Station Cove Falls
3-23-17 - Station Cove Falls is usually the first place in the Upstate that wildflower lovers visit looking for the first blooms of the year. The 60' high waterfall is at the end of a trail that passes through a hardwood cove with soils rich in magnesium and calcium. Areas of the cove along the trail are carpeted with Toadshade Trillium (Trillium cuneatum) in late March and early April, then a bit later with Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum). Other wildflowers along the trail include Green and Gold, Bloodroot, several varieties of violets, Rue Anemone, Hepatica, and the rare Sweet White Trillium. Depending on where you park, the hike is either 1 or 1.5 miles and is considered easy to moderate in difficulty. You can also mix in some history with your visit if you park at the Oconee Station Historic Site and take the short walk to the historic buildings. More info on this can be found on this page of the South Carolina State Parks site.
Directions: From the intersection of SC130 and SC11 near Salem, SC, drive 6.7 miles south on SC11 and turn right on Oconee Station Rd in the Pickett Post community. If you are coming from Walhalla, Oconee Station Rd is 2 miles from the intersection of SC183 and 11 - turn left. There's a sign along SC11 indicating the waterfall and historic site are down this road. If you plan on stopping at the historic site, drive 2.3 miles down Oconee Station Rd and turn right into the site at the sign. If you want to skip this and shorten the hike by 1/2 mile, keep going down Oconee Station Rd for another 0.1 miles and try to park at the kiosk. I say try because there's only room for 3-4 vehicles here.
If you begin the hike at the historic site parking area, look for the sign for the trail to the pond and falls. Follow this trail for about 1/2 mile to Oconee Station Rd and cross the road to the kiosk. If you begin the hike at the kiosk, the trail is very obvious and easy to follow. This is also part of the Walhalla section of the Palmetto Trail, but the Palmatto Trail turns off to the right before you get to the waterfall. The trail to the falls is very easy to follow and has recently been improved. Two new foot bridges have been added, but you still have to cross Station Creek on some rocks just before getting to the waterfall. Station Cove Falls looks it's best when there's been above average rainfall. I've been before when the flow is quite pitiful. Below are more photos of the falls through the years, then a video from my most recent visit in March 2017.
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