Lee Falls 4-28-17
4-28-17 Lee Falls is one of South Carolina's finest waterfalls and is another that is best seen after a good amount of rainfall. The main section of the waterfall is about 50' high with additional cascades below. The area around the waterfall has the feel of a tropical rainforest during the spring and after a rain storm. The 1.5 mile hike begins easy, but gets steep and rocky just before getting to the waterfall. The area around the waterfall is very steep. There are also several large fallen trees that you have to climb over along the trail and a couple of creek crossings that may require getting your feet wet. Lee Falls is in the Sumter National Forest, but I don't think this trail is a forest service trail as there are no blazes. Enough people have been visiting this waterfall throughout the years that the trail is well worn and fairly easy to follow. The waterfall is close to Station Cove Falls and you could spend the best part of a day enjoying both falls.
Directions: Depending on which way you are coming from, get on SC11 and find Cheohee Valley Road in the Tamassee community between Walhalla and Lake Jocassee. There's a brown and white FS sign pointing towards a SC Forest Service facility and the store on 11 at this point was painted blue on my April 2017 visit. Drive 2.1 miles down Cheohee Valley Rd and turn left on Tamassee Knob Rd. Drive another 0.5 miles and turn right on Jumping Branch Rd. Then drive 1.5 miles and turn left on the 2nd gravel road - FS715A. Look for a small carsonite stake with the numbers on it and don't take the left on FS715 that you'll pass first. Drive 0.7 miles down this gravel road to a dirt parking area on the right, just before a small bridge. The trail begins on the other side of the gate.
The path immediately enters a wildlife field and you'll pass through 4 of them on the way to the waterfall. This is gamelands, so wear blaze orange during hunting season! Depending on the time of year that you visit, the grass might be waist high and will probably be wet with dew in the mornings. If it is, your legs and feet will get very wet. Go through the middle of the field to the opposite end, pick up the road again and cross Tamassee Creek. Head into the 2nd field, then the 3rd field and go to the opposite end. Cross the creek again and head into the 4th field. At the end of it, pick up the trail into the forest in the right corner of the field. The trail is now very easy to follow and you may notice some blue flagging tape. Cross a tributary of Tamassee Creek, then when you get to another tributary, you have to cross it to pick up the trail on the other side. A lesser trail heads up the right side of this trib, so be sure you don't follow it. On my last visit, there was flagging tape indicating that the trail crosses the creek. From here the trail gets narrower and is a little harder to follow. After a couple more creek crossings, you'll be on the left side of Tamassee Creek. The trail from here is more of a steep goat trail as you pick your way up the rock and boulders the remaining short distance to the waterfall.
Below are more photos and a video of Lee Falls from my most recent trip. Compare the next image from 2003 with the others and notice how the far left finger of the falls had more water back then. Now it's the far right finger.
Lee Falls 8-30-03
Lee Falls 10-28-06
Lee Falls 4-28-17
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