Lower Whitewater Falls Duke Energy Recreation Area, SC
miles
LENGTH 4.3 MILES
DIFFICULTY 6.5 Easy
Medium
DURATION 2-3 hours
ELEVATION GAIN
960
feet
TRAIL TYPE
There And
Back Again
Lower Whitewater Falls

Take on a longer and more difficult hike than the larger Upper Whitewater Falls just to the north and instead enjoy a tranquil river crossing and some quiet solitude on the trail to this classic South Carolina waterfall. If you're up for a real challenge you can take the Foothills Trail to explore both waterfalls on a much longer trek, but for this description we'll just be visiting the one.

The parking lot is massive but there weren't many other cars on the weekend I was here. The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot and although it says 1.7 miles to the Lower Falls Overlook, they mean once you join the Foothills Trail it's an additional 1.7 miles. Just after the trailhead, make a 90° turn to the left at the 4 way gravel intersection, staying on the more prominent path. The trail quickly enters a dense woods providing shade for the rest of the trail.

Drop down to the Whitewater River and cross it on a pair of bridges spanning the cool tumbling waters. The Foothills Trail is on the other side. Continue straight following the signs to the Lower Whitewater Falls. After a climb, the Foothills Trail splits away, leaving you back on the blue blazed trail.

Shortly afterward, the trail ends at a gravel parking lot. However, cross in front of the parking lot and you'll notice the blue-blazed posts heading down the gravel road to the left. Follow the road for less than .2 miles before it re-enters the woods to the right.

After another short climb, the trail begins heading downhill decently steep making a lovely return journey. At just over 2 miles the trail ends at a small observation platform, looking down the river at the Lower Whitewater Falls a good distance away. Falling over 200 feet over several cascades, the waterfall is impressive but the view is further away than those at the Upper Whitewater Falls.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Terrain Map Click to control map
Details
length4.3 miles
difficulty6.5 Easy-Medium
duration2 - 3 hours
trail typeThere And Back Again
blazeBlue, White (Foothills Trail)
elevation gain960 ft.
park/forestDuke Energy Recreation Area
Sumter National Forest
ranger districtAndrew Pickens Ranger District
112 Andrew Pickens Circle
Mountain Rest, SC 29664
864-638-9568
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 35.012443, -82.999196 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°0.75, W 82°59.95 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 35°0'45'', N 35°0'45'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
35.012443, -82.999196 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°0.75, W 82°59.95 most GPS units use this one
N 35°0'45'', N 35°0'45'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
Once you enter the Duke Energy gate, drive 2.1 miles before turning left to follow the sign to the Foothills Trail. The trailhead is at the end of the large parking lot.
Notes
When the trail enters a gravel parking lot, cross in front of the lot and continue left down the gravel road for less than .2 miles before the trail heads back into the woods on the right.
There are a few steep drop offs so pay attention to children and pets.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
4 (1)
hikethesouth-5 months ago
Long View of Falls and Tranquil River Crossing
This is a nice hike with a good longer distance view of an impressive waterfall and a really nice river crossing. You will definitely find solitude on this hike, especially compared with the other falls in the area.
Easy-Medium | Hiked Summer 2018
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