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Camping Fee Required Handicap Accesible Parking- Dedicated Lot Roadside Parking Restrooms / Toilets

Upper Saluda River: Dolly Cooper Park to Piedmont, SC

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Upper Saluda River: Dolly Cooper Park to Piedmont, SC

Skill Level: Moderate
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Rapids: Class I , II
Length: 9.4 miles
Duration: 4.5 - 5 hours
Portaging: No
What to Expect

This trip features lazy waters, wide river channels, and is perfect for beginners. Although the trip is longer in length, it makes for a great day trip and only has one or two small rapids that can become Class II in higher waters.

Access
Put in:
Dolly Cooper Park
 170 Spearman Circle, Greenville, SC 29611
Access Details

This Park offers an ADA accessible floating boat launch, allowing for easy access to the river for all. Additional features include ample paved parking and a grassy picnic area.

Take out:
River Road River Access and Parking Area (Unofficial)
 305 River Road, Piedmont, SC 29673
Access Details

This river access is 600 feet west of the US 25 bridge, river-right. Pull cars completely off of the road and park in the clearing. Follow the trail 700 feet to the river. 

Trip Details

The take out is a fifteen minute drive from Dolly Cooper Park, so shuttling cars could take a half hour or more. After putting in at Dolly Cooper Park, paddlers will cross under the remnants of an old bridge. From the old bridge to the Frontage Road/I-85 bridges, there are some Class I-II rapids, and then the river becomes flat water. There are 5 bridges total paddlers will cross under. After the 5th bridge, the take out is 5.6 miles downstream, river right, at the mouth of Big Brushy Creek. For more information see The Upper Saluda River Blueway map.

Waterway: 

Comments (5)

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Fred Mendyka
Jun 30, 2020 5:13 pm EDT
Did this today, June 30, 2020. River was high and muddy due to all the rain last night. NO ROCKS showing on any of the rapids/riffles in the upper half. Was a lot of fun doing these rapids in this high water. Second half of trip was flat, with some current. Put in at Dolly Cooper at 9:15AM. Took out at 1:20. Only 4+ hours. We fished and stopped for a 15 minute lunch break. Water was moving us along. NO tree clogged area as the caution symbol warned about. Perhaps that should come off the map. Only had to duck under one tree that had recently fallen across the river. A very good run. We will do it again in lower water. Boats today were two twelve foot Old Town Discovery canoes.
Kathy Chapman
May 17, 2020 10:22 am EDT
Completed this section yesterday (5/16/2020) In 4.5 hours. No issues, no swims.
Nathan Weaver
May 10, 2020 8:15 am EDT
Just ran this section yesterday (May 9, 2020) and pretty much all clear. Lots of debris throughout but nothing blocking your way entirely. River right just after the rapids and near “signsouth” in the map has a submerged log, maybe six inches down that was completely invisible. It runs parallel with the river. The canoe was fine but two of our kayakers bumped into it and got rolled. At the split if you stay left you won’t hit it.
Timothy Parrish
Mar 31, 2020 11:58 am EDT
River all clear, not blocked by any debris as of 03/28/2020.
Jason Adams
Oct 09, 2019 10:17 am EDT
There is another more recent option with @jasonjadams - a private resident offering guided tours, transfers/portage, equipment rental and even an AirBnb for 2.
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floating ADA kayak launch at Dolly Cooper Park (Credit: Upstate Forever)
Saluda River below Dolly Cooper Park (Credit: Upstate Forever)
paddlers using the ADA kayak launch at Dolly Cooper Park (Credit: Upstate Forever)
take out at Piedmont, SC (Credit: Upstate Forever)
Old water storage tanks just north of HWY 86 bridge. (Credit: Timotht G. Parrish)
Old trestle bridge just south of Solly Cooper Park. (Credit: Timothy G. Parrish)
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Access Amenities
Parking - Dedicated Lot
Parking - Roadside
Restroom / Toilets
Fee Required
Handicap Accessible
Camping
Paddle SC is presented by
Upstate Forever
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
South Carolina National Heritage Corridor
Rainey Foundation