Parson’s Mountain Gold Mines in Sumter National Forest
Location: Parson’s Mountain Recreation Area, near Abbeville, South Carolina
When to visit: Daytime hours
Time needed to enjoy: 10 minutes (the hike to get there may take around 30 minutes)
Website: https://www.sctrails.net/trails/trail/parson-s-mountain-tower-and-lake (unofficial)
Once, while relaxing at a quiet South Carolina campground for a couple days, I unexpectedly came across abandoned Civil War-era gold mines during a day hike. What a quirky thing to stumble upon!
They’re called the Parson’s Mountain Gold Mines and they date back to the mid-1800s during South Carolina’s Gold Rush days. The mine shafts are now surrounded by fencing, but you can look way down into them and imagine the days when people tried to hit the jackpot by excavating these precious materials.
The mines are found on the Tower Trail in the Parson’s Mountain Recreation Area. This is probably the most off-the-beaten-path quirky attraction I’ve written about so far, because it requires at least a 20- to 30-minute hike up the hill to see them. The trail runs past a nice lake before heading up toward the top of the hill, which is the highest point in South Carolina.
I’ve seen abandoned mine shafts from a distance before, but never this close. It was a fascinating sight and made me want to crawl down inside them… but I probably would have never made it back out.