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
This one 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.
3. Bull Sluice
A short, moderately steep gravel trail takes you to a wooden rail overlooking 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 this 100-foot cascade. 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 this beautiful 50-foot waterfall set back into a lush green hillside.
6. Licklog Falls
Located in the remote Chattooga River Gorge, the drive to this one and the neighboring Pigpen Falls is trickier than the hike itself. The one-mile route features little elevation change.
7. Pigpen Falls
This neat little waterfall features two side-by-side cascades and a shallow, sandy-bottomed pool at the bottom to cool off in the summer.
8. Pleasant Ridge Falls
Take the .2-mile nature trail at Pleasant Ridge County Park to see these pretty double-tiered cascades.
9. Reedy Branch Falls
Don't be fooled by the stone columns and iron gate at the entrance to gravel road that takes you to the 30-foot waterfall. 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, these cascades drop 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 one-mile hike to this 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 waterfall drops over large boulders where the Chauga River and Ramsey Creek meet.