117 – Upper Wildcat Branch Falls

Accessibility – Average

Height – 100′

Distance – 1.1 miles (out and back)

Beauty – 7

Photo rating – 5

Solitude – 7

GPS Info: LAT 35.079236 LONG -82.596793

Last Updated: 04/01/2017


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Continuing upstream from The Middle Falls on Wildcat Branch is the largest of the waterfalls on Wildcat Branch. The nearly 100 foot high waterfall is barely half a mile from the parking area. Upper Wildcat Branch Falls is one of four waterfalls accessed from the parking area on SC11 at the base of Wildcay Wayside.

The access to Upper Wildcat Branch Falls is along a stretch where US 276 / SC 11 merge. Coming from Greenville, follow US 276 past the merger with SC 11 for five miles. A parking area for the falls is on the right. From Brevard, follow US 276 to a point 0.5 miles past the merger with SC 11. The pull off and falls are on the left. In the summer months you can locate the parking area by the presence of a boiled peanut trailer in the parking area. From the parking area ascend the steps to the left of Wildcat Wayside and cross the Creek just below Middle Falls on Wildcat Branch. As always, use caution around the top of waterfalls. The rock can be slippery and it only takes one misstep to ruin the day.

On the far side of the creek there is an information kiosk. Take note that the only decision on this hike will be approaching shortly. The trail will lead past a stone chimney on the left before reaching a fork, the decision. The trail is a loop from the this point. To reach Upper falls as expeditiously as possible, cross the creek and follow the creek upstream. If you stay to the right on the yellow blazed loop trail, you will add about half a mile to the hike and you will get to see Fourth Falls, a small waterfall on a tributary of Wildcat Branch.

The hike to Upper Falls is kid friendly and the trail is defined enough. The ascents negligible and other than a few steep drops off to the side of the trail, this one isn’t so bad. There are some small cascades along the creek and the trail is scenic and peaceful. When you near Upper Falls you will see several signs warning of the inherent dangers of climbing on waterfalls. You will also see this same sign is you decide to climb up the right side of the falls to get a better look. I was here in a drag winter day and the water flow was meager at best. The rocks were dry and easily navigated. If they were wet, this would be a different story. Additionally, during my research for this waterfall I read where people climb the face of this waterfall. This offered clarity on the need for all the signage about injury and death. Trying to climb the face of this waterfall could only end badly.

Photographing this one is going to be challenging since there is no way to get it all into the shot without using a wide-angle lens, which distorts the height. It just doesn’t do this one justice. There is lots of downfall collected on the rocks at the base, which is going to take away from any picture taken from the trail. Use your judgment.

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Upper Wildcat Branch from midway up – February 2016
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Upper Wildcat Branch from upper vantage – February 2016
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Upper Wildcat Branch Falls in portrait – February 2016

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