On September 24, 1983, Maxie Duke, John Danner, and Sid Ballenger produced nine copies of their waterfall book, Some Waterfalls, Shoals, and Cascades in Oconee County, South Carolina. The books were distributed to the local libraries and schools, the ranger station, and the three of them each kept a copy.
The intent of their book was “to find and photograph all the waterfalls, shoals, and cascades in Oconee County.” The book, which consists of an approximately 68-page photo album with type-written labels under the photos for identification, is still the only book that exists documenting the waterfalls in Oconee County. While there are many hiking guides and resources that offer directions to many of Oconee’s waterfalls, nothing exists to document the lesser known and most beautiful waterfalls in the golden corner of South Carolina.
The idea here is to update Maxie, John, and Sid’s book, with the same intent: to find and document all the waterfalls in Oconee County. I have not necessarily included shoals and cascades; there are simply too many to document. While each person’s opinion may differ on height and other characteristics in calling an area of falling water a waterfall, I have included here what I think the vast majority would agree meets the criteria for being labeled a waterfall.
There are many waterfalls in Oconee County that have no hiking trails or directions available. Some of that is due to the waterfalls being on private property, and some of it is due to the wicked terrain. If you’re going to attempt any waterfall that is not on a designated trail, DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST. Make sure you’re not trampling on anyone’s private property. Make sure you have all the gear you’ll need, from maps to ropes to spikes on your shoes to trekking poles. Make sure you’re not hiking in somebody’s hunting area, so you aren’t mistaken for a deer or a bear or a turkey.
Don’t be the next guy on the news who fell from the top of a waterfall, or got lost in the woods. Many of Oconee County’s waterfalls have decent trails, and even on those, you must be sure to be safe. Wear proper footwear, bring lots of water, all of those things that you have heard repeated, and yet every year somebody loses his life or ends up being the focus of a search and rescue. There is no cell phone signal in the woods, so getting hurt and/or lost and having to wait on rescue is not the way you want your hike to end.
These woods are home to many different plants and animals. Please try not to walk all over the wildflowers and plants, as some of them are rare and unique to Oconee County. You’ll also be sharing these woods with the bears and deer, rabbits and hogs, squirrels and snakes. Educate yourself on what to do and what not to do if you encounter any wild animal on your hikes.
**This is a work in progress, so please be patient with me while I add and update!**
Blessings as you enjoy God’s creation,