Hikes that end with a gorgeous waterfall view are an excellent way to spend a day. If you live in Upstate South Carolina, you know there is so much natural beauty like this to be found.
Whether you want to spend an entire day or only have the afternoon, here are 17 waterfalls within a short drive from Spartanburg, SC. From the hundreds of waterfalls in nearby Oconee County to the Reedy River Falls in downtown Greenville, pack a lunch and head out for a fun day of exploring!
Whether you seek an easy day trip or a strenuous hike, there is something here for all skill levels. Many smaller waterfalls within a short drive offer a great view and picnic tables where you can eat a packed lunch or snack.
And then when you get back to Spartanburg, check out some of these other activities as well.
1. Caesars Head State Park – Raven Cliff Falls
Raven Cliff Falls is the tallest waterfall in all of South Carolina with a 420-foot cascade. If you want to see the biggest waterfall in the state, you can access it at Caesars Head State Park. It is truly a gorgeous view for park visitors.
While the park itself is one of South Carolinaâ€™s most famous landmarks, there are additional waterfalls along with lots of wildlife to obseve. You can also plan to see:
Hike to the Falls.
- 4 miles roundtrip
- moderately strenuous
- hike ends at a glorious observation deck where you can take photos of the falls
Distance: Caesars Head State Park is 58 miles from downtown Spartanburg, which is a 1-hour and 15-minute drive.
Location: 8155 Geer Hwy, Cleveland, SC 29635
Pro Tip: Going on an adventurous hike is no easy feat. But you’ll get the most fun out of it with proper footwear.
- This is the brand of hiking boots I’ve enjoyed. You can find them on Amazon.
- I also like to use hiking poles like these from Amazon. They make a difference on rocky terrains when you’re trying to keep your balance (especially on steep descents).
2. Downtown Greenville – Reedy River & Falls
Surrounded by the charming beauty of downtown Greenville, a 345-foot suspension bridge crosses over the Reedy River. This bridge is one of my favorite spots for casual walking and photos as well.
The Reedy River splashes over the banks within Falls Park where you can find inviting trails and viewing gardens.
While you cannot go in the river, you can feed the many ducks that live there and stroll along to visit the numerous shops and restaurants.
As if the Reedy River and Falls Park are not beautiful enough in the daytime, visit at night and you’ll see the park awash in beautiful lights. There is free parking in the Westend Market Lot off University Street.
Distance: The Reedy River in downtown Greenville, SC is 30.7 miles from downtown Spartanburg, which is a 40-minute drive.
Location: Downtown Greenville
3. Glendale Shoals Preserve – Waterfall at the Dam
Situated on thirteen acres on Lawsonâ€™s Fork Creek, Glendale Shoals Preserve‘s waterfall cascades over the dam. The preserve itself is at the site of the Old Glendale Mill.
Hike the Cottonwood Trail, a walk that follows Lawsonâ€™s Fork Creek for one and one-half miles.
In the Preserve itself, you can visit several wetlands preserves, see geological formations, and observe foxes, deer, raccoons, and reptiles of all kinds.
Location: Emma Cudd Rd, Spartanburg, SC 29302
4. Issaqueena Falls
Issaqueena Falls is one of the most popular waterfall destinations in the Spartanburg and Greenville area. The waterfall is accessible through Stumphouse Tunnel Park.
The park also has a Civil War-era tunnel, a covered bridge over the creek, and many other family-friendly activities, the waterfall is the main attraction. The main points of interest are:
- Passage of the Palmetto Trail
- the Blue Ridge Railroad hiking trail
- Mountain Bike Park
And if this makes you want to go camping, check out these state parks in Georgia as well for camping experiences.
The Hike. It is a 1/4 mile walk from the parking deck. It is an easy walk that takes roughly five minutes one way. Once you arrive, there’s a great view from the observation deck of the falls.
Location: Stumphouse Tunnel Rd, Walhalla, SC 29691
5. Jones Gap State Park – Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls is a waterfall that cascades almost 100 feet. The two and one-half-mile hike to the waterfall base is strenuous at times, but you can take your time and stop for a snack and drink along the way.
You’ll find 4 different trails
- Rainbow Falls
- Jones Gap & Palmetto Trail
- Jones Gap Falls
- Hospital Rock & Fall Creek
Some other resources on Jones Gap State Park:
- swimming holes can be found in Middle Saluda River
- You can also reach the Rainbow Falls waterfall from the North Carolina side in Brevard
- See the park brochure here
The Hike to the Falls: 2.5 miles and moderately strenuous.
Distance: Jones Gap State Park is 60 miles from downtown Spartanburg, SC, which is a 1-hour and 10-minute drive.
Location: 303 Jones Gap Rd, Marietta, SC 29661
Lake Jocassee Waterfalls
Lake Jocassee is the spot when you are in the mood to see several waterfalls on one trip! Some waterfalls spill right into Lake Jocassee, so you can hike to the top or enjoy them from the shore.
This waterfalls map will help you locate the most amazing spots around the lake.
Distance: Lake Jocassee Gorges Wilderness Area is 70 miles from downtown Spartanburg, SC, which is a 1-hour and 25-minute drive.
