Waterfalls, Mother Nature's ploy to get us into her neck of the woods, have long lured hikers with their stunning beauty and magnificent display of power. They're one of the great rewards for trudging miles through the forest, over rocky creeks and up the side of a mountain.
But not all waterfalls require an expedition into the backcountry. In the Upstate, you can view all kinds of cascades without breaking a sweat. So charge up your digital cameras. Here are 12 easy-access waterfalls:
1. Wildcat Branch Falls
Wildcat Branch Falls can be viewed right from your car. The 20-30-foot waterfall is located roadside along on the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway about five miles from the US 276/SC 11 junction.
A short, moderately steep gravel trail takes you to a wooden rail overlooking Bull Sluice, the grand finale of Section III of the National Wild & Scenic Chattooga River.
4. Issaqueena Falls
It won't take a novice hiker more than 15 minutes to get to the overlook for the 100-foot Issaqueena Falls. The parking lot for the falls also offers access to Stumphouse Tunnel, an incomplete tunnel for the Blue Ridge Railroad.
5. Spoonauger Falls
A half-mile hike will get you to the beautiful 50-foot Spoonauger Falls, set back into a lush green hillside.
Don't be fooled by the stone columns and iron gate at the entrance to the gravel road that takes you to the 30-foot Reedy Branch Falls. The property is owned by the US Forest Service. From the parking area, it's a 300-yard walk to the water show.
10. Reedy River Falls
The centerpiece of Falls Park in Greenville, Reedy River Falls drops 28 feet into a rocky riverbed. You can get an aerial view from the Liberty Bridge, a one-of-a-kind cantilevered footbridge that's as much an attraction as the falls themselves.
11. Twin Falls
It's an easy 1-mile hike to Twin Falls, a waterfall extravaganza featuring two falls thundering over massive slabs of granite.
12. Chau Ram Falls
Conveniently located adjacent to the main parking area at Chau Ram County Park, the 30-foot Chau Ram Falls drops over large boulders where the Chauga River and Ramsey Creek meet.