Marie McAden



Ranger-guided tour to feature a trio of gorgeous waterfalls

Posted 8/30/2013 2:36:00 PM

You might have put away your flip flops and beach towel, but there’s still time to get in one last summer getaway. Consider this sweet deal: accommodations in a historic mountain cabin and your own personal park ranger to take you on a tour of three of the Upstate’s most beautiful waterfalls.

The Late Summer Waterfall Excursion is being offered Sept. 2-4 and Sept. 16-18. The package includes two nights in one of Table Rock State Park’s cozy log cabins, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Don’t worry. These charming bungalows — featuring hand-hewn beams and heart of pine floors — have been updated with heat and air conditioning, and modern bathrooms and kitchens.

The tour, led by longtime Park Ranger Jeff Atkins, will start at 8:30 a.m. on the second day of your stay. First stop will be the 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls, one of the highest and most scenic cascades in the United States.

It’s an enjoyable, though moderately difficult 4.4 mile roundtrip hike through the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area to an overlook across the gorge from the falls. From the platform, you get a spectacular view of Mathews Creek plunging off Raven Cliff into the densely forested cove below. The total height of the tiers of falling water is close to 1,000 feet.

After the hike, you’ll eat lunch at Caesars Head State Park and walk to the famed Caesars Head overlook, offering dramatic views of the Blue Ridge Escarpment rising 2,000 feet from the rolling hills of the piedmont below.

From there, you’ll head to Wildcat Branch Falls where you’ll get to see two sets of falls on an easy one-mile loop hike. The lower portion of the falls can be seen from the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway. On this one, the water plunges 20 to 30 feet down a slab of exposed granite into a shallow pool. A path to the left of the falls takes you to the bottom of the 100-foot upper cascades.

Then it’s back on the road for the trip to Twin Falls. This one starts out as Reedy Creek and then splits to form two cascades. The larger one thunders down a height of 75 feet over a massive granite slab. The twin to the right is just as spectacular barreling over chunks of rock piled at a 45-degree angle.

Cost for the Late Summer Waterfall Excursion package is $150 per person/single occupancy or $100 per person/double occupancy. The price includes the cabin, tour and transportation to the falls. You’ll need to provide your own meals, including lunch on the tour day.

If you want to make it into a real vacation, stay a third night for an additional $50 plus taxes and fees. A fourth night is only $25 extra.

Space is limited to just 10 people on each tour, so make your reservations ASAP. Call Table Rock State Park at (864) 878-9813 or email tablerock@scprt.com.