Hamilton Branch State Park on Lake Thurmond is a wonderful place for camping, boating, fishing, and hiking!
With so many great lakeside RV and tent camping sites and so many recreational activities on and off the lake, you’re guaranteed a great visit.
Here you will find a guide to the park as well as hiking and biking trails, where to make reservations, a campground map, and more!
Overview of Hamilton Branch State Park
Hamilton Branch State Park is located on Lake Thurmond in southwest South Carolina. Lake Thurmond covers 70,000 acres and forms the border between Georgia and South Carolina in this region.
Popular activities within the park include lakeside camping, hiking, and biking. There are nearly 200 campsites, two boat ramps, and lots of wildlife.
Popular activities on the lake include fishing, water skiing, swimming, and kayaking. Common fish caught here include bass, bream, striper, catfish, and crappie.
Besides the fish, wildlife that you will find here include bald eagles, geese, blue herons, white egrets, deer, and raccoons.
Games such as bean bag toss (a.k.a. corn hole), horseshoes, washers, kickballs, soccer balls, footballs, frisbees, board games, puzzles and playing cards are available for rent in the park office.
Hamilton Branch State Park is a wonderful place for camping but there are no cabins, yurts, or other kinds of rentals available within the park.
The campground features two bathhouses, two boat ramps, a camp store, campground host, drinking water, dump station, firewood and ice for sale, RV supplies, group camping sites, a playground for kids, and a visitor center.
Individual sites feature BBQ grills, campsite tables, electrical hookups (on RV sites), and fire pits.
Hamilton Branch State Park is located on the west side of US221/SC28 between Modoc and Parksville. It’s about 40 minutes outside of Augusta, Georgia, and 1.5 hours from Columbia, South Carolina.
Take GA-28 into South Carolina at which point it becomes US221/SC28. About 25 miles outside of Augusta, you will pass through the small town of Modoc. The park is 1.7 miles further on the left.
Take I20 West for about 45 minutes and exit on exit 18. Turn right on SC-19 N/Edgefield Hwy and follow this for 45 minutes until you get to the small town of Modoc. Along the way, this same road becomes US-25 N and SC-23 S. At Modoc, take a right onto US221/SC28 and follow for 1.7 miles. The park will be on your left side.
Admission to the Park
There is a per-person fee to enter the park. Here is a breakdown of the prices for admission:
|Children ages 6-15||$1.00|
|Children 5 and under||Free|
Hamilton Branch State Park Camping
There is only one campground in Hamilton Branch State Park but it is huge! There are several loops featuring nearly 200 sites, almost all of which are lakefront.
The sites are generally well spread out and camping here is known for being peaceful because of the amount of space you get from your fellow campers.
Campsites are priced differently depending on their location, type, and the season. They range from $18 per night for some tent only sites to $45 per night for full RV hook-ups in prime locations. Some RV sites accommodate up to 40-foot RVs but other sites only take 35-foot max. A minimum two night stay is required for most sites.
The campground has eight bathhouses with restrooms and hot showers and two dumping stations for RVs.
Here is the Hamilton Branch State Park campground map, including the many loops at the campground. Click on the map to open a larger version of it.
The Hamilton Branch State Park group camping area accommodates up to 400 people! The group camping area cannot be reserved online and you must call the park directly at 1-866-345-PARK.
Pets are allowed but are required to be kept on a leash not longer than 6 feet. Animals making too much noise or chasing wildlife may be asked to be removed.
Hamilton Branch State Park Camping Reservations
All reservations are made through South Carolina State Parks. You can make reservations online through their website here or call them at 1-866-345-PARK.
Hiking and Biking in Hamilton Branch State Park
There are two popular hiking trails near the park: Stevens Creek Trail and the Paleo Hiking Trail. The Paleo Hiking trail is shorter but located within the park and Stevens Creek trail is outside the park but much longer.
Paleo Hiking Trail
The Paleo Hiking Trail is a 1.5-mile loop that is easy hiking. The trail is entirely inside the park and starts behind the gift shop, near the entrance of the park.
There is a chance to see wildlife along this trail including whitetail deer, fox squirrels, snakes, and maybe even a bald eagle if you’re lucky!
Stevens Creek Trail
Stevens Creek Trail, also called the Modoc Trail, is outside of Hamilton Branch State Park but can be accessed by the Hamilton Branch Connector Trail.
The connector trail starts near the park entrance, at the gift shop. Information on the connector trail is misleading because it is listed as 0.3 miles long but that is only the portion inside the park. It is approximately 3.5 miles in total to walk from the park to Steven’s Creek Trail so you might consider driving to the trailhead.
If you choose to walk from the park to the trail: the connector trail crosses Hwy 28 so be very careful at this part. Then you turn right on State Road 3393, also called Washington School road, and take the first left after the pavement ends on forest road 632, also called Silcox Rd.
At the end of Silcox Rd, there is access to the Steven’s Creek Trail but this is not the main trailhead, this access is about two miles from the main trailhead. You can continue north from here along Steven’s Creek Trail.
If you choose to drive from the park to the trailhead: turn right on Hwy 28 (US 221) when leaving the park. In 1.7 miles, turn left on SC-23. In 1.3 miles, there is a pullout and parking for the trailhead on the left, shortly before crossing Stevens Creek.
From this trailhead, the hike is 5.5 miles each way (11 miles total out-and-back) and moderate difficulty.
The most popular bike trail near Hamilton Branch State Park is the Stevens Creek Trail. See the descriptions above in the hiking section for how to reach the trail by bike from the park or drive to the main trailhead.
With a bike, you can continue past the end of the trail onto Pinchot road (forest service road 632A), where most hikers turn around, and make a large loop. See map below.
Bikes can be rented in the park office for $10/day during the week, $15/day on the weekends, or $25 for a whole weekend.
Hamilton Branch State Park boasts nearly 200 campsites, most of which are lakeside. It also features tons of amenities and activities to have a blast, whether you want to get out on the lake or stay onshore. Let me know in the comments what you thought of this park and what in particular you loved about it!
Looking for the best camping in the Carolinas? You’ve got to check out Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina.