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”. Continue reading “The Narrows of Eastatoe Creek”
As I planned my last waterfall hike of 2016, I first chose the big one. It came down between Pinnacle Falls and The Narrows on Eastatoe Creek, both in upstate SC along US 178. I usually like to make a full day so picked a few smaller, easy ones as well. I planned to find and visit a small, delicate beauty known as Sweet Thing. This one is a small 20 footer on Slickum Creek located just upstream from its crossing of SC Highway 11. Anyone that has visited the very popular Wildcat Wayside waterfall that is right along side the highway should also visit Sweet Thing. I was quite surprised at how close the two were. Continue reading “Sweet Thing and Last Falls on Slickum Creek”
King Creek Falls was the main waterfall I was here to see on this late February afternoon. I made a full day of it though, stopping along the way at White Owl Falls, and Spoonauger Falls. Both Falls had impressive waterflows. It was a dreary, cloudy day. It had all the makings of an epic waterfall journey. After visiting Spoonager Falls for the first time, it was a short ride back up Burrells Ford Rd to the parking area for King Creek Falls. After the unexpected trees and fallen Rhodo that made the last 0.1 mile of Spoonauger Falls much more challenging, I was wondering what this 0.9 mile trek had in store for me. My answer came sooner than expected. There was a large truck parked near me with 2 older gentleman. They had been along the trail maintaining it and were putting chainsaws away. This was an interesting sign. I had a quick chat with them and they mentioned that it was pretty passable. After hiking it, I was so, so thankful for their efforts. The first half of this trail would have been much more difficult without them.
Those Pine trees just don’t seem to hold up well to late winter, early spring storms. There was much more downfall on this trail than the one on Spoonauger just down the road. The main difference, the trail maintainers had already been here. There had also been some fresh trail sign painting, marking the Foothills Trail and King Creek Trail.
After the bridge crosses King Creek, this was where my luck ran out. There were still some fallen rhodos to work my way up and over, under, in and around. The trail was so narrow here, rising quickly on one side, and dropping steeply on the other. I had no choice but to work through it, camera gear and all. I made my way on to King Creek Falls and it was impressive. Gone was the half sun half shade of the first visit. I had a much better waterflow, and I had it all to myself.
The best views require crossing the creek, which was somewhat tricky in higher water. The tree crossing it was not as sturdy as I remember it though. I have a feeling the rotting tree will be gone some day and this will be a wet crossing. That would be ok, it’s worth it! Here is a short video of King Creek Falls:
I first visited Spoonauger Falls in late February 2016. It was an overcast day, with lots of rain falling in the days prior to my hike. I was in this area to make a return visit to King Creek Falls. My 1st visit was over 2 years ago, and I wanted to return under better conditions than what a typical hot and dry late August afternoon can provide. Before I did this though, my first stop was to a waterfall that I overlooked on my first visit. Once I learned how close I was to Spoonauger Falls, and that I didn’t check it out….I could have kicked myself. That’s ok, I made it on this day and it was a beauty!
From NC, I came down NC 281 and crossed into South Carolina where the highway changes to SC 130. On the way down, I passed right by Whte Owl Falls on the Thompson River and had a feeling it would looking good. I was soooo not wrong. I even took a side path to view it from the top, it was ok, no where near as good as the view from the base. It was gonna be a good day. I got back on the road, into SC, and took the sign “To 107”. I turned left to head south for a few miles and took a right on Burrels Ford Road. To get to Spoonauger Falls, meant driving past the King Creek Falls parking area for a short ways. I initially passed right by it , crossed the bridge over the Chatooga River, and boom, I was in Georgia. Georgia wasn’t even on my mine…but Spoonaguer is right at the Chatooga which happens to be the northern border between these two states.
I pulled into this parking lot above, turned around as parked just off the road where the access was to the Chatooga Trail. This waterfall starts off with an easy hike along the Chatooga River upstream from the road. After a crossing of Spoonauger Creek, the trail for Spoonauger Falls heads right or upstream.
As you can see by the sign, it is a short 0.1 miles upstream. It was difficult on this day in February anyway. A number of large Rhododendrons , much taller than my 6 foot frame had toppled over and were covering the narrow, wet and muddy trail. I slowly worked my way over and under and around the storm-fallen plants and was treated to a beautiful 50 foot waterfall.
I was able to make it out into the middle and down a few tiers for an exceptional view. I’m not sure what I was expecting to see at Spoonauger Falls but it wasn’t this. I was very pleased. I made it back to the car, then it was off to King Creek.
