King Creek Falls – Winter 2016

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:

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Spoonauger 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!  

White Owl Falls

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:

Sids Falls – First Waterfall of 2016


What a magnificent way to begin 2016!  A new waterfall for me and beautiful one at that.  I missed out on the usual New Years Day Hike to begin the year.  It wasn’t long though. My first hike and first waterfall occurred  on January 3rd .   The destination for this hike was to be Sids Falls, a gorgeous 55 foot cascade in extreme NW South Carolina, minutes from the Georgia state line. After experiencing a very warm, record breaking December,  the New Year rushed  in with stiff northwesterly winds that brought us all back to reality.  I prefer hiking in South Carolina in the winter, as it usually brings the added benefit of being warmer than the waterfall hikes in NC.  Even as the temps were on there way trending down,  we were still able to make it here on a day when the forecast high was to be near 60. This helped take the edge off the 30s and 40s experienced New Year’s Day and weekend in NC.  Continue reading “Sids Falls – First Waterfall of 2016”