If you live in the upstate of South Carolina, then you have hiked Table Rock Mountain. I bet I can recap the trip for you: the trail was crowded, you cursed the steepness, and you were fooled by the fake summits. A few hours later you reached the top and you were amazed by the view of Greenville and the neighboring mountains.
What if you could get a comparable view without the crowds and hike a less strenuous trail? Good news: you can! Very few people realize that Table Rock State Park actually has a second mountain, Pinnacle Mountain. Here is some even better news: you already know how to get there. The trail for Pinnacle Mountain starts on the same trail as Table Rock, so you will still park by the swimming area and walk by the visitor center to start your hike. The trail is four miles and diverges from the Table Rock trail after the pavement ends.
Once you are on the trail you will start the gradual ascent. Roughly half way up the trail you will walk past a trickling waterfall. There is another waterfall, Mills Creek Falls, that requires a taking a side trail, but it is well worth the detour. When you are close to the summit you will reach a steep, straight section of the trail. I suggest buckling down and plowing through this section. Be thankful that you didn’t have to hike the dozens of the steep sections that are on the Table Rock trail. Next you will come across an open granite area called Bald Rock Overlook. On the side of the rock face there is a narrow side trail that leads to an overlook where your efforts will be rewarded with a beautiful view. This isn’t the peak, but the peak is in the middle of the woods without a view, so this is where I normally turn around.
On the way back you can either hike back down the Pinnacle Mountain Trail or take the ridge trail over to Table Rock mountain.