The North, Middle, and South Tyger Rivers begin in Spartanburg County and join to form the Tyger River near the city of Woodruff. The river flows through Union County, including twenty-four miles through Sumter National Forest, to join the Broad River at the juncture of Union, Newberry, and Fairfield Counties. The last six miles of the river form the boundary between Union and Newberry Counties. The Tyger River basin covers 807.9 square miles. It includes six watersheds and 517,056 acres. There are approximately 938 stream miles and 2,889 acres of lake waters in the basin.
The Tyger River is generally shallow and narrow, ranging from two to six feet deep and forty to seventy feet wide. There is some white water in the upper sections, but most of the river is brisk flat water. The surrounding landscape is pine-hardwood-mix forest and some marshy bogs.
Two theories exist about the river’s name. One says it refers to a French trader named Tygert who visited the area around 1755. Another cites a legend about a wild cat (tiger) and a bear that fought on the river’s banks, with the cat winning. The Cherokees called the river Amoyescheck.
Herd, E. Don, Jr. The South Carolina Upcountry: Historical and Biographical Sketches. Vol. 1. Greenwood, S.C.: Attic Press, 1981.