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Oconee State Park Lake Trail

Oconee State Park's Lake Trail is the definition of "easy like a Sunday morning". When you first get there you immediately notice a lush green field opening up into the lake. The trail starts to the left near the water, however, you will find yourself in no hurry to start. You really can't help but take your time to pause and admire the small, glistening lake, which is something you will catch yourself doing during the entirety of this walk. It starts as a dirt path hugging the shoreline. Study the trees as you go and you will see several gnarly trees worthy of an appreciative smile (or hug if that's your thing) and signs of beavers chewing on the trees with amazing skill and precision. If you go a little early in the spring you may even get to see the rare Oconee Bell in bloom!

Twice the trail changes from a dirt path to a boardwalk as you cross over marshy land and small streams, which takes me immediately back to the trails around the Carolina coastal marshes. But the experience is short-lived and the memory returns to its place until next time as the dirt path returns.

Now, the strange part of this trail is the rental cabins on the water. You have to pass in front of them which always feels a little off to me, but I can't help but remark about how I would love to live in one of those rustic cabins. And I let my mind wander and imagine having a lake house and how amazing that would be to enjoy every day... someday! It's in this area you begin to see all the openings to the water, and it's here where you better remember to bring your camera. This is my favorite spot to sit under the shade of the trees, watch the kayakers gliding on the lake, listening to the frogs croaking nearby, and just melt into the landscape in total relaxation.

Continuing on, and it appears that the trail goes straight and away from the lake, but if you are going for easy, take the right going towards the benches and people enjoying the fishing spot. The trail finishes out by crossing on a concrete bridge over a spillway. Even though it is just an overflow for the lake and the water is quite shallow, I thoroughly enjoy standing on the bridge and watching the unceasing water slide down the hill, making its way toward the retired waterwheel. The concrete does give way to the natural creekbed and you can enjoy listening to the free-falling stream. Tucked away in the corner, you will see the old wheelhouse and a trail that allows you to walk down and explore. This is technically the start of the lake trail, but as it turns out, I prefer walking this loop in the reverse! This trail is a go-to for when you just want that easy walk on a Sunday afternoon and seeking some peaceful scenery

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