Complete Guide to Ninety Six National Historic Site in South Carolina including things to do, hiking, nearby lodging, history, and so much more.
Ninety Six National Historic Site
Ninety-Six National Historic Site is located in South Carolina. This historic park helps interpret the longest field siege of the American Revolution in November 1781 along with the first battle south of New England fought in November 1775.
You will want to give yourself a minimum of at least an hour to visit this great park.
About Ninety Six National Historic Site
The highlight of the park is a one-mile interpretive trail that takes you out to the Star Fort to see the battlegrounds.
Make sure and watch the park video Ninety-Six: Crossroads to learn what happened at the park during the Revolutionary War.
The park video gives you a great appreciation for the park and the events that occurred on the grounds.
No one really knows how the Ninety Six earned its name. It is thought that possibly the town was 96 miles from the Cherokee town of Keowee, near today's Clemson, South Carolina.
The trail through the park was a major commercial road in the 1700s. The path called the Cherokee Path intersected other trails here and the Ninety Six became a stopover for traders.
In 1751 a trading post was built by Robert Goeudy establishing it as the hub of backcountry Indian trading.
Over time the Ninety Six became a thriving town with a large amount of growth. In the 1750s tensions grew between the settlers and Indians.
The settlers, militia, and enslaved people built a stockade around the bar for protection which became Fort Ninety Six. After multiple battles with the Cherokees, a peace treaty was signed in 1761.
On November 19, 1775, in the first major land battle of the American Revolution in the South 1,900 British loyalists attacked the 600 patriots gathered at the Ninety Six.
A savage war broke out that lasted until 1781 when loyalists left the Ninety Six a smoking ruins. They tried to destroy the Star Fort and set fire to all of the buildings.
Is Ninety Six National Historic Site worth visiting?
This gem of a destination offers a window into the American Revolution, with well-preserved fortifications and historic structures that transport visitors back in time.
You'll feel like you're walking in the footsteps of soldiers and civilians as you explore the site's interpretive exhibits and learn about the people who lived and fought here.
But it's not all about history – Ninety Six National Historic Site also boasts picturesque hiking trails and scenic picnic spots that are perfect for enjoying the great outdoors.
Whether you're a hardcore history buff or just looking for a fun and informative day out, Ninety Six National Historic Site is an absolute must-visit. So pack a picnic and prepare to step back in time at this unforgettable destination!
We had a great time visiting the park. The trails to the historic fort are gorgeous and pretty easy. It is a great National Historic Site to learn more about US History.
History of Ninety Six National Historic Site
Ninety Six National Historic site is a place steeped in American history. The history preserved at the Ninety Six National Historic site gives us an insight into how American settlers lived and fought during the 1700s. This small South Carolina settlement was the site of not one but two events of the American Revolution of 1775 - 1783.
Ninety Six historically located at the intersection of twelve roads, got its peculiar name from 18th-century traders. The traders believed the site was ninety-six miles from the Cherokee village of Keowee. The Ninety Six National Historic site also preserves a stunning example of 18th-century military earthen fortifications.
Ninety Six was a thriving town by the time the Revolutionary War broke out. In November 1775, the town of Ninety Six was the site of the first major conflict to happen outside of New England, when they came under siege. The inhabitants of Ninety Six came under siege for a second time in 1781.
War Comes to South Carolina
At the start of the Revolutionary War, South Carolina was politically divided. The thriving frontier town of Ninety Six was the first place Loyalist and Patriot militias clashed outside of New England.
This first battle, referred to as the Siege of Savage’s Old Field, or the First Siege of Ninety Six, began on November 19th and lasted for three days. An American shipment of gunpowder sent to the Cherokee tribe was seized by the Loyalists, which sparked the conflict.
The Patriots set up camp on John Savage’s plantation, where the Loyalists surrounded them. Gunfire erupted when Patriots attempted to breach the Loyalist stockade. Fighting ensued over the next few days. On November 21st, neither side had made much progress. The situation turned into a stalemate, leading both sides to leave the area.
Before the Second Siege of Ninety Six
After the initial conflict in the town of Ninety Six, tensions continued to simmer in the South Carolina colony. Bitterly divided, fighting soon erupted when a British initiative made the Southern Colonies the main battleground.
