03 Jun Outdoor Adventure and History Along Little River Blue Way
Within South Carolina’s Sumter National Forest, where Lake Strom Thurmond and Little River come together, an oasis of outdoor recreation awaits. Little River Blue Way teems with opportunities for fun and adventure for experienced outdoorsmen and families alike. Little River Blue Way cuts a 51 mile swath of waterway through breathtaking scenery, offering plenty of photo-ops and a healthy dose of playtime in South Carolina.
Old 96 District, itself a cornucopia of memories-in-the-making, surrounds Little River Blue Way. Rich in history wrapped around pine forests and fresh water shoreline, Old 96 District is anything but boring. Little River Blue Way is an excellent avenue to experience a little bit of everything Old 96 District has to offer.
Beginning in McCormick, take the Little River Blue Way 50-mile drive that cuts through the Savannah River Scenic Highway, and the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, and stop at the historic sites along the way. Many of these sites post a brief history on the marker, some dating back to pre-Revolutionary War times. Walk where our forefathers trod and learn a bit about the important role Old 96 District played in the birth of our nation.
French Huguenots, Protestants who fled to the New World so that they may worship freely, were among the region’s first White settlers. Of the historic sites along Little River Blue Way, many chronicle the settlement area of the Huguenots, such as the 1764 site of the Huguenot Church at New Bordeaux. All that remains of the log church is the peninsula of wooded acreage where Cane Creek meets the Little River, and a monument marking where the humble house of worship once stood.
The Huguenot’s Badwell Cemetery in Little River Blue Way is the final resting place of the founding pastor of the settlement, Jean Louis Gibert. A slave cemetery is also on these grounds, and many of the markers date back centuries.
Not far from the cemetery in Little River Blue Way is the site of the John De La Howe school and orphanage. The farm school was founded in 1797 for the areas poor and orphaned children. 1200 acres make up the grounds of this historic site, marked by a distinctive barn and silo.
By far, the biggest draw to Little River Blue Way is outdoor adventure. For those interested in outdoor recreation a step up from the norm, Little River Blue Way packs plenty of punch. Canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding along 51 adventure-charged miles of waterways await you in Little River Blue Way .
The diverse water trails accommodate every level of paddler. This protected land area is home to wildlife, and the forest waterway provides coves and inlets ready to explore. Waterfront camping is available in designated park land throughout Little River Blue Way.
There are miles of paved trails for the avid hiker, or mountain biker and hundreds of miles of unpaved paths through Little River Blue Way. Less than 30 minutes from Baker Creek Base Camp, several of the mountain bike and hiking trails have been recognized for their challenging terrain by such notable institutions as the International Mountain Biking Association.
Hickory Knob State Park, within the Blue Way, provides much more tame pursuits such as golf, tennis, swimming, boating, skeet-shooting and archery. The park also has a restaurant and lodge for those weary from a day of sightseeing and activity.
For a fun-filled family adventure, be sure to visit Little River Blue Way. There’s something for everyone and it’s a wonderful way to experience life as it was-and still is- in Old 96 District, SC.