Pickens, South Carolina is the county seat of Pickens County and just half an hour from bustling Downtown Greenville. Though its full-time population hovers a little over 3,000, Pickens is also a hub for nearby rural communities. This small, friendly town has plenty of resources. There are three pet-friendly restaurants in Pickens, including the canine-oriented Coyote Coffee Café, as well as a local animal hospital. Pet supply stores are available in nearby Easley. Plenty of other shopping, dining, and specialty vet care facilities are accessible throughout the Greenville suburbs.
There is fun to be had right in the heart of Pickens, too. Jaycee Park is a picnic spot and playground great for a quick walk. The park is also the trailhead for the Town Creek Trail, which meanders through the adjacent 42-acre recreation complex. This pawpular bike path is also open to on-leash dogs, but please keep an eye out for two-wheeled speeders who might startle your four-legged friends.
Just a few blocks south is the trailhead for the Doodle Trail, one of your furbaby's future favorite places in the whole world. This 7.5-mile converted rail line now serves as a mixed-use trail where you and your buddy can run off a whole week’s worth of stress. Be sure to bring water and waste bags!
With a Pickens mailing address but closer to the community of Sunset, the Nine Times Preserve offers 560 acres of wilderness, wildflowers, and woods for your pups to explore on-leash. The preserve’s three hiking trails: the easy Trillium Trail and the moderate Rocky Bald Loop Trail and Cedar Rock Trail, comprising a total of nearly two miles. There are two nearby state parks, and just two miles from Nine Times is the small but beautiful Long Shoals Wayside Park. This 10-acre retreat on the Cherokee National Foothills Trail Scenic Highway features a loop trail and a rocky shoal in the creek ideal for splashing. With easy parking and no crowds, it is an uncomplicated way to walk on the wild side.
Just 8 miles from Pickens, the Greenville suburb of Easley is a dog-friendly shopping hub and -- more importantly -- home to the nearest off-leash dog park. The Bark Park has fenced play areas for both large and small dogs. There are also water and waste stations as well as some pawesome agility equipment to help you unlock your pups’ athletic talents. When it’s time to fuel up, consider a stop at any of the 10 dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating, and maybe a stop at the local Saluda River Pet Food Center. If the fleas don’t scare you off, you can even take your pups with you to the outdoor Easley Flea Market and see what treasures they can sniff out.
Only 12.5 miles from downtown Pickens, the stunning mountain views of Keowee-Toxaway State Park will turn any weekend into an adventure. Keowee-Toxaway is 1,000 acres of woods and water, perfect for playing away all your pack’s pent-up energy. Swimming in Lake Keowee and Poe Creek is permitted throughout the park, which means your water dogs are in for some serious fun. There are also 5 miles of walking trails open for on-leash pups. Sharing a trailhead, the mellow 1.5-mile Natural Bridge Nature Trail and the tougher 4.2-mile Raven Rock Loop Trail offer different levels of challenge for short- or long-legged companions.
With the beautiful Appalachian foothills on your doorstep, it makes sense that Pickens would have plenty of parkland nearby. Table Rock State Park is a 3,000-acre hotspot for pups and their people. In spite of its Pickens address, this lush wilderness is about 13 miles from downtown. The six different hiking trails range from easy to very strenuous. The 0.6-mile Mill Creek Pass Trail might be best for your tamer companions. Meanwhile, the difficult 3.6-mile one-way hike to the summit on the Table Rock Trail, climbing almost 2,000 feet, might be just the kind of challenge your fittest furbabies are begging for. The views are certainly worth it!
Downtown Greenville is the most urban community near Pickens, just a 20-mile drive away. With its accessible parking and protected green space, Greenville offers excitement without city stress. The downtown shopping district features tree-lined sidewalks along which a wide range of casual and high-end restaurants serve pets and people at outdoor tables. Many of the shops and galleries also welcome on-leash visitors. Stroll down to Falls Park, the gem of Greenville. Beautiful landscaping, gardens, and art installations surround the dramatic Liberty Bridge across Reedy River and the natural waterfall at the center of it all. Falls Park is also an access point for the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a converted railway that is now a multi-use trail connecting many of Greenville’s parks and extending more than 20 miles to the town of Traveler’s Rest.