After a stop at the top of the rock, one could turn back and call it a day, but I recommend continuing the journey because there’s a lot more to discover. Here you have two options: The Forty Acre Rock Trail, a 1.7-mile loop (including the service road you started on), or the Forty Acre Rock and Beaver Pond Trail, which is 3.9 miles all together.
The trailhead from the rock is not obvious, but also not too difficult to find. Before you go, you might consider downloading the AllTrails app, which gives you a real-time location map as you hike to keep you on track. The trail is marked by white diamond blazes that read “Heritage Preserve Trail” in green lettering. Some of the markers are easier to find than others.
To add the Beaver Pond loop to your hike, follow the trail across the bridge where the creek bends and take an immediate right along its banks. This will lead to some of the richest areas of plant and wildlife species protected by the preserve. It is also probably our favorite part of the adventure.
The Forty Acre Preserve is open during daylight hours. It is meant for hiking only; no bikes or motorized vehicles permitted. Keep in mind that there are no restroom facilities.
If you’re looking for a hike off the beaten path, consider this one. And go ahead and plan to enjoy the full experience by taking the long loop. It’s rewarding on a number of levels.
How to get there:
The Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve parking is located at 2207 Conservancy Rd., Kershaw, SC, 29067.
Don’t forget to take:
- Comfortable walking shoes: Hiking boots would be nice to have, but not necessary. If you or your kids want to rock-hop in the creek, consider water shoes.
- Water and snacks: Bring enough water for during and after your hike; there are no facilities for refills.
- Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: While the trails are mostly shaded, the rocky bald is wide open.
- Bug spray: Especially during warmer months.