A popular class V rapid on the Chattooga River right on the Georgia and South Carolina Border. A short trail leads to a viewing area.
Right at the border of George and South Carolina, off US Highway 76 on the Chattooga River, is a class 5 rapid known as Bull Sluice. Popular with kayakers, this interesting spot along the Chattooga isn’t just for experienced adventurers who chute the rapids. It is also accessible for those who just want to visit and see a beautiful spot on a river inside the Sumter National Forest. A short 2/10’s of a mile walk will get you to the shore right next to the mighty Bull Sluice. There is also trail access to a sandy beach just downstream of Bull Sluice.
The trailhead for Bull Sluice is located on US Highway 76 immediately before the Georgia and South Carolina border. Look for the sign on the highway and follow the driveway up to a large multi-level parking area. This is a popular spot during the warmer months but the parking lot is quite large and should be sufficient for most days. Bull Sluice is about 45 minutes from Franklin North Carolina, 90 minutes from Greenville South Carolina, or about 2 hours from the Atlanta area. There are restroom facilities at the top of the parking area along with several informative sign boards.
The trail down to the river starts to the left of the restrooms. Initially the trail is paved and very wide although it is somewhat of an incline. After about 100 yards, the trail will split with the wider trail continuing left down to a nice sandy beach on the river. There are no real rapids here but it is a peaceful spot to relax and enjoy the beautiful river or, if you are a kayaker, a spot where you can easily put into the river.
The trail to the right continues into the forest on a relatively flat trail for about another 200 yards to a viewing platform directly above Bull Sluice. It provides the perfect view of the rapids although the viewing area isn’t too large. The official trail ends at the platform but there is nothing preventing you from taking the unofficial trail the last few yards down to the river where there is plenty of space to relax upon the large boulders that line the riverbed. If you are lucky you might catch some kayakers or rafters making the run over Bull Sluice. Regardless, sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful Chattooga River and the impressive Bull Sluice.
This is an out and back hike, so when you have finished enjoying Bull Sluice, walk safely back to the parking area.
When you return to the parking area, there are some stairs on the lower lot that you can take down to view the river from another viewing platform at the bridge. There is also a parking area down there if you wanted to drive down to view the Chattooga River from a difference perspective.