The Narrows - Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve
11-3-14 - The Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve is a 374 acre preserve in Pickens County in upstate South Carolina. Eastatoe Creek descends through a gorge in the preserve and is squeezed through the rock in an area called The Narrows. The hike is a 5 mile round trip on a well maintained trail and is moderate to difficult with the hardest part being the descent then ascent in and out of the gorge. I've been to this area several times now because it's such a unique area. You could also combine this hike with the hike to Virginia Hawkins Falls which is about 3 more miles up Horsepasture Rd.
Directions - If you are coming from the NC side, take Hwy 178 south from Hwy 64 in Rosman to the South Carolina state line. From there, drive a little under 2.5 miles and just before the bridge, turn to the right on to the gravel Horsepasture Rd (the upper road when you make the turn). If you are coming from SC, the left hand turn on to Horsepasture Rd is about 8 miles north of Hwy 11 off of Hwy 178 just after you cross the bridge. The parking area is about 0.4 miles up Horsepasture Rd at the red gate on the left, past the parking lot for the Foothills Trail. You may see other references saying to park in the FT parking lot and walk up the road to the gate, but I've never had a problem parking at the gate. Just don't block the gate!
The hike begins on the closed logging road on the other side of the red gate. The trail is yellow blazed and is also a spur trail for the Foothills Trail. In less than 5 minutes, the trail bears to the left at a sign with rules and regulations of the area. The trail heads uphill for about 1/4 mile, then is mostly a gradual downhill for the next mile or so. Along parts of this section of the trail you'll be near the edge of the gorge and you'll hear Eastatoe Creek gushing below. At about an hour from the trail head, the trail turns to the left and begins the descent into the gorge. The trail from here down is a series of steps and switchbacks. In about another 15-20 minutes, you'll be at creek level and will come to a small sign at a fork indicating 'The Narrows' to the right. The yellow blazed trail goes to the left at this point. Continue on the trail to the right for less than 10 minutes to a viewing platform for the falls (the view in the above photo). The platform was added some time in the past few years. Up until then, you had to find the best way in for a view - there was no official trail. One one trip, we took the yellow blazed trail to the left to the creek, then crossed the creek above the falls and bushwhacked down to the rocks on the right of the creek in the shot above. On another trip, Bernie showed us how he had followed the draw to the right where the trail heads to the platform, come out on the creek below the falls and waded and rock hopped up for closer shots. If you attempt any of these off trail routes for a closer look, be very careful! The first shot below is looking down The Narrows from above, the second is from below, the last shows Bernie so you get an idea of the size of the drop, and then a video from my 2008 visit.
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