Lower Whitewater Falls (4-21-15)
Lower Whitewater Falls is the second in a series of massive drops the Whitewater River makes in its final few miles before emptying into Lake Jocassee. Not quite as high as its much more well-known and visited big brother, Lower Whitewater is none-the-less a sight to behold. It's main drop is well over 200' in height and, if one includes the massive cascades above and below it, its height reaches over 400'!
The reason Lower Whitewater is less visited than Upper Whitewater Falls is that it takes a real hike to get to them. It's not a long hike, mind you, but there isn't a paved path to this one. For reasons I have no explanation for I had never, up until this hike, visited the falls. The route is pretty straight forward...simply follow the Foothills Trail east from Duke Power's Bad Creek Access Site for around a mile, then head south on the Lower Whitewater Falls Trail to the wooden overlook. The distance you travel isn't as straight forward, however. Depending on which trail sign, or combination thereof, its a one-way hike of between 1.7 and 2.4 miles. Distance is immaterial though as its a relatively easy hike and one that if taken in the spring rewards you with a wonderful variety of wildflowers along the way. So, here it is, my inaugural visit to Lower Whitewater Falls...highest in South Carolina...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.012435, -82.999220
Route Type: Out-and-back Difficulty: HARD
Hike Length: 4.0 miles Hike Duration: 2:30
Trailhead Temp: 70'F Trail Traffic: 5-10 people
Min. Elevation: 1,800' Max. Elevation: 2,100'
Total Vertical Gain: 1,000' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 250'
Trails Used (blaze color): Bad Creek Spur (blue), Foothills (white/blue), Lower Whitewater Falls (blue)