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South Carolina Waterfalls

When most people think about a vacation in South Carolina, waterfalls are probably not the first thing that comes to mind.  But in the upcountry region of northwest South Carolina near the borders with Georgia and North Carolina, there are a number of beautiful waterfalls.  There are at least 30 or so waterfalls that are publicly accessible.

Brasstown Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.71928,-83.30164 (Parking area at end of FS-751)
Waterfall GPS: 34.71839,-83.30413

Brasstown Falls in Oconee County is a great waterfall on Brasstown Creek composed of three distinct sections.  The waterfall (or waterfalls, depending on how you look at it) is located in the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.  The hike to falls is an moderately difficult, but short, less than a mile, hike.

To visit the falls, head west on US-76 for about 12 miles from Westminster and turn left on Brasstown Road.  The road is initially paved but turns to gravel after about 2.5 miles.  After about 4 miles from US-76, just before a small bridge, turn right on the gravel forest road FS-751.  Drive to the end of the road (about a half-mile) and park at the end.

The short trail to Brasstown Falls starts behind the large rocks at the end of the road.  Hike down this old road past a campsite and go right to come out at the top of the upper section of Brasstown Falls, which is a nice 50-foot cascade.  You'll have to go a little further and scramble down to the base of the upper section for better views and looking downstream from here, you can see the water disappear over the middle section of the falls. 



Head a little further down the trail to see this section of the falls, which is a 20-foot freefall covering the width of the creek.  I think this is the most scenic of the three sections.



Next, head a little further downstream to see the lower section, which is a 15-foot narrow chute.  To get a good view or pictures of this section, you will likely have to get your feet wet and wade into the creek.

If you want to hit another waterfall, Little Brasstown Falls is just upstream of the upper section.  See the entry for that waterfall below for detailed directions.

Confusion Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.07974,-82.63951 (Parking lot at end of Asbury Drive)
Waterfall GPS: 35.09335,-82.63187

Confusion Falls is a waterfall on a tributary of Matthews Creek in Greenville County, just downstream of Moonshine Falls.  The waterfall is located on private property, but the nice folks at Asbury Hills Methodist Camp allow public access to the falls when it doesn't disturb their operations.  You MUST call or email beforehand to request permission and get a gate code to enter the camp (http://www.asburyhills.org/).  It may also be possible to access the falls from Caesars Head State Park, but I'm not sure exactly how to do reach the falls this way.  The hike to the falls is a moderate 5-mile round trip.

To visit the falls, drive west on US-276 from Greenville for about 25 miles.  US-276 will merge with SC-11 (Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway) and then bear right towards Caesars Head State Park as it splits from SC-11.  Turn left approximately 1.5 miles after the split into Asbury Hills Methodist Camp.  Continuing driving past the gate and park near the basketball courts on the left.

From the parking area, hike past the basketball courts and get on the red-blazed Asbury Trail.  After about 1.5 miles, the trail will approach Matthews Creek and cross the creek on a cable bridge.  The cable bridge consists of two cables connected to trees on either side of the creek - one for your feet and one to hold onto with your hands.  Across the creek, turn right onto the pink-blazed Naturaland Trust Trail.  In a short ways, the trail will split at a rock cairn - go right and then go right at another split marked with another cairn.  Shortly after the second split, you should be able to hear Moonshine Falls and see a small trail heading down.  Continue past here.  The trail is a little tricky to follow and there was some down trees along the path, but look for the marking tape.  In about 0.2 miles past the trail for Moonshine Falls, you should be able to hear Confusion Falls down and to the left.  Look for the best way to get down to the falls.

Falls Creek Falls

Falls Creek Falls is a spectacular 100-foot waterfall on Falls Creek in Greenville County.  The waterfall is located in Jones Gap State Park, part of the Middle Bridge Wilderness.  The hike to the falls is a strenuous 3.5-mile round trip.

