This is the one waterfall
in this book you should consider visiting by a means other than
hiking. Witnessing 80-foot high Laurel Fork Falls from a boat in the waters of
Lake Jocassee is a once-in-a-lifetime shot. Take it.
Once you navigate into Laurel Fork Creek cove and catch the initial
view of the falls, find a crescent-shaped grotto behind the rocky
tower. The waterfall goes into hiding until you round the last of the
crescent. Then, suddenly, it flares out into mid-air before plunging
into Lake Jocassee. Hiking into the waterfall involves a strenuous
five-to-six hour hike of 8.4 miles from US 178 on the Foothills Trail.
You will follow Laurel Creek and at times crisscrossing the stream on
permanent bridges and at one point a suspension bridge.
5 to 6 hours (one way)
of hike: 8.4 miles
or river: Laurel Fork Creek
Trail Access to Laurel Fork Falls
From Pickens, drive north on US 178 for approximately 16.5 miles and
turn left onto Laurel Valley Road (Pickens County S-39-237), take the
gravel road to the right.
Drive 0.5 mile to the Foothills Trail Laurel Valley Access parking lot
Walk up the road to access the Foothills Trail and hike 8.4 miles to
the falls. (For detailed description of the hike, see "The
Foothills Trail: A Comprehensive Guide," 1998. pp. 34-36/ Maps #4
Access (by boat) to Laurel Fork Falls
1. From Walhalla, drive northeast on SC 11 (Cherokee Foothills Scenic
Highway) for approximately 15 miles and turn left onto Jocassee Lake
Road (Oconee County S-37-25).
2. Drive approximately 4 miles to the Devil's Fork State Park main boat
Once on Lake Jocassee, follow the Toxaway River arm of the lake north,
turning right (east) into the Laurel Fork Creek finger of the Toxaway
Two views of the 80-foot drop of Laurel Fork Falls are available from
the lake: A frontal view from the end of the cove or a superb profile
of the waterfall from a grotto that crescents to the right from the
end of the cove.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources - Clemson Office, 153
Hopwell Road, Pendleton, SC, 29670.
Updated: October 21, 2005
South Carolina State Trails Program
South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
1205 Pendleton Street :: Columbia, SC 29201 :: 803-734-0173
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