Connections for Sustainability

Connections for Sustainability home

Walk in the Woods

Blue Wall Preserve

with Livability Educator Jaclin DuRant

The Nature Conservancy’s Blue Wall Preserve in Landrum, SC is a wonderful place to take a walk in the woods, only an hour from downtown Greenville. The trail at the Blue Wall Preserve is a part of the Palmetto Trail, but there is a spur loop that allows hikers to circle back around if you aren’t planning on a through hike. There’s definitely some serious elevation change at the Blue Wall preserve, and the whole trail is definitely more strenuous, but if you’re looking for a beautiful walk in the woods, you don’t need to hike the whole trail for some spectacular views.

photo of Early fall wild flowers offer amazing pops of color

Early fall wild flowers offer amazing pops of color

The Blue Wall preserve takes its name from the Blue Ridge escarpment, the sudden change in elevation that occurs between the piedmont and the mountains in the north western corner of our state. Though the mountains make up less than 2 percent of the land area of South Carolina, they are one of our state’s most diverse and unique landscapes and are considered a hotspot of biodiversity.

photo of A Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) at the Blue Wall Preserve

A Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) at the Blue Wall Preserve

I chose a day in early fall for this hike. The leaves were beginning to change colors on some of the trees, but summer was still hanging on. I parked my car in the parking lot and enjoyed a leisurely walk down an old road bed into the preserve. The woods were alive with bird song, the sounds of insects, the rustling of small mammals. It seemed like everybody was out, getting in some last minute fun and work before winter set in.

photo of Muscadine grapes ripe on the vine and just out of reach

Muscadine grapes ripe on the vine and just out of reach

The Blue Wall preserve contains two small lakes. Though I didn’t see any beavers, there was evidence that they may have been present and just hiding out. The glaciers that were responsible for most northern lakes never reached South Carolina, so lakes and ponds in the South East are almost entirely man made. Exceptions to this include oxbow lakes, Carolina bays, and beaver ponds. Though considered a nuisance by some people, beavers are what ecologists call “ecosystem engineers.” The lakes, ponds, and wetlands created by beavers provide important habitat for aquatic animals, resting stops for migrating birds, breeding habitats for amphibians, and more.

photo of A dragonfly patrolling the edge of a small lake

A dragonfly patrolling the edge of a small lake

The small lakes at the Blue Wall preserve were teaming with life. I watched a Kingfisher fly across the water, and then abruptly turn and fly the other way as it narrowly escaped capture by a dive bombing hawk. Dragonflies and turtles basked in the sun along the water’s edge, and in one corner of the first lake, hundreds of small frogs scattered at my approach.

photo of A Red Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis) spreads its wings in the early fall sun

A Red Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis) spreads its wings in the early fall sun

My only regret for the day is that I only brought my macro lens with me and was unable to capture the stunning views of the Blue Ridge escarpment from the second lake. Hopefully, I will get a chance to go back soon to enjoy this beautiful spot.

Return to Walk in the Woods homepage Woods Walk Homepage