Accessibility – Hard+
Height – Approx 90′
Distance – 4.75 miles (out and back)
Beauty – 10
Photo rating – 8
Solitude – 10
GPS Info: LAT 35.26841 LONG -82.29148
Last Updated: 09-07-2020
Last Visit: 08-03-2020
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Think long and hard about this one. Big Bradley is a fatality machine and while most of the injuries and deaths have occurred as a result of people falling off the cliff overlook, there have been other serious injuries on the lower approach. At this time the upper access remains closed while a solution to the problem of injuries is resolved.
Regardless of your direction of travel on I-26, take exit 59, Saluda. At the bottom of the ramp you’re going to want to head East on Holbert Cove Road. In the other direction this is Ozone Road, which would take you to US176 and Pearson’s Falls. Less than a tenth of a mile make a left onto Green River Cove Road. Follow Green River Cove Road for 3.65 miles to where a dirt road turns to the right just before Green River Cove Road crosses the Green River. The road is bumpy with several large dips on the way to the parking area. As you enter you’ll see several small out buildings on the left. Pass them and park by the kiosk in the open parking area.
A closed gate it at the end of the parking area beyond the kiosk and this is going to be the trail initially. Once past the gate the road follows a gradually undulating grade. After one mile on the road it will make a sharp left turn beyond a field of sunflowers. The turn is identified easily by a makeshift garage with several tractors under it. Making a left would be the way to Milton Bradley etc. Take the narrower path to the right passing close to the barn.
The trail is easy enough to follow for the next 0.6 of a mile to a crossing of Cove Creek. The ends the easy part of the hike. The degree of difficulty grows after the crossing. A tenth of a mile past the crossing, a narrow trail will head back down to the creek on your right. If you want to see the base of Baby Bradley Falls, follow this spur down to the creek and make your way upstream to see the three distinct drops.
The trail to Big Bradly will continue on river right with the terrain getting more steep. In some places you will have to climb the steep bank or negotiate the creek to avoid the unruly trail. Regardless of which route you take, land or water, you will be forced to river left at the base of Son of Bradley Falls. The trail abruptly ends at a cliff, forcing you down to the creek and a crossing that can be very difficult if the water is up in the least. I can’t tell you the best way to cross because most everyone in my group had a different approach. The key if crossing safely so you can climb the river left side of the falls to continue upstream.
From the climb up Son of Bradley Falls to the base of Big Bradley, you will be in the creek for the most part. You can try and bushwhack but I have no idea what you might encounter on the steep hillsides. This last 0.3 of a mile to the falls is going to be time consuming but if you can make it, the sight of this amazing waterfall will make the effort worthwhile.