Falls Creek Falls
11-8-15 - Falls Creek Falls is one of the first South Carolina waterfalls I visited - way back in 2002. The hike to the falls is 1.2 miles and is moderate to difficult. Sections of the trail are very steep and if you aren't in halfway decent shape, you might not make it. The waterfall is about 100' high and is in 2 sections. The photo above is from the lower section with just a bit of the upper section showing. The parking area for the trail head is very close to Jones Gap State Park, so you could make a very full day visiting both areas.
Directions: Coming from Brevard, take Hwy 276 south into South Carolina. Pass Caesars Head State Park, the parking for Raven Cliff Falls trail, and continue down the curvy road 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 4 miles and turn right on Duckworth Road. (Jones Gap SP is straight ahead on River Falls Rd.) Drive 0.5 miles and turn right on Falls Creek Rd following the signs to Palmetto Bible Camp. The road is rather narrow at this point. Drive another 0.4 miles and look for the parking area on the left at the info kiosk.
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 Hwy 25 for 10.3 miles and turn right on Gap Creek Rd. Follow Gap Creek Rd until it ends at River Falls Rd. Turn right and Duckworth Rd is 0.2 miles up on the right. Follow the directions above to the parking area.
The trail to the waterfall is blazed purple (used to be orange) and begins at the kiosk. The information on the kiosk indicates a 1200' gain in elevation, but my track only shows a net gain of about 600'. The first 0.35 miles of the trail is a steady uphill climb. At 0.4 miles, look for a couple of huge boulders on the left as the trail passes through some nice open woods. The trail is descending slightly at this point and continues to do so until you reach a crossing of Little Falls Creek 3/4 of a mile into the hike. After crossing the creek, look for a side trail to the left maybe 50-75 yards up the trail just before the main trail turns sharply to the right. There are a couple of small waterfalls (or maybe more) on Falls Creek a short distance up this trail. Cross the creek where this trail ends and they are just up the creek (pictured below).
Back on the main trail, you'll be gaining 400' in elevation in the next 1/4 mile or so to the waterfall. Once you get close to the waterfall, you'll be able to see both sections through the trees. When the trail comes to the waterfall, it descends towards the lower section. To see the upper section, climb the steep trail to your right.
The main trail crosses the creek at the base of the falls and continues on to Jones Gap State Park. The rocks are very slippery down here, so please be careful! I haven't been past the waterfall, but at some point it becomes the Hospital Rock Trail.
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