Heads Up Out There!

The region offers dozens of hiking trails. Many of the trails in Oconee County will take you into the wilderness where you’ll find native forest land. This is not a controlled environment, and oftentimes you might be in “dead zones” where you won’t get cell reception. Be sure to pack water and snacks, wear proper attire and appropriate shoes (not flip flops!). Many popular destinations have seen a surge in visitors. Please respect the natural surroundings and don’t trample foliage and tree roots or scamper over boulders that might shift under your weight. Please don’t litter. Pack it in, pack it out.

We encourage you to visit and enjoy our natural places! But keep in mind: Rescue crews are not close by, it will take time for help to arrive. It’s best to know what you’re getting into and be prepared in case of an emergency. Be cautious and safe while experiencing these wild, unpredictable settings.

Oconee’s river terrain features some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the nation! In addition to the trails listed below, you’ll find hikes to some of the nearly 150 waterfalls found in Oconee County on our WATERFALLS page.


Bad Creek Spur Trail

Salem, SC
Get Directions >

This easy 0.8-mile spur trail provides a connection to the Whitewater River, the Foothills Trail, Coon Branch Trail, and to Lower Whitewater Falls (via the Foothills Trail). Enter the gate to Duke Energy’s Bad Creek Hydro Station on SC 130, and proceed two miles down to the marked entrance to the large trailhead parking area. Fishing, but no camping, is allowed along the Whitewater River. A designated campsite is 0.5 miles past junction with the river.


Big Bend Trail

This 2.7-mile, out-and-back trail begins a the Cherry Hill Recreation Area and eventually ends at a junction with the Foothills Trail along the Chattooga River. An adventurous scramble on an unmaintained trail along the river affords views of 30-ft. Big Bend Falls, the largest drop on the Chattooga River.


Blue Ridge Railroad Trail

Trail follows the railroad bed of an incomplete section of the 19th century Blue Ridge Railroad where you can see three abandoned tunnels. The moderate to strenuous trail is 2.5 miles one-way. Trail head is located in Stumphouse Park, at the top of the Issaqueena Falls parking lot, and takes you through the forest with amazing views of the upstate.


Chattooga Trail

15.5 mile trail that runs parallel to the famous Chattooga River, and shares 8.5 miles with the Foothills Trail. It passes through some of the finest wilderness in South Carolina. The northern terminus of the Chattooga Trail is Ellicott Rock, where Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina meet. Waterfall lovers shouldn’t miss this trail, since you can see King Creek, Spoonauger, Big Bend, Pigpen and Licklog Falls at points along the trail.


Chauga Narrows

Located on the Chauga River, view of the narrow 25 ft. high falls. A moderate hike. Great picnic spot and swimming along the river. For best viewing of falls, some climbing over rocks is required. GPS coordinates to parking area: N 34.83332 W 083.17399


East Fork Trail

Mountain Rest, S
Get Directions >

Beginning at the picnic area adjacent to the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery, this 2.5-mile trail is an easy hike along the bank of the scenic, fast moving east fork of the Chattooga River. The trail will take you down to the river. Beginning or ending the hike at Burrell’s Ford adds an additional 2.1 miles.


Ellicott Rock Wilderness

South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia
Get Directions >

Ellicott Rock Wilderness was established by Congress in 1975. Encompassing 8.296 acres, this wilderness spreads across the corners of SC, NC, and GA. It also straddles the 15,432-acre Chattooga River Wild and Scenic Corridor. The steep terrain of the Ellicott Rock Wilderness offers numerous mountains and waterfalls to explore. There are several access points where you can enter the wilderness area including Burrell’s Ford Rd. & the Foothills Trail off Hwy. 107 in Mountain Rest, SC.


Foothills Trail

This National Recreation Trail has its southern terminus in Oconee State Park and extends to the north and east for 77 miles. Sections very in length and difficulty. Day-hikers can access the trail from different points; thru-hikers can spend a week backcountry hiking on the trail. Maintained by the Foothills Trail Conservancy.


Fork Mountain Trail

6.4 mile trail, a spur of the Foothills Trail, starts in SC at the Sloan Bridge Picnic Area and ends in NC where it joins the Bad Creek Trail in the Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area. From there the trail eventually joins the Chattooga Trail and continues to Burrell’s Ford. The trail weaves along the northern flanks of Fork Mountain through numerous coves and ravines. At the junction with Bad Creek Trail you can return, or extend your hike 1.3 miles to historic Ellicott Rock.


Oconee Bells Nature Trail

This easy, 1-mile loop within Devils Fork State Park gets its name from a rare wildflower that has gorgeous white blooms in the early spring. Many native plant species are identified with markers along the trail. The trailhead is behind the bark office and has an informative kiosk at the beginning of the trail.


Oconee Station State Historic Site

Built around 1792 during tensions between white settlers and Creek Indians, the Oconee Station itself was once one in a string of small frontier posts garnished by state militia. It was the last of its kind when it was decommissioned and the troops left in 1799. Its 20-inch stone walls are still standing today. Also on the site is the William Richards House built in 1805. It served as a private residence for 150 years. Site features picnicking, fishing and trail access to Station Cove Falls.


Palmetto Trail – Oconee Passage

The Oconee Passage is a moderate to difficult 3.2 mile trail along an old roadbed that pinches into a path along the mountain ridge line. Once the Palmetto Trail is complete, this trail will end in Walhalla, but for now you can start from either Oconee State Park (Mountain Rest) or Oconee Station (Walhalla). The Oconee Passage is steeply uphill from Oconee Station. Mountain bikes are allowed on the Oconee Passage.

Sign up to know what’s going on in our towns!

Before you leave, subscribe to our newsletter with monthly events and happenings in Oconee County, South Carolina.