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Plan your itinerary for leaf peeping in the Upstate

It’s time to gather up the family and take to the mountains for that annual rite of autumn — leaf peeping.

The Upstate is getting ready to cut loose with color as fall’s sunny days and cool nights transform the vibrant green forest foliage into a brilliant palette of oranges, reds, golds and pinks. Throw in a couple of fun side excursions, some fresh-from-the-farm cuisine, a cozy cabin in the woods and you have one bodacious autumn getaway.

Photo courtesy of Upcountry SC.

Whether you’re traveling with the kids, your parents or friends, here are some great ideas for your itinerary:

Day 1: The Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway, whitewater rafting on the Chattooga River, apple orchard country, dinner at the Steakhouse Cafeteria in Walhalla

A scenic alternative to driving the Interstate, Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway extends from I-85 near the North Carolina border to I-85 at the Georgia line. The route offers magnificent views and allows travelers to visit many attractions along the way.

Day 2: Devils Fork State Park, kayak or pontoon boat tour of Lake Jocassee, Twin Falls

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The Appalachian mountain spring-fed Lake Jocassee, with waterfalls accessible only by boat and some of the best trout fishing in South Carolina, are part of the draw of Devils Fork State Park.

Accessible only from Devil’s Fork State Park, Lake Jocassee sits at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a province of the southern Appalachian Mountains. At 7,500 acres and 300 feet deep, the reservoir was created by the state of South Carolina in partnership with Duke Energy in 1973. The lake serves as the watershed for 935 square miles and is the start of the Savannah River.

Jocassee Lake Tours offers pontoon and kayak tours, fishing and river adventure tours and hiking tours. For more information, visit JocasseeLakeTours.com.

Day 3: Caesars Head State Park, Raven Cliff Falls, Poinsett Bridge, Campbell’s Covered Bridge

Caesars Head State Park connects to Jones Gap State Park in what is known as the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, an 13,000-acre area of pristine southern mountain forest. A hiker’s paradise, the parks offer trailside camping for those who choose the longer routes.

For history buffs, this Day 3 adventure includes a visit to Poinsett Bridge, one of the most significant historic structures in South Carolina. The 14-foot Gothic arch stone bridge spans Little Gap Creek.

Photo courtesy of Upcountry SC.

For information on more to see, do and experience in the Upstate, visit upcountrysc.com.

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