Discover Hitchcock Woods From a Local’s Perspective

The Hitchcock Woods is among the largest urban forests in the nation, with about 2,100 acres of forest habitat. Once owned and enjoyed by renowned equestrians Thomas and Louise Hitchcock, the forest now is owned by the Hitchcock Woods Foundation, a nonprofit organization that makes this resource available to the residents and visitors of Aiken. 

Hitchcock Woods greatly influenced my decision to buy a home. To have a natural area, 2 ½ times the size of Central Park in NYC, in my backyard was a “no brainer” for me. “SOLD!” I said. So I grabbed a map and hit the trails. Little did I know the diversity of the terrain, wildlife, plant life, and historical significance of these woods would make a lasting impact.

The terrain goes from boggy, to sandy, to wet, to rocky, pine needle laden, flat and hilly all in one round trip! Some areas actually have quicksand but it is not like in the movies. Rivers, ponds, and streams are also throughout. My favorite is the kaolin clay deposits.

Coyotes, deer, horses, dogs, snakes, and even fish have been spotted in these woods. The two that interest me most are the Fox Squirrel and the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker that was recently introduced into the area. Although you mainly spot horses and dogs on leash, there are many other animals that call the Hitchcock Woods home. 

Plant life is also very diverse in the woods. Long-leaf pine trees, walking sticks and the cinnamon ferns are my favorite. The Kalmia blooms here in the spring and puts on an amazing display for nature-lovers exploring the woods.

Hitchcock Woods has a long history here in Aiken. The Foundation was formed in the 1930’s to preserve and protect the woods for all to enjoy. Volunteers, staff and faithful participants help keep the woods healthy, vibrant and clean. The woods host a plethory of activites and events like horse shows, 5K’s, and many school fieldtrips to bring up the next generation of nature-loving residents here in Aiken.

For more information on Hitchcock Woods, please visit
for a map, rules, guidelines, and restricted times during “Fox Hunting”
season. Don’t worry, it’s only a drag hunt. There are several entrances
to the woods notated on the map. Be sure to take your cell phone to
take lots of pictures hashtagging #VisitAikenSC.


Lori Comshaw is the owner of At Home Personal Training, Inc. and has lived in Aiken, SC, since 2006. She enjoys all types of exercise indoors and outdoors. Motto: To Rest is to Rust