Adventures Around Every Turn
The Upcountry is famous for its crystal clear, man-made lakes, the most revered being the 9,000-acre, 385-foot-deep Lake Jocassee. Located just over an hour from Greenville and right below the North Carolina – South Carolina border, Jocassee is known for its clean, cold water fed by Appalachian Mountain rivers.
Jocassee Lake Tours offers a variety of ways to explore its pristine waters, jaw-dropping gorges, and breathtaking waterfalls. Lake tours on pontoon boats are hosted by naturalists year-round. For those in search of a more hands-on experience, a shuttle takes visitors and their kayaks to remote spots on the lake for guided journeys. A handful of local companies even offer PADI certifications and scuba diving adventures.
In stark contrast to Jocassee’s tranquility are the churning, whitewater rapids of the famed Chattooga River. Situated deep in the Upcountry’s far northwest corner forming the South Carolina – Georgia border, the river made famous by the movie Deliverance offers two distinctly different whitewater rafting sections.
Section III is mild and scenic, with numerous swimming holes along the way. Downstream is the notorious section IV, beginning with Seven Foot Falls and culminating with Five Falls, fistful of adrenaline-pumping Class IV rapids in quick succession. The Nantahala Outdoor Center offers full-day, guided tours including a freshly prepared lunch.
Extend the thrill ride an extra day in Chattooga with a visit to nearby Wildwater in Long Creek for an unforgettable three-hour ziplining canopy tour. “Flyers” plunge deep into the Chattooga Ridge woods and through multiple ecosystems. The tour culminates with an exhilarating zipline water crossing and 1,200-feet Bell Tower Express zip.
BMW Performance Driving School
In the Upcountry, adventure isn’t limited to the wilderness. German automaker BMW forever changed the region when it opened its first U.S.-based manufacturing plant in Greer in 1994. The BMW Performance Driving Schools attract students from around the world to improve their skills in cars, SUVs, and even motorcycles. Two-hour experiences to multi-day classes are available for adults and teens, including the vaunted M School boasting the company’s most powerful vehicles.
By Shane Sharp, freelance writer