If you are on the hunt for stunning waterfalls in South Carolina, you’ve come to the right place!
There is something magical about coming across a waterfall during a hike. Whether you are hiking in sunshine, fog, or a light rain, the quiet thunder of a waterfall makes you want to pause and appreciate the beauty of nature.
South Carolina provides quite the collection of waterfalls to choose from – with cascades ranging from a magnificent 420 feet to a simple 25-foot drop. With many located near Greenville, you can even plan a road trip to see multiple waterfalls in a day.
From short hikes to full-day adventures, South Carolina delivers scenic waterfall views you won’t soon forget. No matter your hiking level, there are picturesque waterfalls in South Carolina for you to enjoy!
So, let’s dig a little deeper into the stunning waterfalls of South Carolina!
14 Stunning Waterfalls In South Carolina
Yellow Branch Falls
We will start with one of the smaller waterfalls in South Carolina. Don’t let the size deter you. This is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state! Measuring at 50-feet, Yellow Branch Falls hosts a multitude of cascades.
Located near Walhalla in the Yellow Branch Picnic Area, the falls can be accessed by a moderate 1.5-mile hike (3 miles round-trip) through a gorgeous hardwood forest. Yellow Branch Falls is best viewed after a decent rain, but be prepared to get your feet wet to see all of the views.
Also best seen after a decent rain, Lee Falls is a 75-foot high waterfall on a heavily trafficked out and back trail near Tamassee. This 2.9-mile round-trip hike can be a little difficult since there is no official trail even though it is rated as moderate. Though the trail starts easy, it becomes steep and rocky near the waterfall.
Lee Falls is best visited from March to October. Be prepared to wear your wellies or other waterproof shoes! There are several stream crossings that may require you to get your feet wet. Lee Falls is located near the next falls on our list and you can make a day out of seeing them both.
Station Cove Falls
Sometimes the hikes to waterfalls in South Carolina are as picturesque as the waterfalls themselves.
Located near Lee Falls, Station Cove Falls is one of the premier South Carolina waterfalls to visit in the Spring. It is known as a wonderful hike to appreciate the first blooms of the season. Best enjoyed from March until May, the 1.6-mile out-and-back trail to the 60-foot high waterfall is great for all skill levels. You can even bring your dog along!
Station Cove Falls is also an excellent choice if you are interested in adding a little history to your day. The trail begins at the Oconee Station Historic Site which offers a look at life in 18th and 19th century South Carolina.
Issaqueena Falls is one of the easiest waterfalls in South Carolina to visit. A relaxing 0.3-mile walk brings you to a pavilion overlooking the falls. If you are looking for more of a challenge, you can hike down to the bottom of the cascade. The trail down the bottom of the falls is steep and a bit rugged, but the view is lovely.
According to legend, Issaqueena was a maiden who fell in love with a white man. After warning his settlement of an impending attack, Issaqueena fled to the falls to escape her tribesmen. She pretended to jump from the top of the falls and hid in a secret cove in the upper cascades. Issaqueena survived and fled with her husband to Alabama.
Stumphouse Tunnel Park also is home to the Stumphouse, Middle, and Saddle Tunnels – a trio of unfinished railroad tunnels from before the Civil War. All three tunnels are relatively close by and can be explored while you are visiting Issaqueena Falls.
Make sure you have $5 cash for the Stumphouse Tunnel Park entry fee dropbox – even if you are just driving up to visit the falls!
Long Creek Falls
Looking for a spot to enjoy a picnic in the sunshine with the spray of a waterfall to cool you off? Look no further! Long Creek Falls, a 50-foot cascade located off the Chattooga River, is ideal for hanging out.
The hike to Long Creek Falls is moderately difficult. It is not an official forest service trail, but it is well worth the trek. The large flat rocks and swimming hole at the bottom of the falls make it an idyllic summertime destination.
If you are looking for a different kind of waterfall adventure, Long Creek Falls can also be seen by taking a whitewater rafting trip down Section 4 of the Chattooga River.
Blue Hole Falls
Speaking of swimming holes and summertime, Blue Hole Falls is aptly named for the beautiful blue pool at the bottom of the cascade. There is an easy 0.5-mile trail that leads to the top of the spectacular 75-foot waterfall.
Blue Hole Falls is a hidden treasure among the waterfalls of South Carolina. The view from the top of the falls is awe-inspiring and well worth the short trek. If you want to check out the blue pool, you need to cross the creek at the top of the falls and then follow a faint path downhill. This path is not for the faint of heart.
While you are in the area, you can check out Cedar Creek Falls. This waterfall is located upstream from Blue Hole Falls and also is a perfect swimming spot.
Kings Creek Falls
Kid and pet-friendly, Kings Creek Falls is a magnificent 70-foot waterfall in northern Oconee County. One of three major hikes along the Chattooga River, the loop to see Kings Creek Falls is an easy 1.5-mile journey.
The waterfall is so beautiful you will want to spend the day relaxing on the rocks or downed trees at the fall’s base reveling in the refreshing mist from the falls. Popular in the warmer months, Kings Creek Falls empties into a u-shaped shallow cove perfect for children to wade into.
