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Twelve Mile River

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Twelve Mile River

The Twelve Mile River is a 30-mile tributary of Lake Hartwell in Pickens County, South Carolina. Characterized by sections of whitewater rapids and flatwater, the Twelve Mile River is ideal for paddlers of all skill levels. Whitewater paddlers can experience a nearly two-mile-long stretch of Class II-III rapids, while beginners will find lake-like paddling conditions as the river enters Lake Hartwell. With nearby historic landmarks, scenic waterfalls, hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and parks, the Twelve Mile River offers an abundance of recreation opportunities. The Clemson Experimental Forest borders the River as it enters Lake Hartwell, offering activities from boating and fishing to hunting and biking.

The Twelve Mile River was the focus of an EPA Superfund cleanup to remove PCB contamination and restore the health of the river until January 2015. Contaminated sediment was removed from behind two dams known as Woodside I and II, and the dams were dismantled to allow clean sediment to cover and encapsulate the contaminated sediment to help naturally restore theTwelve Mile arm of Lake Hartwell. Historically, the dams impeded flow on the river, and their removal has opened up enormous opportunities for recreation. Because of the historical PCB contamination, fishermen are advised not to consume fish caught in the Twelve Mile River and upper reaches of Lake Hartwell due to a PCB Advisory still in effect.

Recreation opportunities along the Twelve Mile have significantly increased during the last few years. Future plans include two new riverside parks that will continue to improve recreational access to the river. Pickens County has been a key partner in the improvement of recreation along this scenic river. Unofficial river accesses are ones that are widely used, however, are not officially constructed river accesses. While the Twelve Mile River can be accessed under any SCDOT-maintained road, the accesses included on the map are ones that are most often used and family-friendly. There are many great options at all skill levels for a fantastic day on the river. Learn how you can protect this and other hometown rivers. 

Suggested Trips (8)

Featured trips for this waterway showing difficulty (circles) and current runnability status (squares). .

Toad Rock on Twelve Mile River
Waterway Resources
Links to USGS Gauges on this waterway
Download map files for your own use. Learn more
Beat the heat
Wear lightweight, breathable clothes and consider paddling in the morning or evening, when it is cooler. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activity.
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Skill Level
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Flow Level
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Skill & Flow Level
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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