Ashmore Heritage Preserve Loop Hike

This is far from the only way to tackle the waterfalls on this hike but it is the way I did them on this trip. The directions to Ashmore Falls would be the same regardless of how you did the hike but the other waterfalls can be accessed from other trailheads to have a shorter hike. The way we did the loop it was five mile total, the last 1.3 downhill on Persimmon Ridge Road. The uphill sections were not very difficult. Getting to the base of Ashmore Falls, Hamlin Falls and to Wattacoo Creek Falls #8 and #9 is where the work comes in.

Trailhead Directions: Coming from Greenville, Persimmon Ridge Road is on the right, 3.6 miles past where SC11 and US276W meet. Make a right and proceed for 0.8 miles to the parking are on the right. If you go on a weekend, it’s the place with all the cars. Coming East on US276, the left onto Persimmon Ridge Road is 1.3 mile past Wildcat Wayside.It is 0.8 of a mile to the parking area.

At the upper end of the parking area an old road enters the woods. Almost immediately you will make a right. You could also go left and end up in the same place but since you are following my directions, make a right onto the Mountain Bridge Passage Trail. At 0.25 of a mile from the trailhead you will come to an intersection. Take the sharp left and start down the grade to a creek crossing. Once across you will ascend for several tenths of a mile. Half a mile from the intersection the woods will end and you will see Wattacoo Lake and across it Ashmore Falls.

Bear to the right to go around the lake counter-clockwise. The trail will enter the woods after an open stretch and curve around the far side. When you see the creek running over the trail. You will see a split rail fence to your left and a trail climbing steeply on the right. If you want to go to the base of Ashmore Falls, make a right and start up the trail. It is not a long hike, covering barely 0.2 of a mile but the view isn’t great. You are very close to the falls and can only see the lower drop. Just below this there is a smaller section that is much more photogenic. If you go down to this lower section be careful. There are a few places where you could fall off a rock ledge.

Back on track, reverse the route back to the main trail and resume the counter-clockwise loop around the lake. If you want to bag it after Ashmore Falls, shortly after getting back on the main trail you will come to an intersection. If you make a left and go over the bridge you will end up at your car. If you want to see more waterfalls, make a right. From the intersection you will hike the gradually ascending grade for half a mile to where the trail crosses the creek on a wooden bridge, Just beyond the bridge there is a split in the trail. To get to the base of Hamlin Falls head to the left.

The trail will start down and come to an open rock area covered in moss and a very overgrown trail around the rock. Fight your way through the downfall and pick up the faint trail beyond the clutter. The trail opens up on the lower side of the open rock area and meanders to the base of the falls. It’s not a difficult hike with the exception of the fallen trees above the open rock. It is barely 0.1 of a mile from the trail split to the base of the falls. I didn’t know what to expect but Hamlin Falls was much nicer than Ashmore Falls and easier to enjoy. Return to the trail junction and make a left to continue the loop.

The next section of the trail is very easy and 0.3 from the intersection leading to the base of Hamlin Falls you will come to Wattacoo Creek at the base of Wattacoo Creek Falls #10. It is trailside but you can enter the open area to get closer. There isn’t a great view of this section and it isn’t all that great to begin with. Up until now the hike has been pretty tame and the chances of getting busted up have been slim. If you call it after WFC#10, you will seriously minimize the chances of getting hurt. If you want to see the two waterfalls above it, be careful.

You have a poor view of the next waterfall up from the base of #10 but to get up there you need to head to river left and start up the ridge. If you follow the ridge spine up you will have no problems. If you try and do this close to waterfall #10, you will run into issues. Swing wide left until you clear the top of the lower falls. The spring green was just growing in but I easily found a trail that led to the somewhat sketchy decent to get to the base of Wattacoo Creek Falls #9. It is way nicer than the one down below and you can shoot it in profile or straight on. It is not a place for everyone so use your best judgment.

Climb back up the way you came down, swing away from waterfall #9 and resume the trek up the hill. The ground will flatten some once you get above the ninth waterfall and at that point you can work back toward the creek. The creek closes in around Wattacoo Creek Falls #8 but it does really frame the open rock and the various drops. Short in time I took some pictures from the base but I didn’t have time to keep heading up the creek. Make your way back down the way you came up, carefully avoiding the brink of #9 and #10. Once you get to the base of #10, get back on the trail heading up the hill.

For the next 0.6 of a mile remain on the Mountain Bridge Passage Trail until you come to a gate at Persimmon Ridge Road. Make a left onto the gravel road and follow it as is makes its way down the mountain to the parking area. The road is not steep but it is open to vehicle traffic so be careful. It is 1.4 miles from the Mountain Bridge Passage Trail to the parking area with a total descent of 400 feet.

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