Here is a short video of Spoonauger Falls:
It was a late January Sunday afternoon. We had just spent 1-2 hours exploring each waterfall at Brasstown Falls. It had already been a great day, and a great weekend as well. I had spent time the previous day in NE Georgia seeing waterfalls, and had seen some waterfalls the same day before Brasstown. I could have left for home and been fine…..but that is just not how we roll. I always try to squeeze in as many waterfalls as possible per trip and usually the hard part is deciding which ones NOT to visit and to save for a later day. After Brasstown Falls, we had a short meeting of the waterfall minds. Sids Falls was very close by, but most of us had just recently visited this one. Daniel had this thing for Kings Creek Falls, which is beautiful and a must-see…but being probably an hour away was just not practical. It really came down to 2 waterfalls, that were just moments away: Opossum Creek Falls or Long Creek Falls. They were both very close by. The trailheads were maybe 1 mile apart on the dirt Turkey Ridge Rd. They were also both on the Carolina Mountain Club’s Waterfall Challenge 100 (WC100) that I have been working on for several years and had yet to see. One person in the group had been to these before and warned that Opossum Creek Falls was over 5 miles round trip while Long Creek Falls was around 3 miles round trip. Being Sunday afternoon now, and long drives home awaiting everyone, we opted for the shorter Long Creek Falls. It turned out to be a very good choice. Continue reading “Long Creek Falls Along the Chattooga”
Brasstown Falls is a unique setting of 4 very cool, interesting, beautiful and different waterfalls located very close to one another. 3 of them are on Brasstown Creek and 1 is just upstream on the feeder stream Little Brasstown Creek. Brasstown Falls was the destination for one of my trips to South Carolina in 2014, that thanks to bad traffic jams, taking different routes than planned and just running out of daylight, I ended up at Station Cove Falls. It wasn’t a total loss. After that, I kind of forgot about Brasstown for awhile. It is on the Carolina Mountain Club’s Waterfall Challenge 100 list that I have been steadily working down for a few years now. Sooner or later it was going to come up again. A recent trip to Sids Falls in Oconee County, SC with some friends brought me very close to Brasstown Falls and it came up on the radar screen again. I had heard some great things about Brasstown Falls. It was time to plan an overnight trip and come and visit this one. Continue reading “Brasstown Falls”
Station Cove Falls is a beautiful 60 foot set of cascades that starts as one drop and then splits into two. The group and I, after completing the primary hike to Sids Falls on Shoulder Bone Branch, had enough energy and daylight for 1 more waterfall. There wasn’t much time left on these short days when the sun goes down at 5 pm, so we had to choose something fairly short. Brasstown Falls was closeby, and we actually drove right by Yellow Branch and Issaqueena Falls. We settled on Station Cove Falls, just outside of Walhalla, SC.
This is a short 1/2 mile hike that is about as easy as mountain hiking gets. The first half of the hike is along and just above a swamp. You wouldn’t think a waterfall was anywhere near this place. Once around the swamp, the landscape changes quickly as the hills rise on each side of you. The fence and info board roughly mark the changing of the landscape. Continue reading “Station Cove Falls – 2016 Winter Hike”
Twin Falls in northern South Carolina is spectacular. As my waterfall list nears the 150 mark now, Twin Falls remain a solid top 10 pick in my favorites list. It’s really a combination of what a great waterfall and scene this is, the ease of access, and a very central location in an area very rich with waterfalls. The walk to this one is short, 10-15 minutes and easy. It is located in a nature preserve area. The trail is in excellent shape. To top it off, there is a nice covered shelter once you reach the waterfall that is perfectly located for some great photos. If the weather cooperates, and the rocks are dry, this one is fun to get out on and explore the individual falls closer up. On this day in late April though, it was a gray day with some recent rains and it the rocks were too wet for my feet. The main challenge here is finding the location by car. One of my favorite websites for directions to South Carolina waterfall is www.sctrails.net. They provide directions to about 25 South Carolina waterfalls and Twin Falls is on their list. Continue reading “Twin Falls, South Carolina in the Spring”
I finally found my way to Virginia Hawkins Falls in late April 2015. I feel kind of silly for it taking so long, especially seeing how many times I have driven right past it. It is a beautiful 25 foot waterfall that seems more difficult to reach than it really is. From the trailhead, this was a 1.4 mile hike for me or 2.8 mile round trip. Knowing where to turn and where to park are the only real challenges to overcome with this one. Continue reading “Virginia Hawkins Falls “
I nearly missed this opportunity! As we suffered through one of the coldest periods in recent memory, wonderful photos of normal waterfalls transformed into unique ice sculptures, carved only by the fastest of the moving waters began to show on Social Media everywhere. I had a Sunday all set up to get out into the far southwest NC, and a rough list of 10-12 waterfalls that I planned to visit. Continue reading “Ice Falls Day Trip 2015”