Adventure Outdoors at Chau Ram County Park
It's billed as Oconee County's "best kept secret". And that's what makes Chau Ram County Park such a find. You can get off by yourself without having to venture miles into the wilderness.
The star attraction here is the Chauga River. Within the park are four major sets of rapids that can be easily accessed for kayaking, canoeing or tubing. There's even a kayak slalom course available for instruction and competitions.
In the summer, it's not unusual to find locals swimming in one of the river's sandy beaches or sliding over rocks into catch pools. There are also plenty of big flat rocks along the stream where you can sunbathe or enjoy a picnic lunch.
The park is home to Chau Ram Falls, a 30-foot cascade that drops over large boulders where the Chauga River and Ramsey Creek meet. Chau-Ram, if you haven't guessed it, takes its name from these two tributaries. The falls are conveniently located adjacent to the park's main parking area.
A suspension bridge provides access to the other side of the river and a network of trails that traverse the hillside, ridges and rocky banks along the Chauga River. On a recent visit we walked the upper-loop trail, a 1.2-mile path that winds along the river, ascends wooden stairs and climbs a rugged dirt slope.
The park also features picnic pavilions, a playground and a 28-site campground that serves as great base camp to explore the many other beautiful waterfalls in Oconee County.
Chau Ram County Park is just minutes from Westminster. From town, drive west on U.S. 76 for three miles. Keep right at the fork with U.S. 123 and drive another 2.5 miles to Chau Ram Park Road. Make a left to get to the park entrance. Admission to the park is $2 per car.