The Blue Wall Passage crosses pristine natural areas managed by The Nature Conservancy and home to more than 100 species of birds. Wildlife, scenery, and a 30-foot cascading waterfall on a side loop offer fantastic photo ops for nature lovers. The eastern trailhead is located in the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE), an education/recreation center with easy paths, a pond, and an observation boardwalk. Country roads and sidewalks take the Trail user through downtown Landrum and around lovely Lake Lanier. The Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment at miles 12 to 14 climbs steeply and abruptly to Vaughns Gap (trailhead for Poinsett Reservoir Passage). Landrum offers quaint antique shops, great eateries, and comfy B&Bs.
The Twin Ponds Trail at the Blue Wall Preserve is a local hiking treasure. It’s an easy route with little elevation climb that families and seniors can enjoy. The trail takes you to several photo-worthy spots including both of the ponds and a pretty impressive waterfall. And all of this with just 380 feet of elevation gain. Most hikers will finish this loop in about 90. It is possible to take the spur trail up to Vaughn’s Gap for a great view if you have the time and the stamina. That adds another mile and a half or so (each way) and 1,000 feet or so of elevation climb. This trail is part of the greater Palmetto Trail Blue Wall Passage which offers multi-day backpacking and adventure possibilities. Directions to the trailhead at SC Nature Conservancy’s Blue Wall Preserve:
From I-26 take exit 1 (SC Hwy 14) west toward Landrum. Turn right (north) on US Hwy 176, just after the railroad tracks. Drive approximately 2 miles and turn left onto Lakeshore Drive, the entrance to Lake Lanier. Follow Lakeshore Drive across the bridge. Then follow West Lakeshore Drive around the lake to Dug Hill Road (on right). The trailhead and parking are on the left about 500 feet down Dug Hill Road.