While the Lake Bed Loop Trail is marked at 1.2 miles, you have to add a little less than a half mile if you come in at the Mauldin Road (Greenville Municipal Stadium) access. In the past, you would park in stadium parking lot and walk back to the footbridge crossing the Reedy River. That parking lot is now blocked.
To get to this access to the park, take Mauldin Road from I-85 toward Mauldin. You’ll encounter the stadium on your right. Take the lower entrance where you will see a Lake Conestee Nature Park sign. Drive around the back of the stadium to a Park kiosk. Left into the parking lot and go all the way to the back of the lot.
There you will find a spur trail that is the access. A few yards down this trail, you’ll intersect Forrester Farm Trail (Orange blazes). Left here will take you out to a viewing platform on the remaining open water of Lake Conestee. Right will take up over the trail’s boardwalks and up to the footbridge which crosses the Reedy and gives access to the rest of the Park.
As you begin your hike, keep an eye out for wildlife. The area is full of waterfowl and birds (it is a birdwatcher haven), beavers, frogs, turtles and snakes. Early morning hikers have a good chance of finding deer.
Unless you are hiking is almost drought-like weather, the Lake Bed Loop will be muddy. Likewise, it tends to be humid, being surrounded on 3 sides by water, so some insect repellant might be appropriate. Although the warm months will be hot because of the humidity, the lush canopy of the area will keep the sun off of you.
Crossing the bridge will give you a good view of the Reedy running quiet and clean below you. Locals, who remember the river’s condition 50 years ago, will be pleased with the sight. Blue blazes mark the Lake Bed Trail but this a little confusing when you cross the bridge because the blazes go in both directions. Just remember this is a loop. You’ll want to take the left “fork” through the turnstile where you will follow the river for over a third of a mile. Again, locals will be pleased to see “No Fishing” signs along the way. In years gone past, having fish in the Reedy was implausible.
At this point, the trail will take a sharp right and move away from the river. There is an informal trail leaving off to the left, but it goes nowhere but the river bank. Take the right and move up the trail about 100 yards where you will see a spur trail coming in from the left. It is marked with a viewing platform sign. Take this short spur.
This viewing platform is located on part of the old lake bed that has filled in. But beavers have built a significant dam just to the left of the platform. Duck boxes are scattered around the area to invite nesting pairs.
Return to the main trail and turn left. You will shortly encounter another turnstile and, on the other side, a sign pointing to the “Reedy River Overlook.” This is a little shortcut that will take you over to the turnstile you entered the loop on. Or you can continue to the left and you will make another small loop before you encounter the footbridge. Return over the footbridge and down Forrester Farm Trail to the parking lot.