Maintained for several purposes, this website is primarily intended to encourage families, novice hikers and weekend walkers to visit the easy-to-reach waterfalls of Upstate South Carolina. Most of these waterfalls are within the ability of the average hiker to reach on a day hike. Families with young children and mature adults are encouraged to visit the waterfalls that our gracious God has placed here for our enjoyment.
One purpose is to compile a list of as many waterfalls in the Upstate as possible. Many of the larger more pictoral waterfalls are presented In many trail guides and other publications. This website contains some waterfalls that are small and of interest only to the most ardent waterfaller. Several waterfalls are on private property and are not accessible by the public. Many waterfalls are located roadside and in county and state parks. This compilation contains small waterfalls, rapids, shoals, etc. that some would not consider to be waterfalls. Therefore, this website is intended to be a listing or catalog of waterfalls and interesting water features simply because they exist and are worthy of mention.
Many of our waterfalls are being reclaimed by forest overgrowth and trails are not maintained. Some have no trail and must be accessed by cross-country bushwhacking through briars, across creeks, and through dense growths of mountain laurel, rhododendron, and other natural growth. Waterfalls that are accessible only by boat are listed. Many waterfalls that were open to the public are now in gated communities. private developments, and other restricted areas.
Another purpose is to present a glimpse of God's creation that He permits us to enjoy. The magnificence of the waterfalls and wildflowers along the trails to waterfalls show us God's handiwork. And through his handiwork, God is glorified as the creator and sustainer of our world and the universe.
This website is intended to be a pictorial guide to our local trails and waterfalls. The photos are not meant to be an artistic expression; they are only a limited view of the spectacular presentation of what one can see on the trails and at our waterfalls if we look with the intent of seeing.
This website will present excursions to various historic sites, heritage preserves and mountain trails and waterfalls.
The specific hikes to local waterfalls by yours truly, Waterfallwalker, will be presented. Photos of many of the beautiful wildflowers found on the trails of our Blue Ridge Mountains will be presented.
Some information presented in this blog is intended to help the more advanced hiker and waterfall enthusiast seeking to find some of the more hard-to-find waterfalls.
Some general information and photos of waterfalls, trails, and wildflowers will be given but specific directions cannot not be given because that information is listed in the book, Waterfall Hikes of Upstate South Carolina, that can be purchased for a very competitive price. Complete driving and trail directions can be found in the book which can be purchased from most State Park visitors' centers, local bookstores, outdoor outfitters, online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, etc.
Note: The images and information in this website is for the enjoyment and encouragement of those who read it. Please do not copy, forward, or distribute any photos without approval from Waterfallwalker, alias, Thomas E. King, Sr. Some photos have recognizable and named individuals in them. Therefore, I request their privacy be respected and preserved.
Residents of the northwestern corner of South Carolina are most fortunate. Within easy driving distance from the gently rolling hills of the Piedmont region, the Blue Ridge Escarpment begins when the mountains suddenly rise from less than 800 feet to over 3,000 feet, reaching its zenith of 3,554 feet atop Sassafras Mountain, the highest mountain in South Carolina.
The Blue Ridge Escarpment, called by the Cherokee Indians "Blue Wall," extends 70 miles across the northern sections of three counties—Oconee, Pickens and Greenville. The Cherokee also knew this 70-mile stretch as The Great Blue Hills of God. Within this 150,000-acre escarpment are four state parks, a federal and a state wilderness area, two wild and scenic rivers, a national forest, and two federally designated scenic areas. Also there are several private and public land areas protected as preserves or through conservation easements.
The Blue Ridge Escarpment extends through northeastern Georgia and western North Carolina.
Waterfalls, flowing water, and quiet mountain trails calm and refresh the inner spirit. The loud crashing sound of water falling over a river or creek evoke different emotions and reflections within each observer. The Cherokee Indians believed that the sounds of the waterfalls and rivers were the voice of "Long Man," the god of the river, and that only the most spiritually aware, whose hearts and minds were attuned to Nature, could understand his language and the message he had for them in the sounds of the waters.
Raging whitewater rivers and gently flowing streams course throughout this special area of Upstate South Carolina. It is estimated that over 200 well-known waterfalls and an unknown and undiscovered number abound in the inaccessible areas of the Blue Wall. An abundant rainfall that exceeds 90 inches per year feeds the rivers, creeks and streams that flow over the many waterfalls. Only in the Pacific Northwest of our country is that rainfall amount exceeded.
Most known waterfalls, about 90, are concentrated in the mountainous area of Oconee County, dubbed "The Golden Corner." The county's name derives from the Cherokee Indian word, "Uk-Oo-Na," that has been translated in various ways, i.e. "watery eyes of the hills," and "place of the springs." This is followed by Greenville County with an estimated 50 waterfalls, and then Pickens County with an estimated 35.
