320 – Long Creek Falls

Accessibility – Moderate+

Height – 40′

Distance – 3.0 (out and back)

Beauty – 10

Photo rating – 10

Solitude – 5

GPS Info: LAT 35.26873 LONG -82.98420

Last Updated – 01-19-2023

Last Visited – 11-02-2020

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From the minute I was halfway down the steep descent that led from the logging grade we’d followed for 1.5 miles to the Chatooga River, I knew Long Creek Falls looked great. At the midpoint of the descent the woods on the side of the trail opened up, revealing the waterfall below but it wasn’t until we reached the sandy beach at the base and looked upstream that we could appreciate the amazing Long Creek Falls. We spent a lot of time admiring the falls and it seemed the longer we looked, the more intricate details we picked out. There were so many small flows and partially hidden drops. It was one of those falls I knew a picture would not do justice. Making matters worse the early afternoon sun was hitting the the river right side of the falls and the river left was buried in the shadows. It was about as far from idyllic photo conditions as possible and it felt like my photographic efforts were in peril but as we were getting ready to leave the cloud I had been waiting for arrived, casting the scene in even lighting.

After a great day Saturday exploring in Western NC, Sunday was time to head back to SC but on the way we had time for one stop. I put the choice to Jen, offering a choice between two unknowns, Little Bearwallow Falls in Hendersonville or Long Creek Falls in Mountain Rest. She chose the latter. Thank God!!!

As I had with my early spring trip to Opossum Creek Falls, we were coming toward our target from Sapphire Valley. From Cashiers follow NC107 from the intersection with US64 in the middle of town. The mileage isn’t important since after passing into South Carolina where NC107 becomes SC107, you remain on it until it ends at SC28. You can also get to SC107 close to the state line by coming down NC281 and taking a right onto Wiggington Road and then a left onto SC107. From the intersection at Wiggington Road it is around 12 miles until SC107 dead ends into SC28. Make a left and then a near immediate right onto Whetstone Road. Half a mile down Whestone make a left onto Cassidy Bridge Road. You’ll be on Cassidy Bridge Road for 7.4 miles. When you come to the stop sign at 7.4 miles make a left onto US76. After making the turn take the next right onto Damascus Church Road (0.1 of a mile). In roughly a mile bear right onto Battle Creek Road. Just under two miles later make a right onto Turkey Ridge Road. This gravel road will lead to the parking area in 2.8 miles. At 2.4 miles you will pass the trailhead for Opossum Creek Falls, which could be combined with Long Creek Falls to make a great daily adventure.

At 2.8 miles Turkey Ridge Road comes to a large open parking area. It it at a point where the road veers right and descends, If you’re driving a car or other such vehicle with low ground clearance, park in the open area and walk down the road. If you’re driving a 4×4 or even a 2WD Xterra with ample ground clearance, you can drive down the road for 0.6 of a mile to an open area recently scraped clear for parking.

Depending on where you park, the first 0.6 of a mile from the grassy parking lot is on a downhill grade that will have your calves burning on the way back up. When you get to the lower parking area, the area to the right was cleared slightly, head toward this and then pick up a trail heading around the dirt berm created when they leveled the parking area. The trial will approach an old Jeep mound and split. We went to the right and followed the trail around the berm and down the grade. The trail shifts to a mostly level course as it follows the contour of the ride on a more or less level grade. The path is easy to follow with almost no fallen trees to hurdle. Half a mile from the lower parking area, you will come to this point 34.78062, -83.31978. The way to Long Branch Falls is obvious, but there is a narrow path that descends steeply off to the left. If you negotiate your way down this, scramble around some to get into position, you will see Homer Falls.

At 1.5 miles from the upper trailhead and 0.6 from the lower one, the logging grade goes right and dead ends into into a wall of rhodos, while an obvious path heads down the slope. This section is steep as you make your way down to the Chattooga River which you can hear for about half a mile as you approach the descent. Even the scramble isn’t too bad if you take your time and by the time you reach the base, you will likely be dreading the climb back up. Make a right at the end of the trail and enter Long Creek where it empties into the Chatooga. The water isn’t deep and the current is modest but the rocks are slippery so use caution. Once across take the sandy path upstream toward the falls. During the descent if you keep your eyes open, you’ll see another path that heads to the right. If you follow this you will end up on the rock ledge at the base of the falls on river left.

It didn’t take more than a minute before this became my favorite SC waterfall. If you hike to it, you will likely feel the same way.


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