The Narrows of Eastatoe Creek

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The Narrows of Eastatoe Creek is one of the waterfalls on the Carolina Mountain Club’s Waterfall Challenge 100 that I have been working, off and on to achieve the last several years.  This particular hike was a longer one at 5 miles round trip.  The majority of the hike is on a relatively (a few ups and downs)  flat forest road with just the  last section descending into the gorge and creek way, way below.  It cuts down the very steep mountainside through a series of switchbacks and well placed stairs.  It was nowhere close to being as strenuous as I had imagined it being.  At the end is a beautiful, elevated viewing deck with an unobstructed, although distant view of the very unique waterfall formation known as “The Narrows”.  

The Narrows are located deep in the hills in the extreme upstate of South Carolina.  Along US 178, just a few miles south of the NC state line, look for the gravel Horsepasture Road.  It will be marked by the wooden “Foothills” trail access.  This is also the same road to turn on if your destination is the scenic Virginia Hawkins Falls.  Travel up a short ways, past the Foothills parking area to the sign for the Eastatoe Heritage Preserve.   A red gated road is the trailhead.  There is room for 3 or 4 cars here.  If full, you may have to backtrack to the Foothills parking area and walk back up the road.

The first 2 miles are simply following the forest road along Narrow Ridge, and around huge drainages.  You will be able to hear Eastatoe Creek roaring way down below for most of the way.  Since this was a late December hike, and there are no leaves on the trees, I was able to spot some falling water below, well upstream of the Narrows.  I have no way of knowing how to reach it except to somehow creekwalk, wade and bushwhack upstream from the Narrows…if that is even possible.  There is no way down the steep mountain side except following the extremely well designed trail.  The trail blazes for this route are yellow and there will be a few junctions where you will need to make certain to follow the yellow blaze.

Once down the mountain, there is another split.  One way goes left to the Eastatoe Creek above the Narrows, the other way is the path to the Narrows.  It cuts back right, around a small mountain/large hill at the bottom.  Once around it, you will be at a beautiful overlook, way above the falls.  Photo ops are good here, just make sure you have something that can zoom in pretty good, as there is some distance.

The return wasn’t near as bad as I had imagined.  They really built this trail well.  It is however a long way to go for what is a distant view.  I have seen folks in photos closer.  I imagine they went left at the bottom to the creek and then worked their way downstream….as I could see no safe way down from the viewing deck.  I didn’t have time to explore further as it was 3:45 pm with the sun setting in just over an hour.  Here is a rough view of the Hike Map.

And a short video of The Narrows….

3 comments

  1. Definitely not supposed to park at the red gate – it is the emergency access for not just Eastatoe, but a section of Jocassee gorges, meaning fire engines etc. need to have access to the road. Parking for the hike is a little ways down the road at the Foothills Parking area. This is a favorite hike of ours, and we often take the spur trail that leads directly down to the creek under the Narrows, where there are more than a few small cascades to splash in and photograph.

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