Traveler’s Rest — or “the T.R.” as many locals call it — is an outer suburb of Greenville. As the name implies, it is also an easy stop along the trip from Greenville to Hendersonville and Asheville, NC. This hilly, scenic community has plenty of ideal spots for stretching the old legs, regardless of whether you have two or four. There are also 10 dog-friendly restaurants with patio seating, including the hip local joint Sidewall Pizza.
There are several community parks that welcome on-leash dogs in Traveler’s Rest. Unfortunately, Trailblazer Park does not allow pets (we know, we know), but there is a walking trail at the five-acre Poinsett Park on the southern end of town, as well as a trail at Gateway Park on the northern end. Gateway Park is also a convenient access point to the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
The Swamp Rabbit Trail is more than 20 miles of mixed-use trail developed from an old rail line, and is a hot spot for both bikers and dog lovers from across the South Carolina Upstate. Beginning in Downtown Greenville and winding its way to and through Traveler’s Rest, the Swamp Rabbit will be a regular stop for your energetic pack. Some restroom facilities are available at stops along the trail, but remember water and waste bags.
The beautiful campus of Furman University lies over the south edge of the Traveler’s Rest city limits. College kids love dogs, so bring a Frisbee and get ready to score some extra pets and belly rubs. The 1.5 mile loop trail around the Furman Lake is smooth and level, great for a workout that even your short-legged friends can handle. If you’re interested in a longer journey, check out the route maps on the Live Well Furman website: it offers walking and running routes that range from 0.9 miles to 5K. As long as you’re in the college mindset, stop off and have a beer while your dog judges you on the patio of Karrie’s Deli and Pub in University Square just south of campus.
Just a few miles outside Traveler’s Rest, Paris Mountain State Park is a hill-walking paradise. Fun fact: Paris Mountain is a monadnock — a rocky mountain that rises up sharply from the land around it — like Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta. You can climb up or around it with your on-leash friends on the 15 miles of park trails. From the easy 0.75-mile loop of the Lake Placid Trail to the challenging 3.6-mile Sulphur Springs Trail, there are difficulty levels that will work for whatever size or shape pups you bring along. You can also try boating or splashing in the four lakes within Paris Mountain. There’s even free wi-fi at the Visitor’s Center so you don’t have to wait to upload all your awesome dog pics.
Trips into Downtown Greenville are part and parcel of the TR lifestyle. With such a stunning yet accessible city at your fingertips (or pawtips), why stay home? A great day in Greenville generally includes plenty of time in Falls Park, 10 miles away. With a natural waterfall in the middle of its city center, Greenville made the most of the opportunity and built a gorgeous, dog-friendly park with access to the Reedy River and falls, a noteworthy suspension bridge, and niche gardens with art installations. Since everyone in the Upstate shows up at Falls Park on a pretty Saturday afternoon, your fur-babies can make lots of new friends. You could walk home along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, but if it were us, we’d relax on the patio of one of the many dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating that dot the welcoming downtown Main Street corridor.
Pleasant Ridge County Park is 12 miles north of Traveler’s Rest, and well worth the trip. At 240 acres, it is quite a playground for your on-leash pups. The Leroy Smith Nature Trail is a little over a half-mile and leads to the Pleasant Ridge Falls and lake. For a bigger challenge, the JFA Trail is a 6 mile loop. A full trail map is available on the park’s webpage. A few miles farther to the northeast is Chestnut Ridge Heritage and Wildlife Preserve, an even larger expanse of woods and streams with an extensive network of trails open to leashed pets.
About 20 miles north of Traveler’s Rest is Caesars Head State Park, which shares the enormous Mountain Bridges Wilderness Area with Jones Gap State Park in North Carolina. Caesars Head is 13,000 acres of true mountain wilderness, but with free wi-fi available at visitor centers. You and your pack can take on the more than 60 miles of hiking trails. Make sure you bring a trail map and ample water, and stick to the well-marked trail system rather than setting out on your own. With six waterfalls including the 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls, reachable by a 2-mile trail, the scenery will stop you in your tracks.