Lee Falls (6-7-15)
Lee Falls of Oconee County has my vote for prettiest waterfall in South Carolina. I honestly wonder why I waited so long to visit. Tucked away in a quiet corner of Sumter National Forest, Lee Falls is known by many but visited by a relative few. No doubt this has a lot to do with the fact that there is no maintained trail to them. That's the main reason I waited so long to visit. The prospect of a 1.5-mile quasi bushwhack to any waterfall doesn't in any way appeal to me. A friend of mine, however, informed me that the 'path' to the falls isn't really all that hard to follow and offered to take me along on this warm day in early June.
The path sets out from a nondescript parking area (there was no sign even indicating a waterfall near here) and, yes, I did say path. As I'd soon discover there was an obvious and well-worn path all the way to the falls. The first half mile found us crossing a series of old, open fields which, on this 85-degree afternoon, was a bit of an oppressive walk heat-wise. The remaining mile, though in places somewhat overgrown and with a couple easy stream crossings, went quickly and without issue. Be warned though, the last quarter mile or so gets pretty steep and rocky as you scramble up boulders in the narrowing valley to the base of the cascade. Lee Falls is a sight to behold. The lush cove in which it's located, the multi-parted misty veil of the falling water, and the moss covered cliff over which it tumbles creates a majestic scene with an almost tropical feel. This is one that should be high on the list for any visiting waterfall enthusiast. Mother nature has done some of her finest decorating here!
So, come on along with me on this very hot June day and see what I found on my visit to the most beautiful waterfall I've yet to visit in South Carolina...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 34.893576, -83.081436
Route Type: Out-and-back Difficulty: MODERATE
Hike Length: 3.0 miles Hike Duration: 2:00
Trailhead Temp: 85'F Trail Traffic: NONE!!
Min. Elevation: 1,120' Max. Elevation: 1,400'
Total Vertical Gain: 280' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 187'
Trails Used (blaze color): Lee Falls Trail (unblazed)