To visit the falls, drive west on US-276 from Greenville.  Approximately 2 miels north of the junction with SC-11 (Cheokee Foothills Scenic Highway), turn right at the park sign onto River Falls Road.  In about 4 miles, turn right on Duckworth Road following the signs to Palmetto Bible Camp.  In a half-mile turn right on Falls Creek Road and proceed about 0.4 miles to a pull-off on the side of the road with a state park kiosk.  Note that you must register at the self-serve kiosk before hiking.

From the parking area, follow the purple-blazed Falls Creek Trail.  The trail follows an old road, but is quite steep.  About half-way through the trail, it levels out a bit and crosses Little Falls Creek, then gets steep again as it heads toward the falls.  Note that the trail used to be blazed orange and you may see a few orange blazes.  Don't follow these; follow the current purple blazes.  The trail ends at the middle of the falls.  You can climb up to see the upper section of the falls (first picture below) or climb down to the base to see the lower section of the falls (second picture below).  Across the pool at the base of the falls is the orange-blazed Hospital Rock Trail that leads back to the Park Office at Jones Gap State Park.  This trail is partially closed, however, due to a landslide.


Issaqueena Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.80789,-83.12183 (Issaqueena Falls Parking Area)
Waterfall GPS: 34.80666,-83.12148

Issaqueena Falls is an easy-to-visit waterfall on Cane Creek in Oconee County northwest of Walhalla.  The waterfall is located with Stumphouse Tunnel Park, managed by the City of Walhalla.  The park is part of the larger Stumphouse Mountain Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.  The hike to the falls is less than a quarter mile.

To visit the falls, follow SC-28 north from Walhalla for 4.5 miles and turn right on Stumphouse Tunnel Road to enter Stumphouse Tunnel Park.  Follow the winding road for about 0.4 miles and turn right on a gravel road that leads to the parking lot for the park and falls.  The entrance to the park is practically across the road from the entrance to Yellow Branch Picnic Area, and so it would be easy to visit both Issaqueena and Yellow Branch Falls in a day.

The top of the waterfall is just across the creek from the parking lot.  Cross the bridge and hike a very short ways to reach a wooden overlook that provides suboptimal views of the waterfall.  I visited in the summer and the dense foliage prevented good views of the waterfall; the views might be better in winter when the leaves are down.  To get a good view of the falls, follow the steep trail down from the overlook to the base of the falls.

Issaqueena Falls is named for a river maiden of the same name. According to legend, she fell in love with and married a white settler named Allan Francis. Upon learning of an impending attack by the Cherokee, she rode 96 miles to warn the settlers. Later, the Cherokee Chief sent warriors to capture Issaqueena. She ran from the attackers and faked her own death by pretending to jump off the waterfall, but merely jumped down to a ledge below and hid from her pursuers.  In more recent history, the falls and surrounding Stumphouse Mountain were the target of proposed development.  Local citizens, along with conservation organizations, rallied to save the area from development.  More than $4 million was raised to purchase the property and protect it as a Heritage Preserve.

Jones Gap Falls

Jones Gap Falls is a pretty waterfall on a tributary to Middle Saluda River in Greenville County.  The waterfall is located in Jones Gap State Park, part of the Middle Bridge Wilderness. The hike to the falls is a moderate 2-mile round trip.

To visit the falls, drive west on US-276 from Greenville.  Approximately 2 miles north of the junction with SC-11 (Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway), turn right at the park sign onto River Falls Road.  Continue on River Falls Road for approximately 6 miles past US-276 to enter the park.  The road name will change to Jones Gap Road.  Note that there is a $2 fee per adult for hiking in the park and you must register for hiking at the kiosk at the trailhead.

From the park lot, hike west along the Jones Gap Trail following the Middle Saluda River.  After about a mile, cross the river on a footbridge and pass a couple of backcounty campsites.  A short spur trail to the right leads to the base of the falls.  The water flow on the stream is not heavy, so this waterfall is best viewed during wet periods or after a good rain.

King Creek Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.97138,-83.11448 (Burrels Ford Campground parking area)
Waterfall GPS: 34.96615,-83.11053

King Creek Falls is a great 70-foot waterfall in Oconee County along its namesake creek, a half-mile or so upstream from where the creek flows into the Chattooga River.  The waterfall is located in the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.  The hike to the falls is a moderate 3-mile round trip.

