Saturday, August 27, 2011

Return to Keowee-Toxaway State Park, South Carolina.

11 Front Sign

Table of Contents

Keowee-Toxaway has to be one of the nicest RV camping Parks in the South Carolina State Park system. Built on the shore of Lake Keowee around 1970, if memory serves, with generous help from the Duke Power Company that controls the Lake.

You begin to enjoy Keowee-Toxaway well before you arrive. Since travel there from most any part of the State, or from other states, for that matter, takes the visitor over some of South Carolina’s most beautiful roadways.

For example, Route 11, also known as the Cherokee Highway. This road is well worth driving just for the scenery. So once you’re unhooked at your campsite, you may want to go back out the gate and drive ten or twenty miles in one direction on Route 11, and then ten or twenty miles in the opposite direction. It’s worth the gasoline, even at today’s prices! You see a small piece of Route 11 in the photo at the top of the page. It runs right through the Park.

12 Campsite 4 PanoNow, Keowee-Toxaway has only ten RV campsites. In addition to the tent sites just down the hill. Here you see Site # 4, a pull-through at the top of the ridge.

03 mapDid I mention that these ten campsites all have been carved into the side of a steep ridge. This mountainous terrain gives each site an inviting character. And they’re all nice and level, once you get there! Here’s an effort to reproduce the campground map that’s handed out to visitors, with site # 4 indicated by the red arrow. If you click for a larger image you’ll see the lines indicating elevation.

02 Looking toward lakeOnce you’re set up this is the sort of view you’ll have from your picnic table or RV window. Here you’re looking toward Lake Keowee from Site # 4. Leaves on the trees at this time of year block the view of the lake, but it’s there. I’ll try to remember to take another photo from here during the winter, when the leaves have fallen. Quite a sight. A good excuse to come back.

05 picnic shelter and museumThe Park Office was on the other side of Route 11 when the Park was built. Part of the impressive Cherokee Museum complex over there. In the building you see on the left of the photo above.

07 Office former churchBut now it’s in the this interesting structure across the road. Just down the hill from the RV campsites. As you may have guessed, it’s an old church building, moved from its nearby site and renovated here. I didn’t get a chance to see inside this trip, but recall the Park had plans to create a museum area inside. One that would include many of the Cherokee-related pieces formerly displayed across the road and now in storage.

06 new parking lotSoon, the office area, and more important, the trailhead just behind the office, will have a new parking lot. Look at this new construction! I suspect that Duke Power kicked in some support funding here.

08 Canoe-Kayak Boat Ramp ConstructionAnd speaking of construction, even more significant, at least for an ElderKayaker like me, is this new canoe-kayak boat ramp! Look at that! Complete with its own parking area. When completed this will be an ideal place to put in and take out. Parking available just steps away from the water.

10 CabinWell, time to get back outside to better enjoy this beautiful Park. But before signing off, just a word about Keowee-Toxaway’s cabin. They have only one. And it stays rented most of the year. So, be sure to reserve early. Right on the shore of Lake Keowee, with its own private dock. Oh my.

I didn’t get to look inside this trip. But according to a Park staff member, this cabin has three bedrooms, and sleeping facilities for ten people. You can find more detailed information with a click here. It’s not cheap. But if you have any reluctant, or campophobic, family members, this might well persuade them to come out and enjoy the woods and water.

Stay tuned next for a visit to Oconee Station State Historic Site, just a few miles away Click here.

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