Densely wooded 1,305-acre Baker Creek State Park, located in the western hills of South Carolina, offers a tranquil space to relax and enjoy Lake Strom Thurmond. Whether you are looking for a quiet place to enjoy lake life or a spot for exhilarating outdoor adventure, Baker Creek State Park is your place. Mountain bikers will love the trails that wind through the park. There are 10-miles of moderately difficult terrain to cover through the woods and along the creekside that are just as fun to walk along if you're not fishing or boating. Two boat ramps provide easy access to Lake Strom Thurmond if you'd like to spend some time on the lake.
The park resides in the mature mixed pine and hardwood forests surrounding Lake Strom Thurmond. RV and tent campers can enjoy serene lakeside camping on any of the 50 campsites along the shoreline. Some of the sites can accommodate RVs up to 45-feet in length. Primitive Group camping is also available for large groups.
Visitors looking for a venue for a family or group celebration or outing will find the covered pavilion overlooking the lake, an ideal space for groups of up to 160 people. Those with smaller groups will find two picnic shelters available on a first-come, first-served basis as well.
Baker Creek State Park is a seasonally-operating park, and it is just one of the gems in this area. Seven miles to the west, you can enjoy a game of golf or shoot a round of skeet at Hickory Knob State Park and Resort. Just over 18 miles to the south lies Hamilton Branch State Park, which offers excellent fishing, swimming, and outdoor fun.
The park is located just off US-378, four miles west of McCormick, and just under 90 miles west of Columbia, South Carolina. Baker Creek State Park is easily accessible because the roads leading into the park are paved. Once you turn off the main road, you may want to drive a little slower and be on the lookout for potholes. This forested area is beautiful to drive through, and there is ample clearance for RVs and trailers. All the roads inside the park are dirt roads. It is highly recommended that you drive your RV rather slowly inside the park as the roads can get bumpy, especially after heavy rains. Once you are inside the park, you will find parking available near the boat ramp, beside the park office, and within the campground.
Guests to lovely secluded 1,305-acre Baker Creek State Park will revel in the solitude of nature here. For those interested in an overnight stay or longer, the park maintains a campground which is opened seasonally from March through the end of October of each year. The campground offers 50 sites for RVs, trailers, and tents with beautiful views over the lake on the southwest side of the park. Reservations must be made in advance and for at least two nights. All campsites have their own grill and picnic table, 30-amp electric hookups, and water hookups. Huge pine and hardwood trees offer shade for most of the sites, which can accommodate RVs up to 45-feet in length. Facilities include two communal restrooms with hot showers, flush toilets, and drinking water, a dump station just outside the campground, and a camp store. This campground is a lovely base from which to explore all that the park has to offer.
Guests to Baker Creek State Park with interest in this modern twist to treasure hunting will be excited to hear that this park participates in the South Carolina State Park Geocache Challenge. There are a few caches in the park, and you can find out about them on the world geocaching website; the website is where the locations of all of the caches placed throughout the world are posted. Once you have your clue to the location of the cache, you can head outdoors to track it down. Geocaching is a fun way to explore the park and enjoy its beautiful scenery with the added challenge of finding the cache.
Be sure to pack your fishing gear in preparation for your adventure to Baker Creek State Park. This secluded, densely wooded park maintains two boat ramps providing guests private boat access to the 71,000-acre lake. The massive body of water is the ideal place to fish for various species of bream, catfish, bass, striper, and crappie, with many shaded spaces to stop and cast a line. You'll need to have a valid South Carolina fishing license.
Pack your hiking shoes and explore the two moderately difficult trails near the lake. You can choose between the nature trail and a short walking trail at this park. The Wild Mint Nature Trail takes hikers on a 0.8-mile scenic path. Although this trail is occasionally steep, it is a relatively easy stroll. The trail descends toward the lake then through the woods where you'll find scenic views of the lakeshore. Don't be surprised to encounter native wildlife along this trail. Another short hiking option is the 0.7-mile Walking Trail that begins near the boat ramp parking area. This loop trail goes down toward the lake into a mainly mature hardwood forest, and through a pine forest as it winds back to the start. This trail offers scenic views of the lake and the opportunity to view native wildlife in their natural habitat. Pets on leashes are welcome, and there are restrooms available at the boat ramp parking area.
If you like quilting, trains, and history, you will enjoy a combination of interests when you step outside of the park, and head to nearby McCormick, South Carolina. The McCormick Train Depot is over a century old and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here, you can tour and walk through elements of history native to this area of South Carolina. Quilts dating back to the 1800s are on display with interactive learning opportunities that teach visitors about the tradition of quilting.
If you love mountain biking, you'll want to bring your bikes along when you visit Baker Creek State Park. The park maintains one of the most popular mountain biking trails in South Carolina. This moderately difficult 10-mile trail begins near the park office at the kiosk area and takes bikers on a medium to strenuous ride through rolling hills. This is a two-loop dirt trail. You'll move quickly through various natural habitats along the ride, noting the change from oak to pine woods and will see an occasional poplar. Expect to see a variety of birds, reptiles, and other native wildlife along the lush creek-side vegetation. The trail is easy to follow but watch for markers and signs indicating where the trail coincides with forest access roads. Although not technically difficult, be aware that this trail is strenuous in places.
Guests to Baker Creek State Park will want to remember to pack their sunscreen and swimsuit when heading out to this lovely secluded lakeside park. Many of the campsites available within the park rest along the water’s edge, making a quick dip in the lake an attractive alternative in the hot summer month. If you are swimming from a boat, you are encouraged to wear a life vest at all times. Swimming in the lake is done at your own risk, but it is great fun. Remember that coves are often further away than they look, so be careful not to begin a swim that you may not be able to complete.