Merchants Millpond: Lassiter Trail
Most folks probably don’t even know this paddler’s paradise has hiking trail, but it does. Nine miles, in fact. And 5.5 miles of those — the Lassiter Trail loop — is one of the best swamp hikes around. You’ll hike beneath a tight hardwood canopy (impressive beech trees dominate) and through dense understory dominated by assorted bays. You’ll hear the sounds that make a swamp hike so intriguing: the cacophony of carpenter frogs, leopard frogs, bull frogs, cricket frogs and tree frogs, the who-cooks-for-you call of the barred owl, the discussions of whatever seasonal avian life is temporarily calling the swamp home.
There’s a simultaneous intimacy and expansiveness that makes this hike all the more ethereal. Somewhere nearby there’s a ruckus in the underbrush that’s probably a squirrel but that, because you’re in a swamp, hints of something larger. Also nearby but out of sight, something takes flight. A duck, probably, but swamp amplification makes you think of something larger — much larger.
There’s plenty on this 5.5-mile trail to trigger the imagination. Perhaps the ultimate sign of a good hike.
Maps: Downloadable here, also available at the park.
Getting there from downtown Greenville
Distance: 1 hour 40 minutes from downtown
Time to complete: 2-4 hours
Address: 176 Millpond Road