Sloan Bridge Falls
11-8-17 - Sloan Bridge Falls and Hikers Peril are along the Foothills Trail in Oconee County. They aren't really worth a special trip to see, but if you happen to be in the area with a little time to kill, you can cross 2 waterfalls off of your list with a fairly easy round trip hike of less than 1.5 miles. The only tricky part is the steep scramble off the trail down to Sloan Bridge Falls. Or better yet, hike this section of the Foothills Trail for 3.3 miles to the Fish Hatchery Rd access which is also off of 107 south of Wigington Rd. I first visited these waterfalls back in 2006 and made a return trip in November 2017 for updated pictures and hiking conditions. Unfortunately, Hiker's Peril is really overgrown and has a lot of downfall blocking any chance of getting a decent picture.
Directions: From the intersection of Wigington Rd (SC413) and SC107 near the SC/NC border, drive north on 107 for about 0.2 miles to the Sloan Bridge picnic area on the left. If you happen to be in the Whitewater Falls area of NC off of NC281 south, continue south on 281 into South Carolina and turn right on Wigington Rd towards the scenic overlook of Lake Jocassee. Go to the end of Wigington Rd to SC107 and turn right. The picnic area and trail parking will be on the left. The trail begins at the south end of the parking lot.
The trail follows East Fork of the Chattooga River and is narrow in a couple of places, but fairly easy for the most part. In 0.3 miles from the parking area, you'll come to a steep side trail that heads down to a small cascade. Continue down the Foothills Trail for a very short distance past this to the next steeper trail and take it down to the base of the falls. There are some roots to hold on to on the way down, but I'm not sure if it's something you would want to send small children down. The waterfall is in 3 sections and is maybe 25' high total. The side trail comes out in the middle of the waterfall in the area of the picture above. The photo below is the top tier of the falls, and the last 2 sections are smaller cascades. If you can't get down the side trail, there are glimpses of the waterfall farther down the Foothills Trail.
To get to Hikers Peril (aka Hemlock Falls), continue another 1/4 mile or so to a wooden foot bridge where the waterfall spills down the mountain on an unnamed small creek on the left. Along the way you'll pass another 10' cascade on East Fork, but there isn't much of a trail to scramble down to get a closer look. Hikers Peril is somewhere between 30' and 50' high depending on who you believe. In drier weather, it can be more of a trickle than a waterfall. The photo below is from 2006, but that view was just about entirely blocked by overgrown rhododendron and downfall on my last trip in November 2017. I didn't even bother taking a picture.
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