A New South Carolina Byway: Introducing the Piedmont Gateway State Scenic Byway
May 28, 2024
A water tower along the Piedmont Gateway State Scenic Byway in Ridgeway, SC | Image credit: Ashlie Conway, Flickr

Scenic America is proud to announce the designation of the Piedmont Gateway State Scenic Byway, the latest addition to the network of scenic byways in the United States. Officially recognized in May 2024, this byway offers a picturesque journey through the rich landscapes and historical sites of South Carolina’s Fairfield County.

The Piedmont Gateway Scenic Byway spans three distinct segments, showcasing the area’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. The first segment begins at the intersection of S.C. 34 and Coleman Highway near Ridgeway, winding through Dogwood Street, Ruff Street, and Palmer Street (U.S. 21), and ending at Thomas Street (S.C. 34). The second segment continues from this intersection, stretching 15 miles north along U.S. 21 to Camp Welfare Road (S-20-20). The final 10-mile section travels west from Camp Welfare Road across I-77 and S.C. 200, transforming into Mobley Highway (S-20-20) and concluding at the intersection of Bull Run Road and U.S. 321 in White Oak.

As an officially designated scenic byway, Piedmont Gateway joins over 450 miles of South Carolina roads that highlight the state’s diverse beauty, cultural richness, and historical significance. These byways, managed in partnership with the South Carolina Scenic Highways Committee, include notable routes such as the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway and the Edisto Island National Scenic Byway. Each byway offers a unique experience, whether it’s the rolling hills and mountain vistas of the Cherokee Foothills or the coastal charm and historic plantations along the Ashley River Road.

This byway not only offers stunning scenic views but also connects travelers to key historical sites and cultural landmarks. The route passes through areas rich in history, including towns that played significant roles in South Carolina’s development. Visitors can explore charming small towns, historical buildings, and beautiful landscapes that define the character of the Piedmont region.

State scenic byways offer a multitude of benefits that enhance both the local communities and the experiences of travelers. These routes often highlight the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical significance of an area, thereby promoting tourism and boosting local economies. Scenic byways provide travelers with access to unique and lesser-known attractions, encouraging longer stays and increased spending in nearby towns and businesses. Additionally, these routes often support environmental conservation efforts by emphasizing the protection of landscapes and wildlife habitats. The establishment of scenic byways can also foster community pride and identity, as residents work together to preserve and showcase their local heritage and natural surroundings.

The Piedmont Gateway Scenic Byway provides numerous opportunities for outdoor activities. Along the route, visitors can enjoy hiking, bird watching, and exploring local parks. The byway’s diverse ecosystems and well-preserved natural areas make it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

The designation of the Piedmont Gateway as a state scenic byway is expected to boost local tourism and stimulate economic growth in Fairfield County. The increased visibility and accessibility of the region’s attractions will draw more visitors, supporting local businesses and encouraging investment in the community.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation, in collaboration with the South Carolina Scenic Highways Committee, will install markers and signs along the byway to guide travelers and enhance the visitor experience. Continued efforts to promote and maintain the scenic byway will ensure its long-term preservation and enjoyment for future generations.

For more information on the Piedmont Gateway Scenic Byway and other scenic routes in South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byways page.

With the addition of the Piedmont Gateway Scenic Byway, South Carolina continues to celebrate and protect its natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural heritage, offering unforgettable experiences for all who travel its roads.