To visit the falls, head north from Walhalla for about 8 miles and turn right onto SC-107 north.  Drive about 10.5 miles and turn left on Burrells Ford Road (FS-708).  The parking area will be on the left in about 2.3 miles.  The parking area for Spoonauger Falls is less than a quarter-mile further up FS-708, so it would be easy to visit both King Creek and Spoonauger Falls in a day.

From the parking area, hike down the road (FS-708B) past the gate, eventually passing a primitive campsite.  Shortly after the campsite, the trail will be to the left and follow King Creek upstream.  After crossing a wooden footbridge, the trail will split with the Foothills Trail heading right and the trail to King Creek Falls heading left.  Go left and follow the trail to the end for a beautiful view of the falls.  The backwards slant of the falls makes it appear to be even bigger than it is.  You can climb across some downed trees near the base to get out on a nice sandy beach near the base of the waterfall.

Lee Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.89331,-83.081080 (Parking area on FS-751A)
Waterfall GPS: 34.89465,-83.10230

Lee Falls is a beautiful, but remote waterfall in Oconee County on Tamassee Creek.  The waterfall is located in the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.  The hike to the falls is a moderately difficult 3-mile round trip.

To visit the falls, head to the junction of SC-11 and SC-183 north of Walhalla, and go 4 miles north on SC-11.  Turn left on Cheohee Valley Road and go about 2.2 miles and then turn left on Tamassee Knob Road.  Drive about 0.6 miles and turn right on Jumping Branch Road.  From here, go about 1.4 miles and turn left at the SECOND gravel forest road, FS-715A. Don't turn on the first gravel road, which is FS-715. When I was here, it looked like someone shot the sign with a shotgun and only the 5A was still visible. On FS-715A, go about a half-mile and park in the parking area on the right just before the bridge.

There isn't much of a trail to the falls.  At the end of the parking lot, you will see the first of several fields to cross.  And the grass is not mowed so expect to walk for some ways through knee- to waist-high grass.  At the end of the first field, there is a stream crossing that will likely require getting wet.  Then two more open fields and another creek crossing then one more field.  After the fourth field, head into the woods and follow the trail upstream.  There's no official trail, but its easy to tell where others have gone.  As you approach the falls, it becomes more difficult.  Just before the falls, the trail gets really steep and you will have to climb over roots and rocks to get up to the base of the falls.  Despite the difficulty in finding the falls, it's definitely worth the effort.

Little Brasstown Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.71928,-83.30164 (Parking area at end of FS-751)
Waterfall GPS: 34.71703,-83.30240

Little Brasstown Falls in Oconee County is a scenic 20-foot waterfall along Little Brasstown Creek, very close to Brasstown Falls.  The waterfall is located in the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.  The hike to falls is an easy half-mile or so round trip and can be combined with Brasstown Falls, which is composed of three separate waterfalls.

To visit the falls, head west on US-76 for about 12 miles from Westminster and turn right on Brasstown Road.  The road is initially paved but turns to gravel.  After about 4 miles from the turn, just before a small bridge, turn right on the gravel forest road FS-751.  Drive to the end of the road (about a half-mile) and park at the end.

The short trail starts behind the large rocks at the end of the road.  Hike down the trail less than a quarter-mile to the top of the upper section of Brasstown Falls,and turn left.  There is a primitive campsite here and then you will have to cross Brasstown Creek.  When I visited, I was able to climb across on a downed tree.  Otherwise, you will have to wade across the creek and should see Little Brasstown Falls once across.

Long Creek Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.77764,-83.31222 (Turnaround at end of FS-755)
Waterfall GPS: 34.78565,-83.32247

Long Creek Falls is a 25-foot waterfall on its namesake creek in Oconee County, just before the creek flows into the mighty Chattooga River.  The waterfall is located in the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River corridor within the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.  The hike to the falls is a moderate 3.5 mile round trip.

