GPS for waterfall: 34.75611, -83.30778
Water source: Shoulder Bone Branch
Height: approximately 55 feet
Sid Ballenger, along with his two friends, Maxie Duke and John Danner, hiked to and published the first known waterfall book of Oconee County waterfalls entitled Some Waterfalls, Shoals, and Cascades of Oconee County, South Carolina. I was able to sit down and talk with Maxie about Sid’s Falls, and how special it was to her. When Sid passed away in 1991, Maxie wanted to honor Sid’s memory by naming a waterfall after him. David Hedden, a Forest Service Ranger, lead Maxie to these unnamed Falls on Shoulder Bone Branch. At that time, access to these falls was from the trail to Opossum Creek Falls.
Maxie filled out the paperwork and had a petition signed to have the waterfall officially named for Sid. She submitted the paperwork to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names in 1993, and was subsequently denied. The Board cited that they would not officially name the waterfall Sid’s Falls, because Sid had no attachment to the land, and the falls had not been known by his name for any period of time.
Despite the fact that the official name was rejected, a sign was made and put up at the falls, declaring it Sid’s Falls. The 1994 tornado that ruined access to the trail from Opossum Creek Falls also swept away the sign. A few years later, Bernie Boyer blazed the trail that exists today as the trail to Sid’s Falls.
In late 2014, I reapplied to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to have the falls officially named Sid’s Falls. I had help from many people in getting the paperwork complete and accurate, and to each one who helped and allowed me to use your name as a reference, I sincerely thank you. In April of 2016, the letter arrived stating that the name Sid’s Falls had been accepted, and this was now to be the official name of this waterfall on Shoulder Bone Branch.
Maxie was thrilled when I was able to share the news with her. She and many others told me what a special person Sid Ballenger was, and how deserving he was of this honor.
Not long after, on an exploratory hike of Opossum Creek and Shoulder Bone Branch, the old sign that Maxie had placed at Sid’s Falls in the early 1990’s was found at the base of Sparkle Falls and returned to her.
Parking: Going west on Highway 76, turn left onto Damascus Church Road. Go right at the intersection at Chattooga Belle Farms, staying on Damascus Church Road. At the stop sign, make a right. Drive for approximately .8 mile, and park in front of the gate to the old logging road. There is a church just ahead on the left, so you know if you’ve reached the church, you’ve gone too far. Parking GPS is 34.74179, -83.29897. This is the same parking and trailhead for Maxie Duke Falls and Sparkle Falls.
Hike: Follow the logging road, through the fields, and then into the woods on the narrow trail. At around 34.75495, -83.30764, the trail makes a right and begins the steep descent down to Sid’s. The hike to Sid’s Falls is roughly 3 miles round trip.