Dozens of cascades come together to form the beautiful Yellow Branch Falls.
Just north of the charming South Carolina town of Walhalla, in the Sumter National Forest, is the uniquely different – Yellow Branch Falls. Yellow Branch Falls is a series of dozens of cascades. The creek flows down the shelf like rocks that break the waters path into hundreds of different streams creating Yellow Branch Falls. It is a beautiful site to see but one that is greatly affected by the amount of recent rainfall. If there hasn’t been too much rain, you might want to wait as the falls may be nothing more than a slight trickle when you get there. Regardless, the 3 mile out and back hike to see Yellow Branch falls is very pleasant and worth it whether roaring or with just a little water.
The trailhead to Yellow Branch Falls starts inside the Yellow Branch Picnic area just off South Carolina Highway 28. It is just short of 7 miles North of Walhalla. You start the hike on the Picnic area Nature Trail which traverses the entire picnic area. The trail to Yellow Branch starts right in the middle so you could start on either side of the Nature Trail; wherever it is easiest to find parking. There are restroom facilities at the picnic area along with picnic tables and informative signs.
Start hiking along the Nature Trail and after 2/10’s of a mile, the trail to Yellow Branch Falls veers off into the woods. Look for the well placed sign indicating the start of the trail. The trail is well maintained but has a lot of roots and rocks present so be careful as you walk. There are also a number of deep ravines that you walk along so shoes with good traction are recommended. The trail is easy to follow and is marked with orange blazes. I am not really sure why they choose orange for the blazes instead of yellow; but it still works, Right?
The trail will cross several creeks but they all have either bridges or stones to get you across without getting wet. There is also a moderate elevation change as you descend down to the base of the falls. Take your time, be safe, and enjoy your walk through the forest and eventually you will arrive at Yellow Branch Falls.
As stated earlier, the falls is more like a series of cascades which makes for a wonderfully unique waterfall. The viewing area for the falls isn’t too large but should be adequate for most days. There is also a large boulder just across the creek where you can walk to the top for a great perspective of the falls. On a good day with decent water flow, Yellow Branch Falls will put on a good show and be nice a loud. It is a great destination after a good hike through the woods.
This is an out and back hike so when you are done enjoying Yellow Branch Falls, hike safely back up to the parking lot. Remember which way you came from when you reach the Nature Trail intersection.