Location: Jocassee Gorges Wilderness Area, 1344 Cleo Chapman Hwy, Sunset, SC 29685
6. Devils Hole Creek Falls
Devils Hole Creek Falls is on the eastern side of Lake Jocassee. It’s small, so be careful not to miss it!
There is not much information about this waterfall, but you can access it by boat when you know the coordinates. The linked Youtube video will give you information on locating it, too.
7. Laurel Fork Falls
Laurel Fork Falls is a moderate to difficult round-trip hike of two and one-half miles that you access in Hampton, Tennessee. The trailhead sits where the Appalachian Trail crosses Dennis Cove Road.
As you hike to Laurel Fork Falls, you will enter South Carolina. This is one of the biggest and best waterfalls on Lake Jocassee.
Bonus: It has a large pool at the waterfall base where you can swim.
8. Whitewater Falls
Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi where the Upper Falls flow 411 feet to the lake.
The Upper Falls are located in North Carolina, while the lower falls are in South Carolina. On the northwest side of Lake Jocassee, the lower whitewater falls spill four hundred feet right into the lake.
9. Wright Creek Falls
This three-tiered waterfall sits on the western side of Lake Jocassee and spills directly into the lake.
It is accessible by boat or kayak. There is no way to hike to Wright Creek Falls, so plan to use a method that involves the lake.
And if you need a kayak, here are three great picks from Amazon.
- Top inflatable kayak for 1-person: Intex Excursion Pro Kayak Series
- Top inflatable 2-person kayak: Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
- Best Budget & Sit-on-Top Kayak: Pelican Sentinel Sit-on-Top Kayak
Lake Jocassee has multiple other waterfalls, including:
- Howard Creek Falls
- Mill Creek Falls
- Thompson River Falls
You can also explore the Foothills Hiking Bridge, a suspension bridge leading to the Foothills Hiking Trail at the lake’s northern end.
Oconee County Waterfalls
In Oconee County, there are hundreds of waterfalls! You can look forward to many hours of exploring these unique outdoor areas.
Some have a strenuous hike while others require only a short hike to access the waterfall. With such a wide variety of waterfalls within Oconee County, you can find something for everyone in your group.
10. Brasstown Falls
Comprised of three waterfalls, Brasstown Falls has recently upgraded trails for a pleasant walk to the area. Access to the Brasstown Falls trail is on Brasstown Road in Long Creek, SC.
The entire hike is approximately one and one-half miles roundtrip. Check out the link here for directions.
11. King Creek Falls
Also in the Sumter National Forest, King Creek Falls is a half-mile hike with the trailhead on Burrells Ford Road. It’s a wondrous walk through a forest full of native flowers, bushes, and huge hardwoods.
In summer, you can cool off in the sandy pool at the waterfall base.
Location: Sumter National Forest, 112 Andrew Pickens Circle, Mountain Rest, South Carolina 29664
12. Long Creek Falls
Long Creek Falls is a 50-foot multi-tiered waterfall with breathtaking views.
The hike to the falls is a 3.3-mile roundtrip trail. It begins as a logging road and continues as a trail. While the path is not clearly marked, you will see pink or orange blazes to guide you to this waterfall at the confluence of Long Creek and the Chattooga River.
The location direction can be found here.
13. Opposum Creek Falls
Another stunning waterfall that spills into the Chattooga River is Opposum Creek Falls. This waterfall sits near the final rapids of the river. It is perhaps the most underrated waterfall in this area of Sumter National Forest.
This waterfall drops over 50 feet across a craggy, jagged rock face and then disappears into the forest before spilling into the Chattooga River. Opossum Creek Falls is on Turkey Ridge Road in Longcreek, SC.
A map and more information can be found here.
14. Spoonauger Falls
A 50-foot-high waterfall at the Chattooga River, Spoonager Falls is an easy half-mile hike.
Located in Sumter National Forest, Oconee County, this waterfallâ€™s access is on the Burrells Ford Road in Mountain Rest, SC. The trail is marked and follows along the Chattooga River.
15. Station Cove Falls
Station Cove Falls is located in Sumter National Forest. Hike .75 miles to a dazzling 60-foot waterfall. This is a kid-friendly hike through summer flowers in the warm months.
Parking is less than half a mile from the Oconee Station Historic Site. Once you reach the waterfall, there are large boulders to rest and eat a snack.
Dip your feet in the pool at the waterfall base, and then you will be ready to head back to your car.
16. Yellow Branch Falls
Located in Walhalla, SC, Oconee County, Yellow Branch Falls has a moderately difficult 1.5-mile hike to the dramatic 50-foot vertical waterfall.
You will venture through massive hardwoods and other forest areas to reach this popular waterfall.
17. Twin Falls
Located in Sunset, SC, part of Pickens County, Twin Falls is part of a private nature preserve. While this waterfall is officially known by its name, Twin Falls, some locals call it Triplet Falls due to the upper, middle, and lower waterfalls you will see when the spring rains arrive.
There are two trails to the Twin Falls.
The first trail to the Upper Twin Falls ends at an observation deck
The Lower Twin Falls requires you to return to your car and drive to another point where you will have a quarter-mile walk to the lower portion of the waterfalls.