In early September, I took this trip to view Hidden Falls, in Oconee State Park in upstate SC. The trail starts from the Foothills trailhead. Round trip, this hike is about 5.5 miles, but it's a relatively easy hike. It's only as one approaches the falls that the elevation changes significantly. Approaching the falls, the trail dips downward into a small valley, and of course, that means one has to climb back up later.
I admit it, I'm a sucker for autumn. It's my favorite season of the year, the little extra chill in the air, the color of the leaves, everything. A couple of weeks ago, I went looking for one trail, but ended up on another, enjoying a day that seemed to presage the oncoming fall season. This was part of the Appalachian Trail, one of the most well-known trails in the country, and it was beautiful.
This past week, my wife and I joined two very good friends for a walk up to Anna Ruby Falls, a two-cascade waterfall in Unicoi State Park, which is in the Chattahoochee National Forest. I've been to Anna Ruby Falls a few times in my life, as Unicoi State Park is just outside of Helen, which is only a half-hour or so from where I grew up. But, it's a good walk, and the scenery is fantastic, so I don't mind going again and again. It also happens to be the trail to the Smith Creek Trail trailhead, and I hope to take that trail again, as I haven't been on it in over ten years or so.
I had tried to find the Long Creek Falls trail some weeks before, and failed. I ended up on the Oconee Trail, instead. But, I decided to try again to locate this trail. The directions say to take Hwy. 76 up towards Clayton from Westminster, SC. You turn left at Damascus Church Road and then turn right on Battle Creek Road. So far so good. This is where it gets difficult. According to the directions I'd found on the web and in my waterfall hikes manual, the next step is to turn right on Turkey Ridge Road, also known as FS755.
So, this past weekend, I went back to Oconee State Park, in South Carolina. This time, I went for the Old Waterwheel Trail, named for the spot where there used to be an old waterwheel that pumped water. The wheel is no longer there, having been moved elsewhere, but the remnants of the stone structure still remain.
After last week's enjoyable jaunt in Paris Mountain State Park, I decided to try out one of the other hikes there. The Brissy Ridge trail is part of the network of trails throughout the park, listed as 2.3 miles round trip and on their ranking of 1-10 in terms of difficulty (10 being most strenuous), it rates as 7 and 9. It's a fairly well-traveled and well-kept trail, and there were hikers and runners along the trail.
This time, I took a trip along the Mountain Creek Trail, which is part of a series of trails in the Paris Mountain State Park, just north of Greenville, SC. I had not even been aware of this state park, but I found the trails on the web and figured I'd give it a chance. It wasn't a very long trail, only 2.6 miles, but considering the heat wave we've been dealing with, that was about all I was prepared to do. As it was, there was much sweat involved in this hike, and very little of it was due to hiking difficulty.
Honestly, this was not the trail I had intended to take on the first day of July. I had intended, the day before, to hike the trail to Opossum Creek Falls in upstate South Carolina. However, apparently, either my handy waterfall guide needs updating, or I just flat out couldn't find the appropriate roads to the trailhead. So, I then decided, no worries, there are other falls in the area, so I tried for another one, and once again, I had no luck.
Been a pretty busy June, but I found an afternoon that I was able to get out to hike. I felt compelled to back to the Blood Mountain area of North Georgia. I've hiked up Blood Mountain before, and it's one of my favorite areas to go. There was no time to go up the mountain, but I figured I had time to take a quick excursion up the Byron Herbert Reece Trail, which is only about .7 miles, but it's one of the entry trails to the Appalachian Trail.
The Lower Whitewater Falls Trail starts just short of the North Carolina - South Carolina border on Hwy. 130 from a parking lot of Duke Power's Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station. This 2-mile hike in to an overlook for the falls is moderately strenuous, and provides a series of great views through extremely varied terrain.