To visit the falls, head west on US-76 for about 13 miles from Westminster towards the small community of Long Creek.  Turn left on Damascus Church Road and go for about a mile and turn right on Battle Creek Road.  Drive about 2 miles and turn right on the gravel forest road FS-755 (Turkey Ridge Road).  Drive about 2.8 miles down this gravel road, passing the trailhead for Opossum Creek Falls, and park in the grassy turnaround area at the end of the road.

From here, continue down the gravel road to the right on foot.  It's not recommended to try and drive down this road as there's nowhere to pull off or turn around, and down trees and washed out spots on the road will prevent most vehicle traffic.  You'll pass FS-755B and after about a half-mile, the road ends in a circle.  There were a bunch of downed trees the last time I was here, so go to the right around them and continue hiking on the trail, which is what's left of an old logging road.  The trail is pretty easy to follow, although are no signs or blazes except for one sign indicating that you're entering the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River corridor right past the downed trees.  Continue for about another mile to end of the trail and there is a short spur trail to the left leading down to the river.  Someone put some branches and logs at the end of the trail, so the spur to go down is obvious.  As you head down, you should be able to hear and see the waterfall soon.  Hike down the steep, but short trail to where Long Creek flows into Chattooga River and the falls will be immediately upstream.  This is a popular place to stop for rafters along the Chattooga River.  If you want to get up to the base of the falls, cross the creek and head upstream from the other side.

Moonshine Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.07974,-82.63951 (Parking lot at end of Asbury Drive)
Waterfall GPS: 35.09481,-82.63132

Moonshine Falls is a waterfall on a tributary of Matthews Creek in Greenville County.  The waterfall is located on private property, but the nice folks at Asbury Hills Methodist Camp allow public access to the falls when it doesn't disturb their operations.  You MUST call or email beforehand to request permission and get a gate code to enter the camp (http://www.asburyhills.org/).  Some older publications describe getting to the waterfall via a trail near the fire station of US-276.  This is no longer a legal way to get to the falls as it crosses private property and would require trespassing.  Do not follow instructions starting from the fire station.  It may also be possible to access the falls from Caesars Head State Park, but I'm not sure exactly how to do reach the falls this way.  The hike to the falls is a moderate 5-mile round trip.

To visit the falls, drive west on US-276 from Greenville for about 25 miles.  US-276 will merge with SC-11 (Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway) and then bear right towards Caesars Head State Park as it splits from SC-11.  Turn left approximately 1.5 miles after the split into Asbury Hills Methodist Camp.  Continuing driving past the gate and park near the basketball courts on the left.

From the parking area, hike past the basketball courts and get on the red-blazed Asbury Trail.  After about 1.5 miles, the trail will approach Matthews Creek and cross the creek on a cable bridge.  The cable bridge consists of two cables connected to trees on either side of the creek - one for your feet and one to hold onto with your hands.  Across the creek, turn right onto the pink-blazed Naturaland Trust Trail.  In a short ways, the trail will split at a rock cairn - go right and then go right at another split marked with a cairn.  Shortly after the second split, you should be able to hear the falls.  Look for a small trail leading down to the falls.



At one time, the waterfall was the site of an illicit moonshine operation, using the cover and remoteness of the waterfall to conceal the illegal distillation.  Although moonshine is no longer produced here, you will see rusty old drums and other distillation equipment behind the waterfall.  You can walk around here and even go behind the waterfall, but to see the entire thing, you will have to climb down to the base.

The Narrows

Trailhead GPS: 35.04908,-82.81396 (Foothills Trail Parking on Horse Pasture Road)
Waterfall GPS: 35.03141,-82.81995

The Narrows is a narrow chute waterfall along Eastatoe Creek in Pickens County.  The waterfall is located in the Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve in Jocassee Gorges.  The hike to the falls is a moderate 5-mile round-trip hike.

To visit the falls, go north from Pickens on US-178 for about 17 miles and turn left on the gravel Horsepasture Road.  Drive about a quarter-mile to the parking area for the Foothills Trail on the left.

