A short but strenuous and difficult hike to a very beautiful and remote South Carolina waterfall that doesn’t receive a lot of traffic.
Hidden in the Sumter National Forest of South Carolina, is the lesser known gem of a waterfall – Sid’s Falls. This epic waterfall is over 50 feet tall, exceptionally beautiful and well worth the strenuous 3 mile round trip hike. If you are feeling up for the challenge and want to visit a remote waterfall that you will likely have all to yourself, Sid’s Falls would be a good choice.
The Sumter National Forest is one of only two national forests in the State of South Carolina. It consists of over 370,000 acres via several non-contiguous sections in Western South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. It is home to a number of rivers and waterfalls supporting activities like hiking, backpacking, canoeing, horseback riding, camping and fishing.
The trailhead for Sid’s Falls is just off Damascus Church Road in the community of Long Creek, South Carolina. Look for the gated forest service road 2616 which is about 8/10’s of a mile past the intersection of Battle Creek and Damascus Church Road. While there is a marker for the forest road, it can be somewhat difficult to see from the road, so be on the lookout. You can park in the large pull off area, just make sure you don’t block access to the gate. There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead or anywhere nearby. Sid’s Falls is about 60 minutes from Franklin North Carolina or about 90 minutes from Greenville South Carolina.
The trail starts by following the forest road into the woods and it is very wide and easy to follow for most of the hike. There are total of four fields or clearings that you will cross before heading down to the falls on a foot trail. For the most part, the trail is very straightforward except in the second clearing where you encounter an area where the road splits. At this junction you will want to stay to the right and not continue into the field. Although it looks like the two paths will join back up, they won’t and you will want to be on the right side.
The road will continue for a while and will pass through a beautiful pine forest. Once you pass the fourth field, look for a faint trail leading into the woods. You are only about 2/10’s of a mile from the falls but the trail will become significantly more difficult. The trail is easy to follow, but it will be somewhat overgrown in spots as this isn’t a heavily trafficked area. It will also become steep, very steep; in fact some sections of the descent will require the use of your hands, so be extremely careful.
You will hear the falls roaring nearby while the trail wastes no time getting down the hill. Eventually the forest opens up and the amazing Sid’s Falls stands before you. It is one of those waterfalls that is made up of a hundred little cascades as the water fans out over the numerous rock shelves that are present. It is very beautiful and very loud. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of space at the base of Sid’s Falls and the limited space that is available can be very slippery. Use caution while you are enjoying this hidden treasure.
This is an out and back hike so when you have finished enjoying the falls, hike safely back to the parking area. Be safe when you are climbing back up the ridge to the forest road.