Waterfall on Carrick Creek
11-12-06 - I finally made it Table Rock State Park in upstate South Carolina in the autumn of 2006. There are more waterfalls in the park than I realized and there's more to do than just see waterfalls, so for more detailed info please visit the official web site here. You might want to click until you find the map and print out a copy. It's not much, but better than nothing.
Directions: For these waterfalls, you need to go in the West Gate entrance. It's accessed from Hwy 11 between Hwy's 178 and 276. Coming from 276, it'll be on the right side of Hwy 11. Turn right on West Gate Rd, drive a short distance and turn right at the fee station. It's $5 per adult, $3 for kids ages 6 -15. Kids 5 and under get in for free. If you plan on visiting several of the SC state parks in the span of a year, I suggest getting one of the South Carolina State Parks passports. It will pay for itself after a very few visits. The main parking area is up a ways on the right, across from the Nature Center. The trails begin behind the Nature Center.
The first waterfall you will encounter is right at the trailhead (pictured above). If you have or want to bring someone with limited mobility to a waterfall, this is a good spot. On a warm day I suspect you'll have a lot of company, though. Just above this is another small falls with a smaller one coming in from Green Creek to the right.
Any other waterfalls from here are up and some are more up than others. The elevation at the Nature Center is 1160', Table Rock is 3124', Pinnacle Mountain is 3425', Mill Creek Falls is about 2125', and the waterfall on Green Creek is a meager 1370'. For all of these, continue past the above small waterfalls. The trail will split - The Pinnacle Mountain Trail goes to the left and up to Mill Creek Falls then up to Pinnacle Mountain. Table Rock Trail heads to the right and up to a waterfall on Green Creek and on up to Table Rock. If you have all day and a lot of stamina, you can do a big loop. Harry and I went up the Pinnacle Mountain Trail to Mill Creek Falls, the took the Mill Creek Pass back over to the Table Rock Trail out to Table Rock, then back down the Table Rock Trail to the Nature Center. My best guess on length is around 10 miles or so. All of the waterfalls are rainfall dependent and will have low flow in drier times. My intent here for now is just to point out the waterfalls in the park, so here they are...
Mill Creek Falls - Go past the nature center until the trail splits, then take the Pinnacle Mountain Trail to the left. The trail follows Carrick Creek for a bit as it is sliding down the mountain in a very long series of cascades and slides. The trail then leaves the creek and continues up the mountain and is steep in places. At maybe 1.75 miles, the trail levels out a bit and heads along a ridge to the south towards Mill Creek. It crosses a tributary before getting to Mill Creek and you may or may not see falling water here. Just before the trail gets to Mill Creek Falls, it comes to the top of another waterfall, but no trail down. We backtracked a short distance and scrambled to the base.
Back on the trail, it continues up Mill Creek and crosses the creek on a bridge at the base of the falls. Unfortunately, there was a lot of downfall cluttering the base. I liked the above waterfall better.
Mill Creek Falls
If you just came for the waterfall, you might want to continue up the left side. It's very steep, but there are more cascades above this. I didn't stop to shoot since we needed to keep moving if we wanted to get to Table Rock and back down by dark. Bernie has told me about another waterfall on Mill Creek that's accessed from a different trail, but I haven't checked it out yet.
Waterfall on Green Creek - I had no idea this falls was here, so it was a nice surprise. Again, it will probably have very low flow in dry weather. From the Nature Center, head up to the trail split and take the Table Rock Trail to the right. The waterfall is maybe 1/2 a mile up and will be on the left after the trail crosses the creek. It's visible through the trees, but it's a scramble down the bank for a closer look. We were coming down from Table Rock, tired and running out of daylight, but I stopped long enough for a shot from the trail. The waterfall is bigger than it looks in this picture.
waterfall on Green Creek
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