Tamassee Knob is a geological feature along the Blue Ridge Escarpment that stands out because of its separation from the Oconee Plateau. Due to this separation and its height, the Knob suddenly appears as solitary “bump” rising about 800 feet above the flatness of the Cheohee Valley.
To get to the trail head, take SC 28 north out of Walhalla and then right onto SC 107. After 2 miles, you’ll see the entrance to Oconee State Park. Pay your fee at the kiosk and follow the main road into the park, passing the headquarters. Just past the headquarters, stay left, do not turn into the camping area. Follow the road down across the creek and past the road to the lake cabins. Shortly, you’ll see the well-marked trail head on the left with paved parking and a kiosk on the right.
The Tamassee Knob Trail, 2.1 miles one way, shares the trail head with the Foothills Trail and the Hidden Falls Trail. While the Foothills Trail is blazed white, the Tamassee Knob Trail is marked with diamond-shaped signs showing the name of the trail.
After 0.4 miles, you will encounter an old roadbed that is obviously some other trail because it is blazed yellow, but there are no signs. This actually is the Oconee Connector that runs from the park down to Oconee Station and Station Cove Falls. There used to be an identifying sign here but no longer.
About 30 feet past the Connector, you’ll find a sign showing the Tamassee Knob Trail turns right. For a short distance, you’ll notice the Connector running parallel before it turns right and starts down off the plateau toward Oconee Station. At about the 1.0 mile point, the trail starts to the left of a small round and you can see the Knob off to your right.
Once past the small round, you’re basically following the narrow ridge that connects the Knob to the Oconee Plateau. From here, the trail is generally narrow, clinging to one side of the ridge or another. Although not rock faces, the drop-offs are steep and can be dangerous in a fall. The steepness is accentuated by the presence of many large, old-growth trees left there because the ridge was too difficult to log. You will descend about 400 feet into the gap that separates the two features. The gap sits at about the 1.5 mile mark meaning you’re going to regain that 400 feet to the top of the Knob in about a half mile.
Just past the summit, where you may or may not find a “Trail Ends” sign, there is a rock outcrop which provides an excellent view to the north. You’ll be looking out over the Cheohee Valley with the Blue Ridge Escarpment to your left and front. Looking past the Escarpment, which constitutes the front ridge, you will see several mountains back behind. Most prominent is the long, flat Whiteside Mountain. It has a brighter look than the others because you are looking at Whiteside’s 800 foot tall rock face, the feature that gives the mountain its name. To the right is a cone-shaped peak that is Chimney Top Mountain.
On the way back, you quickly drop from the Knob back into the gap and begin recovering the 400 feet in elevation needed to get you back to the Plateau. Fortunately, you’re given about ¾ of a mile to climb the 400 vertical feet so it is not as steep as the climb from the gap to the Knob.
This is a hike best taken in winter. The narrowness of trail on the ridge provides extensive views in both directions. Take this hike in the summer and you’ll be in a tunnel of green.