King Creek Falls 3-28-17
3-28-17 King Creek Falls is a spectacular 75' waterfall near the Chattooga River in northern Oconee County. The hike is an easy to moderate loop hike of about 1.5 miles. For years I've had this as just an out and back hike here, but on my latest visit we followed the directions in Thomas King's SC waterfalls book which took us on the other part of the loop. This section of the trail goes by the Burrells Ford Campground which I'll have to admit I didn't know was there until this last visit. The trail to Spoonauger Falls is right down the road and you could easily do these 2 waterfalls in a day and still have time to hang out by the river. This trail is kid friendly and is very popular in the warmer months.
Directions: Heading west from Walhalla on SC28, drive about 8 miles and bear right on to SC107. Drive 10 miles on 107 and turn left on to Burrells Ford Rd. 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 3.7 miles and turn right on to Burrells Ford Rd. (Wigington Rd is the road that cuts over to SC130 (NC281) where you would turn left to go up to Whitewater Falls.) Burrells Ford Rd is paved for about 1/4 mile, then turns to gravel. Drive 2.3 miles and park in the lot on the left. This is also parking for the Chattooga Trail, Foothills Trail, and the campground. There's a pit toilet in the parking area - just an FYI.
As I mentioned above, you can do this hike as a loop - or actually more like a lollipop loop. King Creek Falls is about the halfway point. The easiest way is to begin the hike on the road going down to the campground just beyond the gate at the far end of the parking lot. Hike down this gravel road for about 1/4 mile and the camp sites will be on the right. Go past the kiosk and look for the signed trail (orange blazes) on the left heading up the left side of King Creek. Follow this easy section of the trail for about 0.2 miles and cross the creek on the foot bridge on the right. Notice a trail (Foothills Trail) that turns to the left at this point. That's the way back if you want to do the loop. After you cross the creek, bear to the left and continue another 0.1 miles to the intersection with the Foothills Trail (white blazes). Bear left and up the steps here and continue following the trail up the right side of King Creek for less than 1/4 mile to the base of the waterfall. This last section of trail is a little narrower and somewhat rocky which bumps up the easy rating to lightly moderate. There's not a lot of room at the falls on this side of the creek to take pictures from. You can cross the creek on a log or the rocks and get to a larger sandy area.
To complete the loop on the way back, cross that foot bridge again, but don't turn left to head back towards the campground. Instead, stay straight on this section of the Foothills Trail (white blazes). This is a nice section of trail that meanders through the woods before eventually coming up and paralleling Burrells Ford Rd. The Foothills Trail will turn right to cross the road, but you'll stay straight and come out in the parking lot at the kiosk near the road.
The first image above was take during a period of drought in this area. Below are 2 more shots from April 2010 when the water was flowing more freely. The video is from March 2017.
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