Bicycling in the Upcountry

Retreat at Paris Mountain State Park

By:Marie McAden for

As mountain retreats go, Paris Mountain State Park checks off all the boxes. You’ve got your picturesque lake for swimming and canoeing, trails for hiking and mountain biking, a secluded fishing hole stocked with bream, bass and catfish and a 1930s lodge straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

But more important than what it has is where it is. The park is just six miles from Greenville and its bustling downtown, making it an easy escape for city dwellers and visitors to the area.

Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, the park was once the Upstate’s go-to destination for affordable family vacations. A photo in the Park Center shows hoards of happy guests cooling off in its centerpiece watering hole — Lake Placid.

Fast forward to the new millennium and the picture is almost identical — except for the vintage swimwear. The lake still draws crowds every summer looking for old fashioned fun.

The park’s 15 miles of hiking and biking trails are the big draw. The mountain (it’s really a monadnock — a mountain that rises out of otherwise flat land) offers plenty of challenges for those looking to get in a good workout.

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