Accessibility – Easy/Hard
Height: Approx 100′
Distance – 0.4 (out and back)
Beauty – 3/8
Photo rating – 3/8
Solitude – 5/9
GPS Info: LAT 34.8071 LONG -83.1213
Last updated – 04-11-2017
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Issaqueena Falls is a 100 foot high waterfall in upstate South Carolina, not too far from the NC border. The waterfall is part of a recreation area off SC28 that includes the Stumphouse Tunnel, a Civil War Era railroad tunnel into Stumphouse Mountain. The tunnel was never completed despite a shaft cut into the mountain that extends beyond 1600 feet. Most of this is closed off but the part you can walk is a neat adventure for the whole family. On the hottest summer day or coldest winter day the tunnel temperature is a constant 56 degrees. For more info on the tunnel, visit the Oconee County website.
To get to Issaqueena Falls, from Walhalla, follow NC28 West for 6.9 miles and make a right onto Stumphouse Tunnel Road. Along the way you will pass the entrance to the Yellow Branch Parking area on the left at 6.8 miles. You can combine these two attractions with Yellow Branch Falls to make a great half day family adventure. Follow the entrance road to a small turnout on the right where you are asked to stop and pay a $2 fee to enter. From the parking kiosk, the road winds to the parking area. The waterfall is to the right and the tunnel is to the left.
To get to the falls, follow the trail across the covered bridge. It’s just over a tenth of a mile to the observation deck. If you take in the view from here, don’t expect too much. The same goes for taking pictures. The trees between the deck and the falls are all grown up and they block the view. If you want to see the falls you’re going to have to get a little dirty. To the right of the deck a trail starts that descends to the base of the falls. It is steep in places and very rocky so use your judgment is this is for you. My 8-year old had no issue with the trail down but she’s been scrambling with me since age 3. There are so many places down below to take pictures. There are an abundance of large flat stones in front of the falls. You can also climb up the river right side to a small area where you can shoot an iso of the drop on that side. The different vantages account for the varying accessibility/beauty/photo/solitude ratings. You’re gonna work to get down to the base but the payoff is worth it.