The Foothills Trail - Whitewater Falls to Lower Whitewater Falls

May 23, 2006

This week's hike was on the Foothills Trail from Upper Whitewater Falls to Lower Whitewater Falls. This is an excellent hike to two of the tallest waterfalls in the eastern U.S.. Spectacular views are availble almost as soon as you exit the parking lot.

HIKERS - Amanda Anderson, Melissa Anderson, June Bellamy, John Bellamy, Ray Cowan, Terry Doyle, Wayne Miller, Bruce O'Connor, Bob Presley, Donna Presley, Tony Presley, John Ray, Dan Ross, Doug Russell, Bob Thompson, David Whitaker, and Geri Whitaker.

TRAIL INFO. - The Foothills Trail is well-maintained and this particular hike has a variety of terrain. It starts off with a steep descent down 150-something steps to an observation platform for Whitewater Falls, then a steep downhill walk to the bottom below the falls to the Whitewater River. The falls is not visible from the bottom. There is a very large boulder field and a foot-bridge accross the river. The trail is rolling up and down for a section with wooden steps in steep sections. Gradually, the trail brings you close to the river for a nice long flat walk to the intersection with the Bad Creek connector trail. Then, the trail turns left up a mountain to the intersection with the Lower Whitewater Falls side trail which we took down to the falls viewing platform. It is a fairly long downhill walk to the platform. This was our lunch spot for the day. Next, we reversed our path back to Upper Whitewater Falls.

Distance hiked - approx. 7 miles - difficulty is considered somewhat challenging for the section back up from the lower falls and back up to the upper falls from the river. The middle section is easy.

Directions: From Seneca SC, take Scenic Highway 11 past Tamassee, to Salem, SC continue to the intersection SC 11 and SC 130. Turn left onto 130 and drive approx. 10 miles. Look for the entrance to the Whitewater Falls Recreation Area and parking lot.

Another great day for a hike! Fair temperatures ranging from the lower 60's to the mid 70's F.

FLOWERS IN BLOOM: Mountain Laurel, Rattlesnake weed, Vasey's Trillium, Indian Cucumber Root, Tulip Poplar, Whorled Loosestrife, Healall, White Violet, Yellow Star Grass, Partridgeberry, Hearts-a-Bursting, Devil's Bit, Yellow Woodsorrel, Ragwort, Tall Bluet, Soloman's Seal, False Solomon's Seal, Squaw Root, Meadow Rue, Blue-eyed Grass, Flowering Spurge and Drum Heads, Halberd Leaved Yellow Violet, Mayapple, Foam Flower, Lyre-leaved sage, Jack in the pulpit, and yellow toadshade Trillium.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Red eyed vireo, Carolina wren, Titmouse, Black throated blue warbler, Crow, Oven bird, Cardinal, Towhee, Yellow throated vireo, Crested flycatcher, Rose breasted grosbeak, Hooded warbler, Common yellow throat, Pileated woodpecker.

Click for movie clip from today's hike!

We had this view near the parking lot. (Lake Jocassee in the background)
411 ft. Whitewater Falls!
Due to a dry springtime, the water flow was a bit lower than normal.
We enjoy the nice viewing platform.
The boulder field and foot-bridge below Whitewater Falls.
Maintained by Duke Power Co.
There are several sets of wooden steps for steep places.
The trail junction for the Bad Creek connector trail.
The mountain laurel were in full bloom!
Beautiful Lower Whitewater Falls. (400 ft. high)
Zooming in on the top of the falls, you can see a cave opening.
On our way back, we spot this nice King Snake! (Lampropeltis getula niger)
The OFHC gang for today's hike. (l-r front) Tony Presley, Amanda Anderson and "Bo", Melissa Anderson, Bruce O'Connor, Doug Russell, "Nugget", Donna Presley and Bob Presley. (back l-r) Terry Doyle, Dan Ross, Bob Thompson, Wayne Miller, Ray Cowan, John Bellamy, June Bellamy, Geri Whitaker, David Whitaker and John Ray.

to Tony's Hiking Page.