Ninety Six became a focal point once more in 1781 when Patriot Major General Nathanael Greene marched 1,000 troops to try and take the town from the Loyalists. Greene was making his way through South Carolina taking it back from British control.
The British had Loyalist strongholds in the town of Ninety Six and Charleston. Greene approached Ninety Six first. The Loyalists of Ninety Six had built an impressive earthen Star Fort and a wooden Stockade Fort to protect the town.
The Second Siege of Ninety Six
Ninety Six was home to over 500 Loyalist forces, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Harris Cruger. On May 22nd, 1781, Patriot forces under Gen. Greene failed to take the town from the Loyalists after an initial attack, so they dug in.
The Patriots entrenched themselves around the heavily fortified town and laid siege to it. The siege of Ninety Six was the longest siege of the American Revolutionary War. Through May, the Patriots attempted to dig a tunnel that would allow them to blow open a hole in the earthen walls of the Star Fort.
The Patriots also erected a 30-foot tower from which they could fire directly into the fort. In June 1781, Greene received word that Ninety Six was about to be reinforced with British soldiers. Greene, aware that he was running out of time, made a final attempt to take the Star Fort.
The Star Fort Battle
When Greene learned of the imminent arrival of over 2,000 British reinforcements, he launched his attack on the Star Fort on June 18th, 1781. An extremely vicious attack ensued where the Patriot forces managed to take the wooden Stockade Fort.
Green directed cannon fire at the earthen walls of the Star Fort, but the walls were too thick for the cannon fire to do much damage. Gen. Greene then sent a storming party armed with grappling hooks to storm the fort's walls.
The Patriots successfully tore down the sandbags at the top of the fort. The Loyalist commander, Col. Cruger, sent men into the trenches to beat back the Patriot advance. Fighting in the trenches was hand-to-hand with clubs and bayonets.
When the Loyalists began to turn the tide of the battle, Greene pulled back his forces and withdrew. The Patriots suffered far greater losses during the battle than the Loyalists. Greene lost 185 men to Cruger’s 75.
Greene abandoned his position altogether at Ninety Six after the failed attack and continued his fight to reclaim the rest of the Carolinas. On July 1st, 1781, the British abandoned both of the forts at Ninety Six.
The British burned down all of the structures of the town. They filled in the Patriots siege trenches and tried to destroy the Star Fort but were unsuccessful. The Ninety Six National Historic site preserves the original earthen Star Fort and the surrounding battlefield
Things to know before your visit to Ninety Six National Historic Site
$0.00 - There is no entrance fee or park pass required for visiting the park.
Learn more about National Park Passes for parks that have an entrance fee.
Free Entrance Days -Mark your calendars with the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
Eastern Time Zone
Pets on a leash not exceeding six feet are welcome in the park. The visitor center is off-limits for pets, with the exception of service animals.
The cell service at Ninety Six National Historic Site is limited and unreliable, with many areas of the park having little to no coverage. It is recommended that visitors plan accordingly and be prepared to be disconnected from their mobile devices while exploring the park.
The park grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset, while the visitor center is only open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Park is closed during New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
There is a public Wi-Fi available at the park.
Insect repellent is always a great idea when outdoors, especially if you are around any body of water.
We use Permethrin Spray on our clothes before our park trips.
Keep an eye out for fire ants, poison ivy, ticks, and snakes. Keep to the trails and make sure you know where you are standing/stepping.
Make sure to bring your own water bottle and plenty of water with you. Plastic water bottles are not sold in the park.
There is a nice size parking area near the visitor center.
There are no restaurants within the park. There is the small town of Ninety Six, South Carolina near the park. There is a Subway, Hardees, and other small restaurants available in town.
There are no gas stations within the park.
Drones are not permitted within National Park Sites.
National Park Passport Stamps
National Park Passport stamps can be found in the visitor center.
We use the Explorer Edition Passport Book that can be expanded and updated. This is a great way to track all of the parks you have visited over time.
Electric Vehicle Charging
There are 35 electric vehicle charging stations within a 30-mile radius of Ninety-Six, SC 29666.
