An impressive and massive 200ft waterfall that is reached via a beautiful 2 mile hike.
Located in Oconee County of South Carolina just south of the North Carolina border is the amazing and impressive Lower Whitewater Falls. The falls are part of chain of waterfalls along the North and South Carolina border that is the highest series of falls in Eastern North America. This beautiful 200ft waterfall is viewable from an overlook that is a moderate 4 mile round trip hike.
Lower Whitewater falls is located inside Duke Energy’s Bad Creek Hydroelectric station along South Carolina Highway 130 immediately south of the North Carolina border. As you approach the entrance, it may look like it isn’t a place open to the public; but it is and you are allowed to enter during daylight hours. If the entrance gate isn’t open when you arrive, approach it and it will open to let you in. Once you are inside you will drive another 2 miles and turn left to park at the foothills trail trailhead parking lot. The trailhead is about 75 minutes from Greenville South Carolina or 90 minutes from Asheville North Carolina. There is also limited restroom facilities onsite via porta-potties in the corner of the large parking lot.
The hike to the falls starts in the corner of the lot next to the sign and while the scenery might not look too impressive at first, it quickly changes and becomes quite beautiful. The trail is also very nicely maintained with blue blazes marking your path and well constructed bridges in place for when you cross whitewater river. The trail is a bit rocky with lots of exposed roots so we recommend using some heavier soled shoes for this hike. We also recommend making sure you bring plenty of water with you on the hike.
At about 1/2 mile into your hike you will encounter the clear waters of whitewater river. The trail then joins the Foothills Trail for about another 1/2 mile hike up a moderate ascent before separating onto the falls spur trail that will take you the final mile to the overlook. The trail does join a small gravel road for a brief period but the blazes and signs clearly indicate when to separate from the road where you will ascend a little more before you level off and then descend down to the large and well constructed wooden overlook that provides beautiful views of lower whitewater falls. The overlook is a great spot to relax after your hike, listen to the roar of the falls in the background, and enjoy the priceless views of what many consider to be South Carolina most impressive waterfall. It is definitely a spot we recommend visiting.
When you are done enjoying the view of lower whitewater falls, hike the trail back to the parking lot. Note that if you are leaving the trailhead after dusk, the entrance gate may be closed but it will open to let you out as you slowly approach it.