From the parking area, hike down the road just over one-tenth of a mile and turn left at the sign onto the yellow-blazed spur of the Foothills Trail.  Continue on this old roadbed for almost two miles along the ridgeline before the trail heads down into the gorge.  A series of switchbacks reduce the slope of the trail as it leads down to Eastatoe Creek.  Near the bottom, the trail splits with the left fork heading to the creek and primitive camping spots.  To the right, the trail leads to a wooden overlook with views of the Narrows.

The Narrows

Opossum Creek Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.77359,-83.30484 (Pull-off at end of FS-755)
Waterfall GPS: 34.75681,-83.31411

Opossum Creek Falls is a beautiful 50-foot waterfall in Oconee County.  The waterfall is located in the Chattooga Wild and Scenic River corridor within the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.  The hike to the falls is a moderately difficult 5 miles round trip, but the effort is worth it for this beautiful waterfall.

To visit the falls, head west on US-76 for about 13 miles from Westminster towards the small community of Long Creek.  Turn left on Damascus Church Road and go for about a mile and turn left on Battle Creek Road.  Drive about 2 miles and turn right on the gravel forest road FS-755 (Turkey Ridge Road).  Drive about 2.3 miles down this gravel road and pull off on the left, just past kiosk at the trailhead.

The trail begins behind the kiosk and heads downhill, following Camp Branch, for about two miles to the Chattooga River where Opossum Creek flows into it.  This trail doesn't seem difficult on the hike out, since it's all downhill, but is much more strenuous on the hike back up.  There is a sandy beach area here at the river and rafters on the Chattooga often stop and make the half-mile hike up to the falls. Once down at the river, turn left and follow the trail as it leads upstream along Opossum Creek.  There are a couple of stream crossings before you reach the base of the falls.

Pigpen Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.92508,-83.12242 (Nicholson Road Parking for Foothills Trail)
Waterfall GPS: 34.92840,-83.12894

Pigpen Falls is a small waterfall on Licklog Creek near the confluence with Pigpen Branch in Oconee County.  The waterfall is located in the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.  The hike to the falls is an easy 1.5-mile round trip hike.

To visit the falls, head west on SC-28 from Walhalla for about 8.5 miles and bear right on SC-107 north.  In just over 3 miles, shortly after passing Oconee State Park, turn left on Village Creek Road.  Go 1.8 miles and turn right on Nicholson Ford Road (FS-775).  Drive 2.2 miles on the gravel road and park at the Foothills Trail parking at the end of the road.

Hike down the Foothills Trail towards Chattooga River for about a half-mile and turn left onto Chattooga Trail.  It's less than a quarter-mile to Pigpen Falls on the left.  You have to go down to an open area with a campsite to see the falls.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is an amazing 100-foot waterfall on Cox Camp Creek in Greenville County.  The waterfall is located in Jones Gap State Park, part of the Middle Bridge Wilderness.  The hike to the falls is a strenuous strenuous 5-mile round trip.  There is a shorter (hiking mileage) way to get here through Camp Greenville; however, a park ranger at Caesars Head told us going this route would be almost suicidal due to the steepness, so we opted for the longer route.

To visit the falls, drive west on US-276 from Greenville.  Approximately 2 miles north of the junction with SC-11 (Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway), turn right at the park sign onto River Falls Road.  Continue on River Falls Road for approximately 6 miles past US-276 to enter the park.  The road name will change to Jones Gap Road.  Note that there is a $2 fee per adult for hiking in the park and you must register for hiking at the kiosk at the trailhead.

From the parking lot, hike on the Jones Gap Trail following the Middle Saluda River.  After about 3/4 of a mile, the trail splits - bear right to get on the red-blazed Rainbow Falls Trail.  The trail crosses the river via a footbridge and begins heading upstream along Cox Camp Creek.  Initially, the trail isn't too steep, but soon it veers away from the creek and begins to climb in earnest.  Several switchbacks reduce the slope somewhat, but it's still a very steep trail.  After a bit, you'll pass some steep cliffs and then the trail heads back towards the creek near the base of the falls.  Right before reaching the falls, there are a couple of stream crossings that can be tricky on wet rocks.  I visited this waterfall right after a storm and during an especially wet summer, so the water flow was very high.  I couldn't get closer than maybe 30 feet from the base of the falls due to spray and very strong winds.  But it was probably my favorite waterfall in South Carolina - absolute beautiful!

