The Narrows

An interesting and beautiful water feature in the Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve of South Carolina.

In the upstate of South Carolina, a few miles south of the North Carolina border in the Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve, is an interesting and beautiful section of Eastatoe Creek called Eastatoe Narrows or just The Narrows. This short section of the creek is stunning as the gorge constricts the creek as it rushes down the mountain creating a series of cascades that are both visually and audibly pleasing. The moderate hike of just under 5 miles to view The Narrows is both pleasant and worth the effort.

Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve is part of the larger Jocassee Gorge Wilderness Area which is a 43,500 acre section in the upstate of South Carolina that has some of the most rugged terrain of the State. It is where the piedmont meets the mountains with 2,000 feet of elevation change in only 1 to 2 miles. It contains beautiful lakes, waterfalls and scenic drives with numerous recreational activities supported within its boundaries.

The trailhead to The Narrows is located on the unpaved Horsepasture Road near Rocky Bottom South Carolina. Horsepasture Road is off Highway 178 about 2.5 miles south of the North Carolina border or 8 miles North of Highway 11. As you turn onto Horsepasture Road, continue up the hill on the right following the gravel road for about 1/2 a mile to a red gate on the left side of the road just past the Foothills Trail parking area. Look for the Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve sign that is next to gate. There is space to park by the gate but you have to make sure you don’t block the gate. If there isn’t room to park by the gate you can use the large Foothills Trail Parking Area and then walk up the road to the trailhead. The trailhead to The Narrows is about 30 minutes from Brevard North Carolina or 1 hour from Greenville South Carolina. There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead.

The trail starts at the red gate and continues on the logging road into the forest. Initially the trail is very wide and only has moderate elevation changes. Fairly quickly you will pass a sign for the primitive campsites that are available in the preserve. Shortly after that you encounter another sign along with a fork in the trail. Follow the yellow blazed trail up the hill to the left. The wide trail continues uphill for a short distance before leveling out and continuing a mostly flat trek along the ridge. You should be able to hear Eastatoe Creek in the gorge below as it rushes down the valley.

After about 2 miles, the trail will turn sharply left to descend down the ridge to the creek. Look for the arrow and the yellow blazes. The trail here narrows but is still very well constructed with stairs present in the steep sections. The trail will switchback several times as it works its way down the steep mountainside. As expected, the hike down this section isn’t too difficult. As the trail levels out at the bottom you will encounter a final fork in the trail where you are very close to The Narrows which continues on the marked trail to the right. The trail to the left will take you to the creek upstream from the narrows.

From here the trail basically walks a short distance around the small hill in front of you to an elevated viewing platform that provides the perfect view of the Eastatoe Narrows.

The Narrows are a beautifully rugged area that form an interesting series of cascades unlike most you will encounter. Its remoteness only adds to the beauty of the area. The viewing platform isn’t too large and the steep terrain doesn’t provide a lot of room outside the platform, but you are still going to want to hang out for awhile and enjoy the pristine beauty of the Eastatoe Narrows.

This is an out and back hike so when you have finished enjoying The Narrows, hike safely back to the parking area.

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