A series of waterfalls and cascades along a short section of Bee Cove Creek is found at the end of this difficult hike.
In the Northwest corner of South Carolina, in the Sumter National Forest, is a mountainous region that contains numerous waterfalls. One of those waterfalls, is the remote and difficult to reach – Bee Cove Falls. This is a series of several waterfalls on a portion of Bee Cove Creek as the water rushes down the mountain. The strenuous hike to the falls is a little over 2 miles and will get you to the top and most visited of the waterfalls. There are several more as the creek continues down the mountain but they are extremely difficult to reach as the loose trail doesn’t continue past the first waterfall. Extreme caution should be used if venturing down to the lower falls.
The trailhead for Bee Cove is located off highway SC 107 where it intersects with the the forest service road 702. The first mile of the trail is actually as simple as hiking on this service road. There are no markings on the road for Bee Cove Falls and the forest road marker is somewhat small and difficult to see, so be on the lookout. It is about 2.7 miles south of the North Carolina border or .7 miles north of Fish Hatchery Road. If you approach from the south, the small pull-off area will be on your right. There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead, or nearby. Bee Cove Falls is about 15 minutes from Cashiers North Carolina or about 75 minutes from Greenville South Carolina.
Take note that this is a mostly downhill approach so you will be hiking uphill on the way back.
The wide trail follows the forest road 702 downhill for about the first mile until you cross Bee Cove Creek. Depending on the amount of recent rainfall, Bee Cove Creek will either be the first or second creek you cross. You will know you have crossed Bee Cove Creek as the trail forks immediately after crossing it; follow the trail to the right. In about 3/10’s of a mile, the trail will fork again and you will follow the trail uphill to the right and over the dirt vehicle barrier. This trail isn’t blazed but on our trip there were pink streamers identifying the trail. These may or may not be there in the future, but they are helpful if they are present.
After about 1/10 of a mile, as the trail curves to the left, look for a faint trail leading off downhill to the right. Turn and follow this until the trail fades and essentially ends. You should be able to hear the falls as they are very close. This is where is gets a little tricky. You will need to descend down the hill slightly looking for a loose trail heading towards the falls. Follow the trail and you will end up at the first waterfall which has a large stone base for viewing the falls. It is a welcome sight and perfect for resting after the hike.
The first waterfall at Bee Cove Falls is a twin waterfall as the rocks split the creek at the top. It is very beautiful!
There are at least four large waterfalls along this section of Bee Cove Creek with a number of other smaller cascades present. The second waterfall isn’t too difficult to reach but the falls that are further downstream become increasingly more difficult and dangerous since there are not any trails leading down to them.
If you wanted to reach the second waterfall, you would hike away from the creek and back to the main hill, continue on the trail downhill and look for another loose trail leading back to the creek. This would put you just downstream of the second falls, and gives you a good vantage point.
Whether you just view the upper falls or brave the hill and explore additional sections, your visit to the beautiful Bee Cove Falls will likely be one you remember for a long time.
When you have finished enjoying the area, hike safely back uphill to the parking area.