Monday, June 17, 2013

Sid's Falls, SC


Coming from Westminster, SC head west on US 76 for 13.1 miles and make a left onto Damascus Church Road.  Drive about a mile and bear right onto Battle Creek Rd.  just before Damascus Church Rd. turns to gravel.  Follow Battle Creek Rd. and you will hit a stop sign where it meets back up with Damascus Church Rd.  Turn right here and a little ways down the road look for the gated FS 2616 on the right.   Park here and the hike begins on FS 2616 behind the gate.  If you get to a church you have gone 0.15 miles too far..  The hike is about 3 miles round trip and the waterfall around 50 feet tall.

The first mile of the hike is an easy stroll along the overgrown Forest Service road.  You will pass 3 wildlife clearings (small open fields) along the way.  When you reach the 4th and final clearing the road will end.  Walk to the upper end of the field, close to the road, and look for a small faint clearing and trail into the woods.

If you're as unlucky as me you will be hiking the grown over road at its highest growth.  I know this because on the way out we ran into the tractor mowing the grassy forest road.  I guess I am semi unlucky because walking back on the now mowed road was a treat compared to hiking in.  The way in was filled with ticks, more ticks, and tons of ticks.  I despise ticks and I really hate them when they are crawling all over my shoes and ankles.  It was so bad, along with the horseflies, I came very close to skipping Sid's Falls.  But we pressed on, swatting the horseflies away and stopping every minute to flick the ticks off, till finally the road ended at the edge of the woods.

Once in the woods the trail is pretty simple to follow.  You will see some flagging tape to help you along the way but I wouldn't completely count on it.  My directions said to follow the pink and orange tape but I only saw it in a few spots.  In fact most of the tape I saw had been torn from the trees and laid on the ground.

The trail remains easy and level most of the way until you get about 0.1 miles from the falls.  On my trip I saw one piece of yellow flagging tape at the point of descent.  This part is not fun.  You will have to climb your way down the mountain through thick shrubs and tons of fallen trees all the while hanging on to anything you can to stay upright.  This whole trek is really overgrown, you are ducking in and out of tree branches,  and you cant see where you are stepping.  Normally this would be my favorite part of the hike, but the not knowing where or what I may be stepping on took away my excitement.  You could just tell this part of the hike was ripe for snakes.  I prayed I wouldn't step on any and luckily out of the two we did encounter, one ran away and the other just sat curled up and still.

Once near the creek the area opens up some and you can start to see the falls through the trees.  The trail takes you out right on top of the creek at the base of the falls.  This area isn't very big but you have enough room to walk up the rocks on the creek to the waterfall's main drop.  It didn't look like there was any way to continue hiking downstream though.

This is a very interesting looking waterfall.  You have the tall main drop completely surrounded by cascading waters heading downstream like steps. The whole area just had a different feel to it.  You pop through the woods into this open area with a great big waterfall that is still packed into this small isolated space.  It kinda fells like it shouldn't be here.  It gives you this cool sense that this area is hidden from the world and this beautiful view is rarely seen by others.







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