The book, Waterfall Hikes of Upstate South Carolina, a guide to hiking trails, is in its second edition with 125 waterfall hikes featured. Hiking the waterfalls of South Carolina competes with hiking the Appalachian trail. Carrying well stocked backpacks and photography equipment is a must.
The current book is available online, at most State Parks in Upstate SC, at local outfitters, booksellers, and directly from the author. An expected third edition with an additional 26 major waterfalls is expected to be published in 2020. Email email@example.com for further information.
CHATTOOGA RIVER CHAPTER TROUT UNLIMITED
VIDEO PRESENTATION OF LECTURE, LOCAL MYTHS AND LEGENDS, VIDEOS AND STILL PHOTOS.
AVAILABLE FOR HIKING CLUBS, CIVIC CLUBS, GARDEN CLUBS, CONSERVATION GROUPS, CHURCHES, MUSEUMS, ETC.
ONE HOUR OF INTERESTING, HISTORICAL, NATURAL, EDUCATIONAL, AND HUMOROUS ENTERTAINMNET.
THE BOOK, WATERFALL HIKES OF UPSTATE SOUTH CAROLINA, SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR WILL BE AVAILABLE AT A DISCOUNTED PRICE.
IF YOU LOVE THE OUTDOORS, YOU WILL LOVE THIS PRESENTATION!
THOMAS E. KING, SR.
Here in the southern Blue Ridge it’s been a warm, late autumn. If you haven’t visited to tour the fall colors, you still have time. There may have been some in the upper elevations early on, but lower down the trees are just beginning to turn. There are still days and weeks ahead to see it. Some theorize that in addition to the higher than average temperatures, the very wet summer we had is playing a part in delaying the fall show.
All that moisture has another, very positive effect: the waterfalls, often dry in the fall, are at their best this year. On a recent walk out Deep Creek Trail at the Bryson City entrance to Great Smokies National Park, Tom’s Branch Falls, within a tenth of a mile of the trailhead, was mobbed with visitors of all ages, playing in the water, sitting at the base of the cascade, and just resting on the benches on the opposite side of the creek. Though some were snapping photos and shooting videos, the crowd included people who didn’t appear to be paying any attention to the waterfall itself–deep in conversation with each other, completely engaged with their phone screens, or corralling playful children. Nevertheless, they congregated near it, drawn to the environment a waterfall creates. There’s definitely something alluring–even mystical–about waterfalls.
Outdoor writer Glenn Oeland once wrote this about waterfalls for South Carolina Wildlife:
"Few sights captivate the eye like a waterfall. An irresistible magic draws us to gaze in wonder at these natural fountains. Waterfalls are among nature's most sought-after spectacles, attested to by the fact that many a mountain trail ends at the foot of a cascading stream. Their beauty and drama inspire poems of praise and tales of tragedy, and the danger posed by their perilous heights seems only to add to their allure.
Neither skillfully made photographs nor carefully chosen words can fully convey the beauty and drama of a waterfall. Scenes of such grandeur defy expression. Perhaps this is because a waterfall is as much an event as a place--the motion and the sound of falling water, the thunderous roar and drenching spray, the smell of fresh water on laurel-scenter air--these delights must be experienced firsthand.
For untold ages, these places of wild splendor have beckoned from the ancient heights. Thanks to people who care, they beckon still."
Mary Ellen Hammond of Milestone Press adds the following observation:
And what’s behind that allure? In a post from the year 2000, backpacker.com sheds this light on the science of the attraction:
Sun, lightning, seashore waves, and waterfalls all create electrically charged particles called ions. Scientists credit negatively charged atmospheric ions, a by-product of misting water, with the fresh feel of clean air. They’ve also been found to calm moods by altering the brain’s seratonin levels in much the same way that Prozac does. Waterfalls produce negative ions in abundance; the concentration near a pounding cascade is 5,000 times that of an office or on a city street, and hundreds of times higher than sea or lake shores.
Waterfalls often draw crowds. So, if you’re looking for solitude, how do you find one that’s more secluded? It’s not that difficult, though you may need to walk farther than the tenth of a mile necessary to see Tom’s Branch Falls at Deep Creek to get one all to yourself. When you’re considering fall walks to look at autumn foliage (remember, there’s still time), think about walks to waterfalls. Two Milestone Press guidebooks can guide you to falls of all kinds, depending on size, type, location, and the distance you want to walk. Waterfall Hikes of Upstate South Carolina by Thomas E. King covers a region known for waterfalls with 125 waterfall hikes. Waterfall Hikes of North Georgia by Jim Parham includes 60 hikes to over 200 waterfalls in north Georgia. With cascades flowing freely, this is a great year to combine leaf-looking with waterfall walks and hikes.
Mary Ellen Hammond
October 24, 2018
Additional content will be added often.
Watch for photos of individual waterfalls in each county.
Photos of wildflowers and other trees and plants will be added.
Tell us about your experiences in the mountains of
Upstate South Carolina.
213 Wesley Ellison Road, Williamston, SC 29697, US
Call or email between
8:00 am and 8:00 pm