A new 2.2-mile loop trail is nearing completion at Paris Mountain State Park.
Open to hikers and mountain bikers, the trail is part of the 160-acre addition purchased by the Friends of Paris Mountain State Park in July 2015.
“It’s been a long time in the making,” said Stephen Gray, past president of the nonprofit Friends group.
The forested parcel, which hugged the park’s southwest boundary, had been used as a family retreat for generations before it went on the market, according to Gray.
Gray and others saw the land containing open fields, deep forests and several streams as an opportunity to add some breathing room to the park, which overflows on weekends.
Through a two-year fundraising campaign, the group raised about $300,000 to purchase the property. The remaining $700,000 was provided by the South Carolina Conservation Bank, Gray said.
The trail itself is of moderate skill level and goes under the tree canopy.
“You’re going to cross three or four creeks, some rhododendron. It’s very pretty,” Gray said.
The Friends of Paris Mountain State Park and Upstate SORBA, a volunteer group dedicated to improving and building new mountain bike trails in the region, are planning a grand opening for the trail.
Gray said he’d like to see it to open to the public as soon as possible.
Originally established in the late 1890s as a water reservoir for the city of Greenville, Paris Mountain became South Carolina’s second state park in 1935. The original buildings — including the Camp Buckhorn lodge — were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and are now listed as historic landmarks. Today, the park has 1,700 acres.