Details about Ninety Six National Historic Site
Size - 1,022 acres
Check out how the park compares to other National Parks by Size.
August 19, 1976
In 2022, Ninety Six NHS had 108,082 park visitors.
In 2021, Ninety Six NHS had 92,976 park visitors.
In 2020, Ninety Six NHS had 95,418 park visitors.
In 2019, Ninety Six NHS had 97,295 park visitors.
National Park Address
1103 Hwy 248 Ninety-Six, SC 29666
Park Phone number - 864 543 4068
National Park Map
Where is Ninety Six National Historic Site?
Ninety Six National Historic Site is located in the state of South Carolina, United States.
Estimated distance from major cities nearby
Charlotte, NC - 123 miles
Atlanta, GA - 178 miles
Greensboro, NC - 213 miles
Durham, NC - 264 miles
Raleigh, NC - 295 miles
Jacksonville, FL - 312 miles
Birmingham, AL - 324 miles
Lexington-Fayette, KY - 406 miles
Nashville, TN - 415 miles
Louisville, KY - 481 miles
Estimated Distance from nearby National Park
Congaree National Park - 89 miles
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 158 miles
Mammoth Cave National Park - 424 miles
New River Gorge National Park - 337 miles
Hot Springs National Park - 755 miles
Where is the National Park Visitor Center?
The visitor center at Ninety Six National Historic Site is located near the main entrance of the park, just off of Highway 248. When you enter the park, follow the signs to the visitor center.
Getting to Ninety Six National Historic Site
Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP / KGSP)
Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT / KCLT)
Charleston International Airport (CHS / KCHS)
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL / KATL)
Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR / KMYR)
Asheville Regional Airport (AVL / KAVL)
Anderson Regional Airport (AND / KAND)
From I-26 --Heading North: At the Newberry exit, take Highway 34 to the town of Ninety Six, South Carolina (about 35 miles). Turn left at the second traffic light onto Hwy 248. The park is located 2 miles south on your left.
From I-26, Heading South: At Clinton (exit 52) follow Hwy 72 toward Greenwood/ Coronaca. At Coronaca, turn left onto Hwy 246/ 248 toward Ninety Six. Hwy 246 will branch off, but follow Hwy 248. The park is located 2 miles south of the town of Ninety Six on Hwy 248.
From I-20: Take exit 5 onto US Highway 25 north. Follow the Heritage Corridor signs to Epworth. Turn right onto Epworth Camp Road. It will dead end onto Hwy 178. Turn left onto Hwy 178. Follow the park signs and turn right onto Hwy 248. The park will be about 4 miles on your right.
From Interstate I-85 (Greenville): Take SC Highway 25 south to the stoplight at Hodges. Turn left onto Highway 246/ 248 toward the town of Ninety Six. Hwy 246 will branch off, but follow Hwy 248 to the town of Ninety six. The park is located 2 miles south of the town on Hwy 248. From the town of Ninety Six, South Carolina -- Follow the park signs. The park is two miles south of the town of Ninety Six on Highway 248.
Best time to visit Ninety Six National Historic Site
To make the most of your visit to Ninety Six National Historic Site, it's recommended to consider the season and any special events happening in the park.
The site is generally less crowded in the spring and fall months, making it easier to explore the historic structures and hiking trails.
However, if you're interested in attending the park's annual events and programs, be sure to plan your visit around those specific dates.
Additionally, be aware that park hours and operations may change due to holidays, maintenance, or other unforeseen circumstances, so it's always a good idea to check the park's official website or call ahead to confirm any important details before you go.
Weather and Seasons
The hottest weather starts from May 25th to September 15th, with an average daily high temperature above 83 degrees.
The coldest weather starts from November 27th to February 27th, with an average daily high temperature below 61 degrees.
The snowiest weather usually starts from January 1st to February 14th, when it snows at least 1 inch a month. It snows the most in January, with an average of 1.3 inches.
Best Things to do in Ninety Six National Historic Site
We suggest planning at least a few hours to explore this great National Historic Site. Plan time to explore the walking trails to see where the historic fort was located and to watch the park movie.
