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November 27th, 2021
By Lauren Muller
This article was originally published in the Fall/Winter 2021-2022 issue of the Upstate Advocate, Upstate Forever's twice-yearly publication. To read a digital copy of the complete publication, please click here.
Adventure tourism is on the rise and travelers are increasingly seeking new places to connect with the natural world. The City of Walhalla’s Stumphouse Mountain Bike Park in Oconee is an outstanding example of how state-of-the-art trails can draw in visitors with an affinity for adventure from near and far. Upstate Forever holds the conservation easement on this property and protects it in perpetuity from residential or commercial development.
Nestled within the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the 440-acre Stumphouse Mountain Bike Park is a must-see for the rider with an affinity for botany. The park boasts over 14 miles of trails, which wind through a matrix of humid bottomland forests, ephemeral streams, moody tunnels of Mountain Laurel and dry upland stands of Loblolly Pine.
Riders will travel across damp coves blanketed in ferns, wild ginger, and fragrant hydrangeas. This opulent tapestry of understory plants is constantly in flux, each season revealing new wildflower treasures. Be sure
to stop at the edge of the Walhalla Reservoir to see Littleleaf Sensitive Briar growing happily along the border of the trail. Petite and charming, this delicate vine adorned with pink powderpuff flowers appears to be straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.
Along the Palmetto Trail, gaps in the forest canopy provide abundant sunshine for Black-eyed Susan, Goldenrod, Phlox and Wild Quinine. In the summertime, fallen petals of Mountain Laurel decorate the Lake Loop Trail like delicate confetti.
Stumphouse Park is a true gem of the Upstate that provides cyclists of all ages and skill-levels an excellent workout and a chance to experience the wildness of the Blue Ridge Escarpment region.