Upstate Hike to Licklog and Pigpen Falls

By:Marie McAden

Date:1/5/2014


You have to hike part of the 77-mile Foothills Trail, followed by a section of the 15.5-mile Chattooga Trail to view the two beautiful waterfalls along Oconee County’s Licklog Creek.

But it’s not quite as taxing as it sounds. In total, it’s less than a mile to Licklog and Pigpen falls, two picturesque cascades tucked away in the pristine wilderness of the Upstate’s Chattooga River Gorge.

And it’s an easy hike at that. While the terrain in the backcountry is typically rugged, this one-mile route features little elevation change, earning it family-friendly status.

The effort comes in getting to the trailhead. It’s located in a remote section of Sumter National Forest within the protected boundary of the National Wild & Scenic Chattooga River. The last couple of miles are on a gravel road that sees very little traffic.

The serenity you experience walking through this unspoiled wilderness is reward enough. But the big prize awaits just a short walk away.

From the parking area, you’ll hike half a mile on the famed Foothills Trail before you reach the juncture with the Chattooga Trail. Turn left and you’ll come to the 25-foot Pigpen Falls. Despite its unflattering name, it’s a neat little waterfall with two side-by-side cascades.

Licklog Creek tumbles over stacks of rocks creating the double veils before settling into a shallow, sandy-bottomed pool. In warmer weather, it’s a great spot to cool off or let your kids play.

There’s a large boulder at the edge of the pool where you can sit and enjoy the view. I had lunch here on my last visit to the falls.

A little farther along the Chattooga Trail you’ll come to waterfall No. 2 — Licklog Falls. This is a two-tiered beauty that can be viewed right from the trail. The first section of the falls drops 30 feet into a deep basin. The second level is 50 feet long and dumps directly into the Chattooga.

Yes, this two-for-one waterfall trek is off the beaten path. But don’t be daunted by the drive. It is so worth it.

The parking area for the trailhead is on Nicholson Ford Road. From Walhalla, take S.C. 28 for 8.4 miles and bear right onto S.C. 107. Drive 3.1 miles and turn left onto Village Creek Road, then 1.7 miles onto Nicholson Ford Road. The parking area is on the left about 2 ½ miles up the gravel road.

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