Hidden Falls Oconee State Park
1-27-19 - Hidden Falls is 60' high tiered waterfall in Oconee State Park. For some reason I had never visited this waterfall before now (January 2019). I had heard and read that this waterfall can be barely a trickle in dry weather, so this day seemed like a good one to visit since there has been an excess of rain in the area lately. The hike is 2.4 miles one way, moderate in difficulty and is well signed and easy to follow. Those of you in good shape will probably consider it fairly easy. The one thing that may deter you from visiting this waterfall is the $5 per person entry fee to the park ($3 for kids 6-15). If you are already camping in the park, that fee is covered. If you plan on visiting several of the SC state parks in the span of a year, I suggest getting one of the South Carolina State Parks passports. It will pay for itself after a very few visits. More info on Oconee State Park can be found on the SC State Parks web site here.
Directions: From the intersection of SC28 and SC107 west of Walhalla, drive north on SC107 for 2.3 miles and turn right into the entrance for Oconee State Park. If you are heading south on 107 from the North Carolina side, from the intersection of Wigington Rd and SC107, drive south on 107 for about 11.5 miles and turn left into Oconee State Park. The pay station is just ahead. Bear right just past the pay station, then bear right again past the park office following the signs for the Foothills Trail and cabins 7-13. The small parking area for the trail is 0.8 miles from the park entrance on the right. The trail head is on the left across from the parking area.
Begin the hike at the kiosk across the road from the parking area. Fill out a hiker registration card if there are any there. This trail head is for 3 trails - the yellow blazed trail for Hidden Falls, the white blazed Foothills Trail and the black blazed Tamassee Knob Trail. At just under 0.5 miles into the hike, cross a dirt road and continue across it to the T intersection. The black blazed Tamassee Knob Trail turns right, but you'll turn left following the yellow and white blazes. Continue on the trail and at 1.25 miles from the trail head, take the steps down to another dirt road. Turn right on the road, continue a short distance and bear left at the sign for the Hidden Falls trail. The trail begins to gradually descend from this point dropping about 250' in elevation before reaching Hidden Falls. At about 1.6 miles into the hike, you may hear a small waterfall on the right if there is decent water flow. It's less than 10' high and not very photogenic, but you may be able to notice in the photo that the creek goes underground at the bottom of the falls, before reappearing a short distance down the trail. This is the same creek that Hidden Falls is on.
At about 1.8 miles into the hike, you may hear the sounds of a waterfall down the steep hill on your right. This is Hidden Falls, but there's no trail down to it from here. Continue on the trail forward the remaining way to the waterfall. The trail goes past the waterfall sound, then narrows and circles back around to the right to end up at the base of the falls. When the leaves are off, you'll have a good view of the falls through the trees before you get to the base. Cindy is in the bottom left of picture below for perspective.
There's a pretty clear view of the entire waterfall from the base and you may notice where people have scrambled up the right side for a better view of the middle of the waterfall. The wet rocks in this area are very slippery, so do not go out on them for any reason! The rock is also very loose in this area, so proceed with caution. The area around the waterfall looks like it has potential for spring wildflowers, so I hope to revisit at some point when things are a little greener.
Hidden Falls from the base
middle section of Hidden Falls
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