Rainbow Falls

Raven Cliff Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.11562,-82.63805 (Parking area on US-276)
Waterfall GPS: 35.10604,-82.66055

Raven Cliff Falls is an enormous 420-foot waterfall on Matthews Creek in Greenville County.  The waterfall is located in Caesars Head State Park, part of the Middle Bridge Wilderness.  The hike to the viewing platform for the falls is a moderate 4.4 mile round trip.

To visit the falls, drive west on US-276 from Greenville.  At the US-276/SC-11 split, stay on US-276 for about 8.5 miles (about 1.5 miles before the NC-SC state line) and right into the parking area.  The trailhead is about 1.5 miles past the Caesars Head visitor center and main parking area.  Note that there is a $2 fee per adult for hiking in the park, payable to self-service kiosks in the parking area.

From the parking area, hike down the red-blazed Raven Cliff Falls Trail.  The hike to the overlook is 2.2 miles, but its a pretty easy hike.  The trail is blazed and well-maintained and there are signs and maps at the two intersections with other trails.  The trail ends at a nice wooden overlook with a view of the falls in the distance, maybe a quarter-mile away.  The park used to have a different overlook that was a bit closer to the falls, but that was damaged in a storm and rebuilt at this newer location.  It's possible to get closer to the falls and even walk across the suspension bridge over the falls.  However, the falls is so big that it's not possible to see the whole thing from closer up.

Raven Cliff Falls

Riley Moore Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.73973,-83.18990 (FS-748C)
Waterfall GPS: 34.74132,-83.17945

Riley Moore Falls is a 100-foot wide, 12-foot high waterfall on Chauga River in Oconee County.  The waterfall is located in the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.  The hike to the falls is a moderate 2-mile round trip.

To visit the falls, drive west from Westminster on US-76 for about 7.5 miles and turn right on Cobb Bridge Road.  Drive 1.6 miles and turn left on the gravel forest road FS-748 (Spy Rock Road).  Drive 1.8 miles and turn right on FS-748C and park along the side of the road.  You can drive down 748C, but its a very bumpy ride and not a long hike.

Either hike or drive down FS-748C for about a third of a mile to the turnaround at the end.  From here, get on a the Riley Moore Falls Trail.  It's 0.6 miles one way to the falls.  The trail ends at a sandy beach on the Chauga River at Riley Moore Falls.  Although it's not a high waterfall, it is very wide, covering the width of the Chauga River.  The Forest Service claims it's 100 feet wide, but it doesn't seem that big to me.  When I visited during a period of high water flow, you could see two distinct colors of water - brownish water at the top and white water at the bottom (as in the picture below).

I've also visited this one when the water level was much lower.  Some waterfalls look kind of pitiful in low water, but I thought this one actually looked better.

Spoonauger Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.97474,-83.11477 (Pull-off on FS-708)
Waterfall GPS: 34.97471,-83.10980

Spoonauger Falls is a scenic 50-foot waterfall in Oconee County.  The waterfall is located within the Ellicott Rock Wilderness area in the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.  The hike to the falls is an easy 1-mile round trip.

To visit the falls, head north from Walhalla on SC-28 for about 9.5 miles and turn right onto SC-107 north.  Drive about 10.5 miles and turn left on Burrells Ford Road (FS-708).  The pulloff for parking will be on the right in about 2.5 miles (look for the bulletin board), just before the bridge over Chattooga River.  The parking area for King Creek Falls is just before the pulloff for Spoonauger on FS-708, so it would be easy to visit both King Creek and Spoonauger Falls in a day.

The trail to the falls begins just behind the Bulletin Board.  Hike up the Chattooga Trail for about a quarter-mile and then cross Spoonauger Creek on stepping stones.  Once across the river, turn right at the sign and follow Spoonauger Creek upstream to the waterfall.  Spoonauger Creek and the area around the falls has dense rhododendron growth, so this would be a very pretty area in the spring when they are blooming.

