Travelers Rest and the Swamp Rabbit Trail

Travelers Rest and the Swamp Rabbit Trail

I first drove through Travelers Rest, SC about twelve years ago.  Key word being THROUGH.  There just didn’t seem to be a reason for me to stop as I went from the mountains (Caesar’s Head & Table Rock) to Greenville, SC.  It was mostly shuttered businesses along main street.

TR_city sign

Fast forward to April 2009 when a once-abandoned railroad track had a grand opening as the multipurpose walking/jogging/biking GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail and you begin to get a glimpse of a metamorphosis taking place.  Today, this trail encompasses almost 20 miles and sports half a million users annually.

But I’m going to focus on the short section I never seem to get past, or tired of, in Travelers Rest (TR to the locals).

The most Northern point of the trail is just beyond TR, parallel to Highway 276, but the joy of the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail (SRT) is that you can “hop” on anywhere.


TR_TRUMC parking lot

My favorite entry point is to use the parking lot at Travelers Rest United Methodist Church (19 S Main St) and gain access to the SRT from there.  (They don’t mind and would even love for you to drop in as casual as you are or use one of the friendly turquoise picnic tables on their grounds.)

From there I usually head South.  Because the trail was an old railroad line, the grade is low and easy.  In fact, it’s easy to walk much farther than you intended if you are accustomed to more difficult terrain.

Relatively quickly you will pass beside a gazebo, swings, and koi pond.  You may be tempted to grab a swing and just chill (and that would be a good decision!).  But a little farther down the trail is a split-off that takes you to Trailblazer Park.  Here the City of Travelers Rest hosts farmer markets, craft shows, and musical events in a spacious amphitheater and pavilion. Back on the trail and you’ll be at the campus of Furman University before you know it!

Whether you plan to go a short distance or long, by foot or by bike, leave time to explore the town.  It’s almost like two towns in one—from Highway 25 you get access to mostly fast food and big retailers while on Highway 276 (Main Street) you will find one-of-a-kind restaurants and unique retail stores.

The SRT runs parallel to Hwy 276 or Main Street, even crossing at one point, and you can find almost anything to eat along this stretch, from sushi, tacos, and burgers to pizza, ‘southern’, and crepes.  Two of my absolute favorites are Tandem Creperie & Coffeehouse (split the Lumberjack with a friend and you can thank me later) and Farmhouse Tacos (two tacos are plenty for me and I always make one of them the fried avocado).  I’d also recommend a latte at the first and just about any bar drink at the latter. But I’ve left out SO MANY other great stops (Café at Williams Hardware, Sidewall Pizza Company, Shortfield’s, Upcountry Provisions, Rocket Surgery, and more).  Be smart and do a little research before you go; know what you’re hungry for and you can probably find it in TR.  A great source for more information on what the city offers is at TravelersRestHere or

The last time I drove through Travelers Rest, I thought to myself “why am I driving THROUGH TR?  I should just stop here, eat, and rest!”.

Dave is a native Texan but has lived with his family in South Carolina since 1998, both in the Low Country and now the Upstate.  He grew up receiving photo compliments like “that must be a good camera you have” which is like telling a writer “that’s a good pen you have”.  Lately he realizes it’s as much what you see and feel on the journey as it is what you capture.  He caught the Instagram bug a couple years ago and loves to shoot images mostly using his iPhone. He recently founded instagram/@Discover_Carolinas on Instagram to highlight the beauty found across NC and SC using the work of amateur and professional photographers.

3 thoughts on “Travelers Rest and the Swamp Rabbit Trail

  1. Thanks for the great review of this special place I and many others call home. Wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t point out the official name is the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail or GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail.

  2. My grandson and his family are visiting from Vermont next week. Your review will want them to get out and walk the trail.
    Thank you for the kind words about our town and area.

  3. Great review of the trail! The Lumberjack is my favorite at Tandem as well. Thanks for the “shout out” to the church. It is so awesome to have free parking right in the middle of downtown.

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