Long Creek Falls Exploratory/Chattooga River

It was a small group of four as Scout and I decided to hike at the last minute and thought some company would be nice.  Making a couple stops to pick up our crew to make 4 (Tippy and Captain Morgan), we made our way towards Westminster in western South Carolina and headed up towards FS755.

FS755 is a gravel and dirt road in very good shape in the Sumter National Forest.  There are at least 2 waterfalls that I know of along it, one being Opossum Falls and the other Long Creek Falls.  I had been to Opossum Falls on another occasion and  we had decided to save that for last.  I was driving and we were following the directions we got from the SCtrails.net web site which turned out to not be very good.

We arrived at the apparent end of the road at what appeared to be a parking lot which didn’t mesh with the directions so we turned around and went back up the road to check out one of the side gates we saw. Image

After hiking down it for about a half mile, we came to a dead end and decided it had to be where we first thought to stop.  So we traipsed back up the old road, got back in the car, and returned to the spot we initially thought we’d stop at.  Putting on our backpacks, we headed off on the smaller side road to the right of the parking lot traveling deeper into the woods. This road was not in nearly the good shape as the main part of the road was in but we did see a black jeep drive down it as we left later in the day.

We started to recognize some side roads as they were marked so we were starting to feel we were on the right path. The road eventually become a real trail and we followed it for a bit. The directions stated that we needed to be listening for the falls near a bend in the trail.  We came to a bend, looked to our left and noted a faint path going downhill.  We also heard what appeared to be a lot of rushing water, and so with the hope we had found the way to Long Creek Falls we made our way downhill.  Image

Our travels started off fairly benignly but soon we were scrambling down the side of the hill towards the river, grabbing tree limbs, roots and rocks as we went.  After a short but dicey 15 minutes, we made it to the Chattooga  River at a beautiful spot we came to later learn was called Raven Chute.Image

We had made it all in one piece with only minor bleeding, dirty pants, and no broken bones!  It was picture taking and lunch time so we all pursued our various desires and spent a pleasant half hour hanging out and posing for and taking some photos.  DSC00261There was a waterfall at this spot but not being very impressed with it (Pinckney Branch but at the time we thought it was Long Creek Falls) we made our way gingerly and carefully back up the hill towards the main trail.  We headed back out towards our car with the idea of heading back to hike to Opossum Falls when we came across a man and his 3 frisky dogs.  One of the dogs greeted us as we came up the trail, another looked at us somewhat suspiciously, and the third stayed close to her owner.  The man, who we later learned was a botanist, was carrying his camera and a rope and was heading for the same spot we came up from. After getting over our exuberance, and maybe gaining a smidgen of respect for us after he took in we had braved and completed the trip to Raven Chute, he indicated that the spot we had gone to was Raven Chute and that Long Creek Falls was in fact past it and not hard to find.  We decided that we would head back down the trail so we were now 5 for a short time plus 3 dogs.

Our botanist was extremely kind and gave us a copy of the disk he was carrying with him that contained a book of all the local Chattooga hikes along with some pdfs of animals and plant life in the area.  I felt like Christmas had come; I was just that excited!!

Our botanist (with dogs) left us at the turn and headed down towards the rushing water of Raven Chute. At least he was smart enough to bring a rope. He would need it. We continued on down the trail and after a short time the trail turned downhill and we made our way to the base of Long Creek Falls.  As we looked up the river, a group of kayakers could be seen in the distance making their way towards us as they traveled downstream. Image Image

After a few pictures of the falls, we made our way back up the trail and towards the car.

It was still early yet but too late to start down the next trail towards Opossum Falls so we decided to make a stop at Brasstown Falls which is really a series of four falls, all of which have to be viewed separately.  The footing at Brasstown Falls is very treacherous and we had to carefully pick our way downstream to see 3 of the 4.  Scout was the only one of us who decided to brave the logs to cross and see the upper falls.  Tippy and I crawled and scrunched (me) our way across a log to the other side of the stream but we couldn’t make our way to a better view of the upper falls without getting our feet wet and we hadn’t brought our water shoes from the car so we decided to let it go for the time being. Another day on that one.Image

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After a very satisfying trip to view the balance of the falls, we made our way to the car once again and headed off to Clemson to have dinner at the local Thai restaurant!

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