Ellicott's Rock

The other day I was looking over one of my topo maps and I saw written in small text, "Ellicott Rock." So I think to myself, "That sounds like something. Maybe I should check it out." There are several ways to get to Ellicott's Rock, one of which is a four mile hike along the Chatooga River. Considering that the Chatooga is a beautiful river (and that the presence of banjo picking hillbillies is way overstated) that's the route I took. Along the way there were a couple of signs indicating I was indeed heading the right direction but nothing explaining what Ellicott's Rock is. I assumed I would find some sort of large boulder at the top of a knob with a cool view of the river. Well at one point, I looked at the time and realized I should be there at any moment but nothing indicated that I was climbing or that the terrain was about to lead me to something different. About two minutes later I arrived at a sign that said "Ellicot Rock." Oddly though, the sign pointed straight into the river. Puzzled, I ate lunch at a nearby campsite and headed home where my good pal Google was able to shed some light on the issue for me. (The image to the left above is not Ellicott's Rock. It's located on a side trail to Spoonauger falls.)

If I had done my research ahead of time, I would have discovered that Ellicot's Rock is the point at which North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina converge. It was named after Andrew Ellicot a surveyor who was hired in 1811 to determine the border between Georgia and North Carolina. I'll let Wikipedia tell the rest of the story:

Two years later commissioners representing South Carolina and North Carolina marked a large rock along the the Chattooga River bank with the inscription "Lat 35 AD 1813 NC + S.C." as the juncture where the South Carolina and North Carolina state lines joined. The rock marked by the S.C. and N.C. commissioners in 1813, rather than the rock marked by Ellicott in 1811, is usually called Ellicott's Rock. This is commonly accepted as the point where the boundary lines of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia join.

There are two versions in print on the distance between the two rocks. One is that Ellicott's original rock was 500 ft upstream.[1] In the other story, the rocks are much closer. De Hart's South Carolina Trails guide said that they are a "few feet apart."[2] In the North Carolina trail guide, he said Commissioner Rock is "ten feet downstream".[3]

This rock was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and is located in Ellicott Rock Wilderness. The South Carolina Department of Archives and History has additional information,[4] and copies of the nomination forms.[5]

(Image from Wikipedia.)

Although I missed out on the destination, the journey was fantastic (and if given a choice between the two, that's how I prefer it).

Click here for an on-line trail map to Ellicott's Rock.

UPDATE: (9/8/09)

Return to Ellicott's Rock.  This past weekend I returned with my friends Tim and Nathan. We had trouble finding the "N G" pictured above but we do think we found the USGS benchmark on a boulder in the middle of the river.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Okay I finally found it, only because there was another guy there who showed me where to look. You have to jump down to the river and hang onto the rhodos while trying not to fall in to see the initials.

Distance from downtown Greenville to trailhead: 66 miles.

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CC said...

Cool info, thanks. I might make this trip in the Spring. Is there a shorter way in than the 4 mile hike along the river?