Eastern Stream Falls
2-6-16 - Eastern Stream Falls is off of the Pinnacle Pass Trail in Jones Gap State Park. Along with Oil Camp Falls, access is off of Oil Camp Rd, so you don't go in the main entrance of the park. Eastern Stream Falls is on the same stream that Oil Camp Falls is on - Eastern Stream - but about 400' higher in elevation. Taking in both waterfalls would be a nice 1/2 day outing of about 4 miles round trip. One section of the Pinnacle Pass Trail gains about 400' in elevation in about 1/2 mile which makes this hike moderate to difficult depending on your abilities. This waterfall is in several sections, so it's difficult to judge the total height, but there's easily over 100' of falling water. If you visit this area, please do not disturb the soil and areas along the sides of the water flow. There are uncommon plants that live in these wet areas!
Directions from Brevard: Take US276 south from the center of town for about 12 miles into South Carolina. Pass Caesars Head State Park, the parking for Raven Cliff Falls trail, and continue down the curvy road for several more miles to a stop sign where 276 meets Hwy 11. Turn left - Hwys 276 and 11 share this stretch of road for about 6 miles. At about 1/2 mile you'll notice Wildcat Branch Falls on the left. Continue on 276/11 for about 4.5 miles and turn left at the F-Mart on to River Falls Road. Drive 2.9 miles and turn left on Oil Camp Rd. Drive 1.7 miles on this narrow road and bear right where the pavement ends on to a one lane rutted out mostly red dirt road. Drive about 0.1 miles to the end and attempt to park without blocking the gate. At the only time I have visited this waterfall, there was barely enough room for 2-3 vehicles to park and you could bottom out trying to get turned around.
If you are coming from the Asheville area, you can get on I-26 east and head towards South Carolina. Pass the Hendersonville exits and continue to Exit 54 (US25 south). Take this exit, follow US25 for 10.3 miles and turn right on Gap Creek Rd. Follow Gap Creek Rd for 5-6 miles until it ends at River Falls Rd. Turn left, drive 0.7 miles and turn right on Oil Camp Rd. Follow the directions above to the puny parking area.
Begin the hike on the old road on the other side of the gate. Hike about 1/2 mile and cross an old concrete bridge over Oil Camp Creek. Continue about another tenth of a mile and cross another bridge at a red gate. Go a short distance and look for the Pinnacle Pass Trail coming in from the right. Take this hard right on to the trail (#20 and white blazes) and begin a fairly steep ascent up the mountain. The trail switchbacks a few times to help ease the pain of the ascent. At about 1/2 a mile up, the trail bears to the left and levels out. Cross a small stream and continue less than 1/4 mile to Eastern Stream Falls. The creek here splits into 3 sections. Cross the first 2 and come to the section of the waterfall shown in the above picture. The trail crosses the creek here also and you can use the thin cable on the left to help with the crossing if you feel it's necessary.
Eastern Stream Falls
The Pinnacle Pass trail continues on from here. Once you are across the stream, look down and you'll see more sloped bedrock that the water flows over. Don't go down right here, though. The soil layer is extremely thin and you could easily slip on the wet rock below the soil and leaves. Continue down the trail a bit farther and scramble down the less steep area back at an angle towards the lower section of the waterfall. During the winter, you can also look up from the trail and see the water flowing over more bedrock above and way above. I didn't venture up there on this trip, but might on a future visit to the area. Be sure to click the video below to see both Oil Camp and Eastern Stream Falls.
Lower section of Eastern Stream Falls
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