Station Cove Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.84894,-83.074410 (Pull-off on Oconee Station Road)
Waterfall GPS: 34.84954,-83.08580

Station Cove Falls is a 60-foot stepped waterfall on Station Creek in Oconee County.  The waterfall is located in the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.  The hike to the falls is an easy 1.5-mile round trip hike.

To visit the falls, drive north on SC-183 for about 3.5 miles from Walhalla to the intersection with SC-11.  Go north on SC-11 for about 1.5 miles and turn left on Oconee Station Road.  Drive about 2.5 miles to the small parking area on the left.  This parking area is about a quarter-mile past Oconee Station State Historic Site.  Parking is limited to four or five cars; if no spots are available at the trailhead, park at the historic site.

The trail to the falls begins behind the kiosk and is an easy three-quarter mile hike.  There are two stream crossings on wooden footbridges and a final crossing on stepping stones, so no need to get your feet wet.  The easy hike and close proximity to the historic site make this a popular destination, so don't expect to find solitude here.

Twin Falls

Trailhead GPS: 35.00954,-82.82139 (Parking at end of Waterfalls Road)
Waterfall GPS: 35.01347,-82.81858

Twin Falls, also called Reedy Cove Falls or Eastatoe Falls, is a beautiful double waterfall on Reedy Cove Creek and an unnamed tributary in Pickens County.  The waterfall is publicly accessible, but I'm not exactly sure who the landowner is.  The hike to the falls is an easy half-mile or so round trip.

To visit the falls, go north from Pickens on US-178 for about 12 miles and turn left on Cleo Chapman Road (at Bob's Place Tavern, a biker bar).  Go about 2 miles down Cleo Chapman Road to a three-way intersection and turn right onto Eastatoe Community Road.  Drive 1 mile and turn left on Waterfalls Road and follow to the parking area at the end.

Hike down the old roadbed from the parking area for about a quarter-mile to the falls.  Along the way, you'll pass a neat old, but functioning water wheel.  At the end of the trail is a nice wooden overlook to view the falls.  It is possible to climb past the overlook onto the rocks to get better views, but be extremely careful as the wet rocks will be extremely slippery.  As the name suggests, there are actually two waterfalls.  The left waterfall (as viewed from the overlook) is the larger of the two and plunges 75 feet down a granite cliff face.  The right waterfall has a small drop and then slides down a 45° slope of rock before meeting up with its other half.

Whitewater Lower Falls:

Trailhead GPS: 35.01242,-82.99915 (Bad Creek Access to Foothills Trail)
Waterfall GPS: 35.01566,-82.99197

Lower Whitewater Falls is 400-foot waterfall on Whitewater River in Oconee County, right before the river flows into Lake Jocassee.  The waterfall is located on land owned by Crescent Resources, but is publicly accessible via the Foothills Trail.  From the Bad Creek Access, the hike to Lower Whitewater Falls is about 3.5 miles round trip.

To visit the falls, head west on US-64 from Brevard towards Lake Toxaway.  In Lake Toxaway, go left to stay on US-64/NC-281 and go about 2.5 miles, then turn left onto NC-281 south.  Drive nine miles to South Carolina.  Almost immediately after crossing the state line, turn left on Bad Creek Road into the power station.  Drive about 2 miles and turn left for the parking for Foothills Trail at the sign.  From South Carolina, take SC-130 north and turn right on Bad Creek Road just before the North Carolina state line.

The hike begins on the Bad Creek Spur Trail that leads 0.7 miles to the Foothills Trail.  Right after crossing Whitewater River on the two footbridges, turn right on the Foothills Trail heading towards Thompson River.  In less than a mile, you'll reach the spur trail to Lower Whitewater Falls.  It leads to a gravel road and then skirts around Whitewater Mountain before heading down steeply to the wooden overlook for views of the waterfall.  This is as close as you can get, but it's a pretty good view of the falls, even if from a distance.

