Edwin M. Griffin Nature Preserve

Home of the Cottonwood Trail

SPACE’s first project was the Cottonwood Trail Preserve, currently a 115 acre urban preserve and trail system. Located minutes from downtown Spartanburg, the property protects a 1.5 mile stretch of Lawson’s Fork Creek and several feeder streams. The preserve serves as an important water quality buffer in a fast growing region as well as providing habitat for a myriad of plants and animals. Over 5 miles of trails offer runners and naturalists a break from city traffic. It provides a place for citizens to run, walk, kayak, canoe, and to enjoy other recreational outings. This urban greenspace has many unique and outstanding features including several wetlands, open spaces, geological formations, and offers habitat for deer, wild turkey, fox, beaver, raccoon, numerous birds and reptiles, wildflowers, and trees.

Signs name the trails, and identify over 50 species of trees. A 550 foot boardwalk and observation deck allows users to access this part of the preserve and learn about the different flora and fauna of wetlands. Thanks to the good folks at SC Audubon and Francis Beidler Forest for teaching us how to construct boardwalks.

SPACE is responsible for managing the trails at Griffin Preserve. As part of that effort, we use TRAFx trail counters to gather data on pedestrian and bicycle use of the trail—this data is helpful for grants and other fundraising opportunities to assist SPACE in seeking trail management resources. If you happen to notice one of these small devices on the trail, please leave it alone. Thank you!

The Spartanburg Running Club and other runners enjoy the trails as a break from running the streets and sidewalks. Area schools use the trails for their cross-country teams and science classes use the preserve to learn about water quality issues and wildlife habitats.

Local boy scouts have partnered with SPACE on various projects. The cooperation has been beneficial to both parties-we offer worthwhile projects to the boys, and we benefit from their hard work. To date, 16 boys have achieved Eagle awards by completing projects such as footbridges, bird and bat boxes, benches, and kiosks.

Preserve Rules:

  • Preserve is open from dawn to dusk.
  • Place litter in trashcans or pack it out.
  • No motorized vehicles.
  • No hunting.
  • No camping.
  • No campfires.
  • No firearms.
  • No paintball.
  • No climbing on bridges.
  • No cutting of flowers, trees, plants.
  • Pets must remain on a leash under owner’s control.
  • Swim at your own risk- shoes required.


The Cottonwood Trail is located near Spartanburg High School along Lawson’s Fork Creek. It can be accessed off of Beechwood Drive or below the tennis courts at Spartanburg High School.

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