Home » State Lands » Sand Hills State Forest » Sand Hills rules & maps

Sand Hills rules & maps

Bird watching on Sand Hills State Forest
Birdwatching does not require a permit.


You will need a permit for any activity other than hiking at Sand Hills State Forest; this includes fishing or riding horses, bicycles or motorcycles (motorcycles can only be ridden on forest roads). Permits are not required for hikers using the trails.

  • Daily permits are valid for the date of purchase only.
  • Individuals 16 years of age and older are required to have a permit in their possession.
  • Individuals 15 years of age and younger must be supervised by an adult 21 or older with a permit.
  • Recreational permits can be purchased online through sc.gov or at the Sand Hills State Forest office during regular business hours.

Sand Hills State Forest map

View/download the official Sand Hills State Forest map.

Boating / fishing

Fishing Pier at Mountain Lake SHSF
Mountain Lake near Sugarloaf Mountain is a popular fishing area.

Thirteen ponds, stocked with bass, bream and catfish, are open for fishing year-round. A valid state freshwater fishing license is required to fish on Sand Hills State Forest.  A valid state freshwater fishing license is required to fish on Sand Hills State Forest. Fishing licenses can be purchased online through the SC Department of Natural Resources’ Online Customer Service Portal.

  • Only electric motors are allowed on the ponds, except for Sexton Pond, which allows up to 10-mph gas motors.



In addition to camping for horse groups, Sand Hills State Forest offers 12 primitive campsites available for reservations. Eight campsites are in the Sugarloaf Mountain recreation area, six of which have accompanying sheds. Four additional sites are available, one with an accompanying shelter at Campbell’s Lake and three other single campsites without sheds at Hunter Pond, Lee Pond and Sexton Pond, respectively.
Call the Sand Hills office to make camping reservations: (843) 498-6478.

The Sand Hills State Forest Campsite Information page gives detailed information and photos of each campsite on the forest.

  • Campers must obtain a reservation from the Sand Hills State Forest office.
  • Campers must camp in the reserved site.
  • Lanterns must not be hung in trees or bushes.
  • The person obtaining a reservation is responsible for everything that happens in the reserved site.
  • Reservations run from 11 a.m. on day one until 11 a.m. the following day.

Camping fees
Family camping sites with shelters (1A, 1B, 2, 5, 6, 7) and the shelter at Campbell’s Lake – $15/day
Family camping sites without shelters (3, 4) – $10/day
Equine camping sites (8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, Hunter Pond, Sexont Pond, Lee Pond) – $10/day

Campsite photo gallery

Horseback riding

Horseback riding on SHSF

Sand Hills boasts more than 30 miles of horse trails for equestrian enthusiasts as well as a large area for horse trailer parking near Mountain Pond that contains several corrals. Overnight camping for horse groups is available at eight equine sites throughout the horse trailer parking area. Call the Sand Hills office to make equine camping reservations: (843) 498-6478, and see the camping rules and regulations below.

Trail etiquette
  • Use caution when overtaking another, and make your presence known in advance.
  • Obey all trail markings and crossings.
  • Obey gate closures and signs.
  • Ride to the right and single file.
  • Pack out what you pack in.


Sun flowers at Sand Hills State Forest
Sunflowers are great for doves.

Sand Hills 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. SCDNR sets and regulates the methods of harvest, bag limits and other requirements for hunting on WMA lands, including Sand Hills.
Hunting seasons and regulations for Sand Hills State Forest are published in the SCDNR Rules and Regulations Brochures.

All persons must wear international orange on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). A law passed in May 2015 requires deer hunters to wear international orange on all South Carolina WMAs. Specifically, the act requires that “all nonexempt persons must wear a hat, coat or vest of solid international orange while on Wildlife Management Area lands during deer hunting season.”
WMA regulations exempt persons hunting for dove, turkey, ducks, geese and other migratory birds, including crow, from the requirement of wearing international orange. All other persons on a WMA during deer season must wear international orange.

Activities NOT allowed on Sand Hills State Forest

  • Altering of trails
  • Swimming in ponds or creeks
  • Drugs or alcoholic beverages
  • Picking or cutting plants
  • Fireworks
  • Pets (unless on a leash)
  • Littering