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Salem, South Carolina

Hike to Lower and Upper Whitewater Falls via Foothills Trail

9.4 Miles Total - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by The Outbound Collective

Hike a section of the 76-mile Foothills Trail to the tallest waterfall in the eastern US.

The Foothills Trail runs a total of 76 miles across the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Highlights of the route include Sassafras Mountain (3,500 ft), the Chattooga River, and Whitewater Falls, the tallest waterfall in the eastern US. The trail is well maintained, and not often crowded. Sightings of black bears, bald eagles, deer, and turkey can be had along the trail; there are also wildflowers. You can use the trail for day hikes or a full backpacking trip.

The Whitewater Falls section is difficult but rewarding. From the Bad Creek Hydroelectric Plant parking area, take the Bad Creek Access trail (blue blazes), keeping left at the trail junction. Follow along the Whitewater River, and after crossing the river the access trail will run into Foothills Trail.

To reach the upper falls first, turn left on Foothills. After a series of ups and downs, you will cross over Corbin Creek – look for Corbin Creek Falls, nearby. You will cross again over Whitewater River before making a steep ascent up to the junction with Upper Whitewater Falls Trail, around 6.3 miles in. Turn right to reach the observation area.

After spending some time by the lower falls, head back to the Bad Creek Access Trail junction. Take the other branch of the trail to reach Lower Whitewater Falls, 1.7 miles away. In 1.5 miles you will reach the junction with Lower Whitewater Falls Trail, where you will turn right. After a steep descent you will reach the viewing platform.

Photo Credit: Lyman Green

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Tags

Hiking
Forest
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Great Trip With Friends

Even though it rained for the whole weekend, the trail it's self was a beautiful trial and very well maintained. Me and a group from Georgia Southern went on a weekend backpacking trip to the falls. The trail had great elevation change that allowed for some great views. The trail was very busy though. I've never crossed paths with so many people while hiking before.

Great For A Week Of Backpacking

Did this with my friends for a Spring Break trip. It had some awesome views, and the trail was in great shape while keeping a real wilderness vibe. Would definitely recommend, 4 stars because it's a pretty busy trail.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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