Wildcat Branch Falls

Wildcat Branch Falls is a small roadside waterfall in Greenville County.  The waterfall is located in Wildcat Wayside, part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness, along with Jones Gap and Caesars Head State Parks.  Located right on the side of US-276/SC-11, there is no hike to the falls.

To visit the falls, drive west on US-276 from Greenville.  Approximately 0.5 miles before the SC-11 and US-276 split, the pulloff for Wildcat Wayside will be on the right side of road.  The parking area is fairly large and can accomodate quite a few cars.  When we visited, there was a food truck at the parking area selling snacks.

The waterfall is viewable from the parking area, so no need to hike.  There is also an upper falls here, requiring a 10-minute or so hike up the creek, but I haven't been up to see that one.

Yellow Branch Falls

Trailhead GPS: 34.80586,-83.12905 (Yellow Branch Picnic Area Parking)
Waterfall GPS: 34.79509,-83.13430

Yellow Branch Falls is a spectacular 50-foot waterfall on its namesake creek in Oconee County.  The waterfall is located in the Andrew Pickens Ranger District of Sumter National Forest.  The hike to the falls is a moderate 3-mile round trip.

To visit the falls, drive west on SC-28 for about 6.8 miles from Walhalla and turn left into the Yellow Branch Picnic Area and park in the lot.  There are restrooms (pit toilets) and picnic tables in the area, if you want to make a day of visiting the falls.  The entrance is to the picnic area is practically across the street from the entrance to Stumphouse Tunnel Park and so it would be very easy to visit both Yellow Branch Falls and Issaqueena Falls in a day.

From the parking lot, hike about a quarter-mile on Yellow Branch Nature Trail to Yellow Branch Falls Trail.  Follow this for just under 1.5 miles to the waterfall.  There is an easy stream crossing on Yellow Branch Nature Trail where flat rocks act allow you to cross without getting your feet wet.  Closer to the falls are two more stream crossings, but with wooden footbridges.  The waterfall itself is fantastic; one of my favorites in South Carolina.  Unfortunately, in dry conditions it may be more of a trickle and not so impressive.  But in wetter conditions, the countless cascades of water over the dark rock is truly gorgeous.  Although it's pretty easy to stay dry hiking to the falls, you will need to get your feet wet at the falls if you want to see it from different angles.  Walking around in the shallow pool at the base provides great viewing opportunities.  If the weather is warm, it's also a great opportunity to cool off.  There are plenty of places where you can sit on the rock and let the cool water splash down on you.  Another thing I really liked about this waterfall is the great number of blackbelly salamanders who live in the rocks and logs at the base of the falls.  They're not shy and won't try to hide, but are well camouflaged and easy to miss (second picture below).  Just be careful not to step on them!




Blog Entries:

30Aug-02Sep2013:  Labor Day SC Waterfall Weekend

Video:

Here's a video I made of my trip to SC to hit 17 waterfalls in a long weekend:

YouTube Video


External Links:

Absury Hills Methodist Camp: http://www.asburyhills.org/

Foothills Trail Conference website: http://www.foothillstrail.org/

SC Department of Natural Resources website for Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve: https://www.dnr.sc.gov/mlands/managedland?p_id=10

SC State Parks website for Jones Gap State Park: http://southcarolinaparks.com/jonesgap/introduction.aspx

SC State Parks website for Caesars Head State Park: http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/caesarshead/introduction.aspx

US Forest Service website for King Creek Falls: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/scnfs/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=47101&actid=50

US Forest Service website for Opossum Creek Falls: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/scnfs/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=47107&actid=50

US Forest Service website for Riley Moore Falls: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/scnfs/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=47111&actid=50

US Forest Service website for Spoonauger Falls: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/scnfs/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=47113&actid=50

US Forest Service website for Station Cove Falls: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/scnfs/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=47135&actid=50

US Forest Service website for Yellow Branch Falls: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/scnfs/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=47137&actid=50

List of SC Waterfalls from NCWaterfalls.com: http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/sc1.htm

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