Get Your Free 2024 Vacation Guide

Start planning your ultimate South Carolina adventure with a free copy of the 2024 Vacation Guide. Request your free copy, view the guide online or download a PDF version below.

Vacation Guide Cover
View Our Other Guides

10 Wonderful Waterfalls in or near South Carolina’s Upcountry State Parks

Lynn & Cele Seldon Lynn & Cele Seldon
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.
More from "Lynn & Cele Seldon"

South Carolina's Upcountry region in the northwestern part of the Palmetto State features numerous state parks with nearby waterfalls well worth visits. Hikes to waterfalls can range from quite easy to difficult, and several stunning waterfalls can be viewed by boat on sprawling Lake Jocassee. From east to west, here are 10 wonderful waterfalls found in or near South Carolina's state parks along the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway (SC 11):


Rainbow Falls

Located in Jones Gap State Park and one of the first Upcountry waterfalls found along SC 11 from the east, Rainbow Falls is the most popular waterfall accessed in the park. It's a 2.3-mile hike (one way and relatively strenuous) to the waterfall, but the reward is a 125-foot waterfall and frequent rainbow colors when the sun hits the cascading water.


Jones Gap Falls

A short hike leads to Jones Gap Falls in Jones Gap State Park.

Also located within Jones Gap State Park is the eponymous Jones Gap Falls, easily reached with a 1-mile, one-way moderate hike.


Wildcat Wayside Falls

Drivers traveling along the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway can view Wildcat Branch Falls from their car.

Located in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area (the overarching name of the land area made up by Jones Gap and Caesars Head state parks), the lower and upper falls of Wildcat Wayside Falls are easily accessed from a parking area right on SC 11.


Raven Cliff Falls

The 400-foot Raven Cliff Falls is one of the most scenic and photographed waterfalls in the state.

Situated in Caesars Head State Park, Raven Cliff Falls is reached by a 2-mile moderate hike to a viewing platform that looks across a gorge to the falls. Named for the large number of ravens that live in the area, this 400-foot beauty is one of the Upcountry's most scenic and dramatic waterfalls.


Carrick Creek Falls

It's an easy walk to Carrick Creek Falls in Table Rock State Park.

Located in Table Rock State Park, Carrick Creek Falls is easy to access and view from a viewing platform just steps from the Table Rock Trailhead. Visitors are welcome to walk beneath the 15-foot cascade or swim in the pool at the bottom of the falls. 


Laurel Fork Falls

The beautiful Laurel Fork Falls is one of several waterfalls you can see on a Lake Jocassee boat tour.

Reached by boat on Lake Jocassee from Devils Fork State Park or by an adventurous 8-mile hike on South Carolina's famed Foothills Trail, Laurel Fork Falls is one of several stunning waterfalls on the pristine Upcountry reservoir. Other waterfalls along the lake include Wrights Creek Falls, Lower Whitewater Falls, Mill Creek Falls and North Carolina's Thompson River Falls.


Hidden Falls

Hidden Falls features a 60-foot cascade over granite ledges.

Station Cove Falls

Station Cove Falls can be accessed from a trail at Oconee Station State Historic Site.

Issaqueena Falls

An easy-to-reach platform offers a spectacular view of Issaqueena Falls.

Part of Stumphouse Park near Oconee State Park, Issaqueena Falls is a 100-foot-high cascade with an easy-to-reach platform overlooking the falls. According to local legend, an Indian maiden named Issaqueena rode to a nearby fort to warn of a pending Indian attack. She escaped pursuing Indians by pretending to leap over the falls while actually hiding beneath them.


Chau Ram Falls

Chau Ram Falls is located within Chau Ram Park in Oconee County.

Situated in Chau Ram Park west of SC 11 on US 76, Chau Ram Falls features a 40-foot waterfall over huge boulders and is conveniently located next to the parking area. There are more waterfalls downriver accessible via 4 miles of well-maintained paths and trails along the Chauga River.

Lynn & Cele Seldon
Lynn & Cele Seldon
More from "Lynn & Cele Seldon"
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.