Pretty Place Chapel hosts one of the most amazing church views that you will ever experience in the United States. It’s a wonderful, special place to see even when it isn’t Easter and is usually open to the public.
The spot is so lovely that it continually looks like a backdrop – but the views are very real. We recently went there at 4:00 AM to experience the Easter sunrise service. The views were breathtaking. If you choose to go, make sure you arrive shortly after parking opens if you hope to get a seat. Otherwise, it’s standing room only.
It’s really dark and slow-going up the mountain at 4 a.m. It’s about a 20-minute drive up the mountain. Expect lots of curves. If you get carsick easily, take a Dramamine before you go!
It’s a lonely climb and unlikely that you will see anyone until you get to the top, but once you get there you’ll find people directing traffic and telling you where to park. It’s pretty well managed.
A shuttle will take you to the chapel itself. The shuttle usually leaves near the cabin that you park near.
Bring a blanket and be sure to bundle up! It tends to be cold in the mountains at Easter!
Service starts way before sunrise.
Once the service starts, the lights are dimmed.
There is a service and as it progresses, the sun starts to peek over the mountains, getting brighter and brighter revealing God’s amazing creation. It’s so incredible that it almost doesn’t look real.
Usually, they have a buffet breakfast at the campgrounds where Pretty Place resides. It’s a little bit of a walk back in the crisp morning air if you don’t take the shuttle. They also allow guests to be picked up.
Unless you’re in a hurry to get to breakfast, be sure to stay and view the chapel a bit after the crowds clear out.
The location is at a YMCA Camp in Cleveland, SC and the chapel’s official name is the Fred W. Symmes Chapel. He donated the 1400 acres of camp for the enjoyment of boys and girls that camp there each year. They have a website here that tells you all about the property and the events around it.
There are other sites to see in the vicinity, including Ceasar’s Head. The nearby public park has beautiful views and trails, so make sure you leave some time to explore!
The views going down the mountain are also quite lovely. Keep your eyes peeled for scenic spots on the way down!
Finally, here is a beautiful capture of Pretty Place by David Allen Photography.