Stumphouse Tunnel and Issaqueena Falls

By:Page Ivey

Date:12/1/2012

Two of the most interesting stops in the South Carolina ​Upstate are just a few feet apart.  One shows how man tried to alter nature and was stymied; the other shows the power of just a small trickle of water. 

Construction on Stumphou​se Tunnel began in the 1850s. It was intended to be a railroad tunnel that would serve as a connector between Charleston and the Midwest. The plans went awry during the Civil War as resources were needed elsewhere. After the war, several efforts to restart the 1,600-foot tunnel failed and the tunnel was abandoned.

In the early 1950s, Clemson Univer​sity bought the tunnel, which stays at an even 50 degrees year-round, and used it to cure bleu cheese. The scrumptious cheese that Clemson is famous for is cured in more modern circumstances at the university now and the tunnel is operated by the nearby town of Walhalla as a tourist attraction.

Just a short walk away is Issaqueena F​alls. As you walk up to the falls, you will notice a small meandering stream. The stream that you could easily walk through slips over rocks worn smooth over thousands of years to create the 200-foot drop that is Issaqueena Falls. From the top, it is difficult to appreciate the falls, but a wide dirt and gravel path will take you down to the splash zone and you can get a good view of the whole falls.

If you’ve only been to the falls in the summer when everything is green, try it in the fall for the brightest colors in the winter when the lack of foliage gives a clearer view. The falls are named for an Indian maiden who supposedly hid out there after warning a nearby fort of an impending attack.

There is plenty of parking at the site located about seven miles north of Walha​lla off S.C. 28. The park is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except Christmas.

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