The Ninety-Six National Historic Site Visitor Center is the perfect place to start your exploration of the park.
The Park Rangers were amazing and so knowledgeable about the site. Enjoy displays showcasing all of the people who have lived in the area.
There is a small store with books, souvenirs, maps, and some snacks available.
You might be surprised to know that the movie narrated by Trace Adkins.
The video does a great job of detailing what you can see in the park and what happened in 1775 within the park.
The junior ranger packet will take 20-40 minutes depending on the age of the participant.
The answers for the majority of the booklet are within the visitor center or during the video.
There is a great picnic area near the visitor center that would be great for a picnic or snack break.
The grounds of the park are great for bird watching especially during fall and spring migrations.
Birds at Star Fort Pond is available to help identify the birds seen at the pond.
Some of the great birds seen include Savannah Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Chipping Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Wood Duck, Pine Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Hermit thrush, Grasshopper Sparrow, Tufted Titmouse, Summer Tanager, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and so many more!
Fish the Star Pond
Located along Highway 246 the Star Pond is a 26-acre lake available for fishing.
You can fish from 30 minutes before sunset to 30 minutes after sunset. April 1 - October 31, the Star Fort Pond is open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for fishing.
The 27-acre Star Fort Pond is CLOSED Sunday-Tuesday, Thursdays, and November 1 - March 31.
Hiking in Ninety Six National Historic Site
Always carry the 10 essentials for outdoor survival when exploring.
The one-mile interpretive trail is paved and a pretty easy walk to see the Star Fort and battlegrounds.
Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, bring sunscreen and a hat. A large portion of the trail is along an open field with no cover from the heat and sun.
There is a hill at either end of the trail. If you are not a fan of going uphill head to the left of the visitor center to start the walk and the end hill is easier than going the other direction.
Cherokee Path Trail
The Cherokee Path Trail is a 1.5-mile woodland trail that leads to remnants of the old Cherokee Path.
The Old Cherokee Path ran from the Carolina Coast northwest through Ninety Six to the Cherokee town of Keowee.
The path was once the direct route for early traders and trappers, Native Americans, and settlers to trade goods between the backcountry and the Carolina Coast.
The Gouedy Trail is an approximately 1.5-mile long loop that will take about 90 minutes to hike.
The hike is a great way to experience the beautiful natural scenery of Ninety Six.
Along the trail, you can see Gouedy's gravesite which was reworked by the Free Masons in 1958. This grave marker is for James Gouedy's grave the son of Robert Gouedy.
It is believed that Robert Gouedy is buried nearby in an unknown location.
You will hike along Charleston Road which was the route for many settlers heading west. This road may be the oldest road in all of upper South Carolina.
How to beat the crowds in Ninety Six National Historic Site?
We did not experience any crowds while visiting the park. The nice thing about the park is there are a ton of trails so you can easily walk to a different part of the park if you happen to encounter a crowd.
Things to bring with you to the park
- Comfortable shoes for walking
- Sunscreen and hat
- Bug Spray
Where to stay when visiting
There are no National Park Lodges within the park.
Nearby Lodging includes:
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Greenwood - look forward to dry cleaning/laundry services, a gym, and a business center at Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Greenwood. For some rest and relaxation, visit the hot tub. Guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Inn on the Square, Ascend Hotel Collection - A roundtrip airport shuttle, a terrace, and a garden are just a few of the amenities provided at Inn on the Square, Ascend Hotel Collection. Free in-room Wi-Fi is available to all guests, along with dry cleaning/laundry services and a bar.
Hampton Inn Greenwood - laundry services, a gym, and a 24-hour business center at Hampton Inn Greenwood. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi.
Days Inn by Wyndham Greenwood SC - laundry facilities and a gym. Guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
Comfort Inn & Suites Greenwood - take advantage of free continental breakfast, 18 holes of golf, and dry cleaning/laundry services. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi, and guests can find other amenities such as a gym and a business center.
Click on the map below to see current vacation rentals and lodges near the park.
There are no National Park Campgrounds within the park.
For a fun adventure check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
Parks Near Ninety Six National Historic Site
Cowpens National Battlefield
Kings Mountain National Military Park
Blue Ridge Parkway