855 – Tower Falls

Accessibility – Hard

Height – 35′

Distance – 4.0 (out and back)

Beauty – 6

Photo rating – 6

Solitude – 7

GPS Info: LAT 35.02272 LONG -82.82909

Last Updated – 01-12-2023

Last Visited – 12-17-2021

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Tower Falls is a 35 foot waterfall on Laurel Branch in Jocassee Gorges. The trailhead is located on Horsepasture Road past the TH for Virgina Hawkins Falls.

The trailhead is located at 35.02888, -82.85053, which is 5.8 miles down Horse Pasture Road from US178. The road can be gated at Virgina Hawkins Trail Head at Canebrake Rd. but I don’t know what times of year this occurs. There is a place to pull off on the left where another road intersects.

The hike follows this old road downhill for the first 1.1 miles. On my visit the road had been cleared by the forest service to be used for some controlled burns in the area. I have not been back since my December 2021 visit to see if they cleared the road any further down toward the falls. At 1.1 miles, the road makes a second hard left. At this point a more overgrown road continues to follow the creek. I ended up on river right when the overgrown road ended. Looking back, I know that river left would have been the better approach. River right got ungodly steep. I don’t know what river left looks like, but it has to be better than the way I went. I plan to head back this spring, so I will upatde this page as necessary.

The falls and the surrounding cliffs are very interesting, and if not for an incident with Axel, my four-legged hiking partner, we would have spent more time exploring. When coming down on river right, I made my way down to a six-foot high ledge. A moment later my 70-pound bowling ball came sliding down the leaf-covered hillside and knocked me off the ledge. Needless to say, it took some time to shake that off, and we ended up hiking out a different way by the light of the full moon. Intitially we were hiking by my cell phone flashlight until I realized it was just as bright without it.

Cool waterfall to the lieft hidden partially by that giant boulder. Cool cliff on the right, uniquely stacked.