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Must see waterfalls in the South Carolina Upcountry (fun things to do outdoor with kids)

Posted By shoutabout,Date: 06.25.2008

Issaqueena Falls and the Stumphouse Tunnel
Issaqueena is the most visited waterfall and the only one with a “Romeo and Juliet” like love story.
Issaqueena riding to her loveLegend has it Issaqueena rode her horse great distance to warn her (white-man) husband about fast approaching Indians seeking revenge for her marriage betrayal.

Some say she died during the quest others speak of a happy ending. Either way the power of love prevailed.

The hike from the viewing area to the bottom of the fall is short but strenuous. I had to piggy back carry my 4 years old but we were rewarded with an up close view of the 200 feet gorgeous waterfall.

Group photo at the end of Stumphouse Tunnel While in the area visit the Stumphouse Tunnel where big railroad dreams crushed but the blue cheese flourished.

1,500 Irish-immigrants workers and their families came to Stumphouse Mountain to work on the tunnel meant to complete the railroad from Charleston all the way to Ohio. In the 1850s “Tunnel Hill was a rough town with more saloons than churches”.

The tunnel supposed to be 5,863 feet long and its deepest point 236 feet below the surface. However the massive granite stone posed significant challenges and workers could barely get to 200 feet a month.

It was hard back-breaking labor of 12 hours a day six days a week using only sledge hammers, hand drills and black powder. The Civil War and constant lack of funding put an end to the project and Tunnel Hill faded into history.

In 1940s Dr. Paul G. Miller from Clemson University noticed the tunnel ideal conditions for curing blue cheese: year around temperature of 59 degrees and 85% humidity.

Issaqueena Falls and the Stumphouse Tunnel are located on Hwy 28 between Walhalla and Oconee State Park. Here is the Google Map.

Whitewater Falls

At 700 feet the Whitewater Falls are the highest falls series in the East (the Upper ones are 411 feet).

Upper Whitewater Falls The falls are close to Devils Fork and Oconee State Park and you can get to the park from highways 28, 107, 11 and 130 (here is the Google Map).

You will need to pay $2 daily admission fee. A half mile trail takes you to a breath-taking viewing area; beware the last segment has steep boardwalk steps. There is no trail to reach the base of the Upper Whitewater falls.

If you travel with little kids make sure to point out the funny cartoon sign remind them how dangerous the waterfall area can be. It worked well with my daughter.

Oconee Station Cove Falls
You can access the trail leading to the Cove Falls from Oconee Historic Station parking lot or Oconee State Park (connecting from the Oconee Trail).

This is by far the longest (~3 miles round trip) and most diverse hike around a peaceful pond, through odd shaped trees, into a deep eerie forest, and along an intimate and refreshing creek.

At the end it’s all worth it.

The fall has a wide base area which makes it very popular with kids as they can hop around the rocks and get in the water safely.

Table Rock Falls
Table Rock State Park has lots of mini waterfalls along the 1.9 mile Carrick Creek Trail that loops around the Nature Center.

This is the only recommended trail for hiking with young children.

With a fall every other minute it provides instant gratification to the little ones and perfect photo background.

Right above the Nature Center it’s a fantastic rock-sliding and swimming spot little children just adore. This is the perfect “bribe” to keep them hiking on your way back.

Bridal Veil and Cullasaja Falls
These are separate falls located along scenic Hwy 64 between Highlands and Franklin NC. Yes is the other Carolina but very close to the border and worth shouting about!

Bridal Veil is the only one I know of in the area that you can drive through it.

Bridal Veil drive thru waterfall

Cullasaja river boasts the teens’ favorite rock-sliding and swimming spot in the area. Motorists stop frequently to take photos, enjoy the incredible views and just have a laugh watching the children jump Tarzan-style into the river.

Boy rock sliding in Cullasaja

History lovers and art collectors go visit Pendleton, “the Charleston of the Upstate“. The entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Notable attractions: Farmer’s Hall (oldest continuous operating hall in the country), Hunter’s Store, Ashtabula (1st licensed tavern), Old Stone Church (where Andrew Pickens and Gen. Anderson are buried) and Woodburn (4 story mansion)

Safe hiking and happy waterfall viewing in the Carolinas!

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    2 Responses to “Must see waterfalls in the South Carolina Upcountry (fun things to do outdoor with kids)”

    1. Walhalla historic things to see - Oconee Station, Oconee Heritage Center, St. John Lutheran Church, Tamassee School and Fort George « Shout About South Carolina Travel, Family Attractions and Free Things to Do Says:

      [...] on what to do with kids while vacationing at Oconee State Park. As you can see is not just about incredibly beautiful waterfalls or gem mines [...]

    2. » Free fun things to do with kids in Hendersonville NC »South Carolina Family Attractions, Free, Affordable and Fun Things To Do Says:

      [...] Fire Museum in North CharlestonWhat can we do today? Go to Broadway! Myrtle Beach that is…Must see waterfalls in the South Carolina Upcountry (fun things to do outdoor with kids)Get your groove on! Funky platform shoes are back at the Mint Museum of Art in CharlotteBattleship [...]

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