestry Commission transformed this longtime party spot for locals into a must-see destination for travelers of all stripes back in the early 2000s.
Known as “Sliding Rock” to locals, Long Shoals Wayside Park is about halfway between the Piedmont Forestry Center and Keowee-Toxaway State Park on Highway 11; it has two parking lots, trails, picnic tables, a bike rack and a portable restroom. From the upper parking lot, follow the trail signs down to the shoals. Or park in the lower lot and take the fishing access trail to an area downstream of the falls.
Cabin and conference center rentals at the Piedmont Forestry Center
Also on Poe Creek State Forest is the Forestry Commission-owned and -operated Piedmont Forestry Center, the agency’s former Upstate nursery site, which offers a large conference facility as well as two cabins, each of which are available to rent by the public separately or in combination.
Please see the Piedmont Forestry Center Rentals page for more information about reservations, rates, capacities and rules.
Trout fishing is available in Little Eastatoee Creek at Long Shoals Wayside Park (see above) and in the Cheohee River, which flows right by the rental cabin at the Piedmont Forestry Center (see above). Visitors who rent either the conference facilities or either of the rental cabins at the Piedmont Forestry Center can fish for bass and bream on the property’s two-acre pond. A valid state freshwater fishing license is required to fish on Poe Creek State Forest. Fishing licenses can be purchased online through the SC Department of Natural Resources’ Online Customer Service Portal.
Fishing Rodeo at Piedmont Forestry Center
Every year in mid-May the Piedmont Forestry Center plays host to a youth fishing rodeo organized by the SC Department of Natural Resources. The free day of fun and fishing is for youth 12 and under; participants should pre-register online or by calling (803) 737-8483. Participants should also bring their own fishing equipment and bait.Adults are not allowed to fish at this event, only youth. Fishing takes place from roughly 9-11:30 a.m., and refreshments are typically available from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
For more information on the youth fishing rodeo at Piedmont Forestry Center, call SCDNR’s Clemson office at (864) 654-1671, extension 18.
Poe Creek State Forest is included in the SC Department of Natural Resources’ (SCDNR) Wildlife Management Area (WMA) program as part of a cooperative agreement between SCDNR and the SC Forestry Commission. Opportunities for hunting deer, bears, squirrels, rabbits and turkeys abound. SCDNR sets and regulates the methods of harvest, bag limits and other requirements for hunting on WMA lands, including Poe Creek.
Please visit Poe Creek State Forest’s Rules & Maps page for more information, including maps, safety precautions and rules and regulations.
Poe Creek State Forest is managed on the public’s behalf by the South Carolina Forestry Commission. For more information or questions, please contact Poe Creek State Forest Director Chris McCorkle at firstname.lastname@example.org or (864) 944-1104.
Poe Creek State Forest
151 Piedmont Nursery Road
Tamassee, SC 29686
Phone: (864) 944-1104