Greenville County Lake Conestee Nature Park Swamp Rabbit Trail

Lake Conestee Nature Park

Boardwalk on Racoon Run
My wife Jenny and I had the opportunity to take a hike together this weekend. Just us. Well, us and baby Skylar. It seems like ‘original’ plans aren’t coming together a lot for me lately. The thought was to hike out to the Raven Cliff Falls observation deck. After the November 1st snowfall and the temps still being in the 30’s, I thought it may be too slippery trying to hike it with Skylar in the Ergo carrier. Having been in the same parking lot the previous day for the Coldspring Branch/Bill Kimball loop hike, and I was slipping and sliding on those trails before they had an overnight freeze. I had some idea of what it might look like. I started having visions of a trip we took in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for my daughter Emma’s 3rd birthday. That trail to Rainbow Falls from Roaring Forks was covered in ice and snow, very slippy. Yeah, whatever.. I erred on the side of caution.

Still, we went to a place that was nearly new and certainly unexplored to me. I had a few minutes on Halloween night to venture a few steps into Lake Conestee (CON-is-tee – I asked someone who works for the preserve) Nature Park, so I was eager to see what laid beyond the bridge that crossed the Reedy River.

Mallards in the marsh
We parked at the Bridge Entrance, and walked Heron Circle. No luck on seeing any great blue herons today, though. The loop was a really pleasant walk along the outer edge of Sparkleberry Island (according to the Learning Loop informational signage). On the southern edge, there’s an observation deck looking out over the West Bay, which I found quite nice. There were several boardwalks and planks on the trail for when the ground gets soppy wet. My kids would love this, and I plan to take them.

Finishing up Heron Circle, we took a couple connectors, crossed a wooden bridge that a small flock of mallards were watching over from the water, and picked up the Flat Tail Trail, moving south. The was another nice meander through the woods. My goal was to get to the Bird’s Nest Observation Deck and snag a view from the top. Now, I didn’t know it was an elevated platform, but given its name I knew it was an elevated platform. More great views. We weren’t even tired, so I was already thinking about scoring one more spot on this hike. Skylar was still hanging in there, so we would see how she was doing once we got back to the bridge over Reedy River.

Bird’s Nest
Turns out, Skylar was doing just fine. We got on Raccoon Run to my next goal, Easy Bay View. I figured it must be a good one since there was even a sign for it at the intersection. None of the other decks had pointed signage. A really nice elevated boardwalk guided us along the banks opposite of Sparkleberry Island. The boardwalk eventually ended, and the trail was easy to follow and walk on all the way to the East Bay View. This was by far the best and most open view we had seen today. Fantastic!
East Bay View
A short walk got us out of the nature area, and we were on blacktop walking next to baseball fields on our way back to the car. What a contrast. Not necessarily bad. It just gave Mr the gratitude for what a treasure the park is for Greenville County.

This is a great spot not just for your kids, but also for a break from the busyness that is always buzzing in Greenville. Really, if you’re wanting to get into hiking, and looking for something flat and easy, Lake Conestee Nature Park is a great and scenic place to visit. Living in Greenville suburbs myself, my go to spot for an easy hike has been Paris Mountain’s Lake Placid or the section of Sulpher Springs Trail up to the dam at Mountain Lake. Those are still nice family hikes, but for the effort, flexibility, and scenery, I am going to be switching to Lake Conestee. It doesn’t even cost anything to get in. We were able to see a lot of the area, covering 2.75miles in an hour and a half. I can’t wait to see more of what is in Lake Conestee Nature Park.

I really want to encourage you to visit a clean breath of fresh air thats tucked away right in our backyard. For more information and maps, visit

cycling Greenville Race running Swamp Rabbit 5k Swamp Rabbit Progress Swamp Rabbit Trail Traveler's Rest walking

Swamp Rabbit Trail progress

The Swamp Rabbit 5k is tonight, and I’m excited to be participating in it with my wife, Jenny.

The race, however, is not where most of my excitement for this trail is. Last year, I started biking the Swamp Rabbit from Traveler’s Rest to Greenville. Recently, there has been progress on Cleveland St and it’s almost done! A 170 ft bridge that crosses the Reedy River near the entrance to Greenville Technical College is getting it’s finishing touches as of this morning. From there, the trail continues all the way to S Pleasantburg Dr. From tip to tip, I believe the length is approximately 14.5 miles now. This will be a great trip once this stage is completed!

In Lake Conestee Nature Park in Mauldin, there is already a network of walking and iobiking trails. One of these is the Swamp Rabbit. It goes from Lake Conestee to the I-85 ptytlppoverpass on Parkins Mill Rd. Eventually, this will be connected to the main artery of the Swamp Rabbit. I’ve speculated about routes it will take. I know there has been some controversy over the trail going through private land, but I’ve also heard that a compromise is coming along well. Perhaps it’s already happened and I don’t know the results. As I can see it, best result is to take the Swamp Rabbit along the golf course and the Reedy River, following it under Pleasantburg near the South Pleasantburg Nursery (which has a TON of stuff, if you’re into plants and gardening and all that) and finally connecting at the overpass on Parkins Mill. But who knows.. I’m just speculating.

I have only been on the Swamp Rabbit once this year, but I’m itching to get back on it. Hopefully that will be the next excursion after Panthertown Valley. It really is a great way to get outside and enjoy Greenville if you haven’t done it already.

But until then, we’ll be joining 4500 other participants in the race tonight.

See you on the Swamp Rabbit, Greenville!