Waterfalls in South Carolina

March 10, 2023

waterfalls in South Carolina

South Carolina is home to a multitude of waterfalls, some of which are quite spectacular. From the 70-foot waterfalls in Oconee County to the 80-foot falls near Greenville, there are plenty of stunning options for any outdoor enthusiast.

Waterfalls are formed when water moves over softer material, such as rocks, ice or sediment. They can also be shaped by erosion.

Issaqueena Falls

Issaqueena Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in South Carolina. It is located inside Stumphouse Tunnel Park and can be easily accessed from a parking lot.

The waterfall has a viewing platform that allows visitors to see the entire cascade. There is also a short trail that leads to a ledge that overlooks the falls.

This trail is very steep and is not recommended for small children or people with mobility issues. However, it is worth it for the views alone.

According to legend, a Creek maiden named Issaqueena warned white settlers about an attack by the Cherokee. To escape pursuing Indians she appeared to jump over the waterfall but actually took refuge behind it.

Besides the waterfall, visitors can also visit Stumphouse Tunnel, an unfinished railroad tunnel that was built in the 1800s. Eventually, the tunnel was abandoned, but it is still a historic site to visit today.

Brasstown Falls

Located in the southern edge of Sumter National Forest, Brasstown Falls features three cascades that tumble for 120 feet. It’s a great way to see the beauty of nature in a quick and easy hike, and is also a lovely spot for swimming in a calm pool at the bottom of the falls.

The first part of the hike (known as Brasstown Cascades) drops 50 feet before a narrow path descends into a ledge called Brasstown Veil, which spills over to a large pool at the bottom.

The middle section of the falls (known as Brasstown Sluice) is a 15-foot chute that plunges into a shallow pool that’s perfect for cooling off on hot days. It’s a great place for taking pictures and a nice reward for your hard work on the trail.

King Creek Falls

If you love waterfalls and the outdoors, South Carolina has plenty to offer. The northwest corner of the state is known for its wild and scenic rivers, picturesque campgrounds, and miles of hiking trails like the Chattooga Trails and Foothills Trails.

One of our favorites is King Creek Falls near Burrells Ford on the Chatooga River. It offers a relaxing hike, photogenic falls, and places to swim in the waterfall’s small plunge pool.

This moderate half mile one-way hike is a perfect fit for families and hikers of all fitness levels. The path is easy to follow with orange blazes and a metal trailhead post.

Hikers should be careful as the gravel trail narrows at some points and is choked with wet, slippery tree roots. Also, beware of bears in the area.

Rainbow Falls

The 150-foot Rainbow Falls tumbles down a towering near-vertical cliff in Nantahala National Forest near Gorges State Park. This waterfall is a favorite among hikers, especially during summer when it can create cooling mist.

In addition to its dramatic views, Rainbow Falls also offers a variety of other features. For example, if the sun is in the right position, it can create a rainbow framing the waterfall below.

To see this phenomenon, you need to be there when the sun rises and stays in the right position for a few hours after it sets. This is why it's best to visit this waterfall in the morning or early afternoon.

The best way to reach this falls is by hiking the Grassy Ridge Trail in Gorges State Park. This route is a 1.5-mile round trip with some steep sections and creek crossings.


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