If you don’t spend the entire day basking in King Creek Falls beauty, you can head to the next South Carolina waterfall on our list – Spoongauger Falls.
Together Spoonauer Falls and Kings Creek Falls make for a perfect day of chasing waterfalls with your children. Kids will love dipping their feet into the pools on a hot day and looking for salamanders along the rocks.
Down the road from King Creek Falls, Spoonauger Falls is an easy-to-reach waterfall that streams down a stepped rockface in a broad sheet. An easy 20-minute hike through Sumter Nation Forest leads you past a small unnamed waterfall on your way to Spoonauger Falls.
Spoonauger Falls is one of the most photogenic of the South Carolina waterfalls. For those Instagram worthy photos, take note – this waterfall looks it’s finest when there are higher than normal water levels.
Raven Cliff Falls
One of the most notable waterfalls near Greenville is Raven Cliff Falls in Caesars Head State Park. At a staggering 420-feet, this cascade holds the title of the highest waterfall in South Carolina.
There are a couple of different ways to enjoy Raven Cliff Falls. An easy to moderate 2-mile hike leads you to the viewing deck, view shown in the picture below. If you are looking for a little more of a challenge and an additional view, you can continue on to the suspension bridge over the top of the falls.
The journey to the bridge is moderately difficult and is one of the most popular trail areas in Caesars Head State Park. From the bridge, you can look across the 420-foot cascade to the opposite side of the gorge. After the suspension bridge, the Raven Cliff Falls Loop becomes more difficult so either go back the way you came or get ready for quite the workout.
Laurel Fork Falls
If you are looking for hikes to waterfalls in South Carolina with an emphasis on hikes, this is the waterfall for you!
Hiking to Laural Fork Falls is a demanding five-to-six-hour hike along the Foothills Trail. The 8-mile (one way!) trek crisscrosses Laurel Creek via bridges both permanent and suspension and includes lots of wooden steps as you ascend and descend to the river.
Laurel Creek Falls also has a designated camping area located about 0.5-miles from the lake at the top of the falls. With 3 camping sites, 2 of which are right next to the creek, you can enjoy the falls morning, noon, and night.
Not up for a strenuous hike? Look for a tranquil boat tour of Lake Jocassee. The guide will take you to a cove to view the 80-foot waterfall spilling into the lake.
Virginia Hawkins Falls (aka Double Falls)
Renamed in late 2004 to honor the long-time executive secretary of the Foothills Trail Conference, Virginia Hawkins Falls is located in the lovely Laurel Fork Heritage Preserve. At only 25-feet, Virginia Hawkins Falls makes up for its small size with its beautiful atmosphere.
The hike to access the falls is an easy to moderate 3-mile round-trip journey along an old logging road. Along the hike, you will experience an assortment of rare plants, a wide range of bird species, and Laurel Creek’s abundance of aquatic life. It is a nature lover’s paradise.
The area surrounding Virginia Hawkins Falls feels as if you have wandered into a fairytale. The stream cuts through a forest of mixed hardwoods and tulip poplars. While the waterfall’s multi-tiered granite outcroppings are swathed in moss.
Rainbow Falls is one of the most picturesque waterfalls near Greenville. 45-minutes from the city, Rainbow Falls is a 100-foot ribbon of sparkling water plummeting into the pool below.
Give yourself plenty of time for this hike. Although only a 2.5-mile hike to the falls, the majority of the ascent is in a staircase manner. While strenuous, the hike is completely worth it!
Bring a picnic and enjoy the scenery, wade into the water to cool off, or pull out that camera for your photo op before heading back down. Rainbow Falls is a fantastic spot to rest after your climb.
Wildcat Wayside Falls
A part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness area, Wildcat Wayside Falls is one of the few waterfalls in South Carolina that is roadside and wheelchair accessible. Though the swimming hole is easily accessible from the road, there is a nature trail that takes you to the upper and lower falls.
The Wildcat Wayside Nature Trail is a simple 0.9-mile loop. The stairs climb right next to a small, delightful waterfall. The trail takes you through a lush forest to the bottom of the upper falls.
Wildcat Wayside Falls can be found along the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway (SC 11/US276).
A hidden gem in Sumter National Forest, Brasstown Falls provides the opportunity to see three waterfalls in one trip. The waterfall is divided into three drops – Brasstown Cascades, Brasstown Veil, and Brasstown Sluice. Brasstown Falls is especially beautiful during the summer and fall seasons due to the foliage and greenery.
The hike to view Brasstown Falls is short but can be tricky since the trail is steep and narrow. It is a short hike from the parking area to the upper falls, a cascade of about 50-feet tall.
As you head down to the middle section the trail narrows. Take care as you descend to the frontal view of the middle section! The spray can make everything very slippery.
The bottom of the falls is a narrow 15-foot cascade the empties into a decent sized pool. A great spot to relax and cool off on a summer day.
If you are feeling extra adventurous, there is another small 20-foot waterfall nearby. It is called Little Brasstown Falls. This trail is a bit difficult to find and requires getting wet as you cross the creek, but it is a lovely little waterfall to visit.