Yellow Branch Falls

Sumter National Forest / Walhalla, South Carolina, USA

Rating: 1.5     Difficulty: 2.5
Yellow Branch Falls


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Yellow Branch Falls seemed to be almost like a virtual twin to Issaqueena Falls as they both possessed similar character and they were also similar in height (I believe this one is said to be 40 or 50ft or so and 75ft wide).

However, we had to earn our visit to this waterfall as it involved a bit of a 3-mile out-and-back hike that took us a little over two hours to do at a leisurely pace (including taking photos). The hike was mostly gentle in terms of elevation gain (I believe there was an overall net loss from the trailhead to the falls), and occupying us during the hike were Fall colors from tall trees surrounding the trail as well as a snake sighting. I believe I counted around 3 or 4 stream crossings (I don't recall if any of them were bridged).

Indeed, hiking to this waterfall was very much like a back-to-Nature experience as it was just us and the tranquil surroundings.

The only thing that disturbed the peace was the presence of loud gunshots echoing and piercing through the tranquility during our hike. We suspect that it was probably due to hunting, but since we're not familiar with the hunting laws in Upcountry South Carolina, we're not sure how commonplace it is to be within earshot of hunting activity on this trail.

Like with Issaqueena Falls, we happend to see this waterfall with pretty low flow, and I'd imagine its best volume comes during the Spring or right after a storm. We had to cross the shallow stream one last time in front of the falls to get the full frontal views you see on this page.

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Another look at Yellow Branch FallsAnother look at Yellow Branch Falls
The car park for the picnic area and trailheadThe car park for the picnic area and trailhead

On the official trail nowOn the official trail now

One of the stream crossingsOne of the stream crossings

On the fairly long trailOn the fairly long trail

Still on the trailStill on the trail. It was somewhere around here that we started to hear gunshots.

Almost right at the fallsAlmost right at the falls. That stream had to be crossed one last time to get better views.

Looking right up towards the top of the fallsLooking right up towards the top of the falls

Julie checks out Yellow Branch FallsJulie checks out Yellow Branch Falls

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Right to left sweep of the falls starting downstream and then ending at the top of the falls all as seen from close to its base

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We happened to come to the trailhead for Yellow Branch Falls from Issaqueena Falls. It was only a few minutes drive from there as we rejoined the SC28, then headed south (back towards Walhalla) for about a mile before turning right onto a short road leading to the car park for the Yellow Branch Picnic Area.

Similarly, if you're coming up from Walhalla (the nearest town to this waterfall), you can follow the same directions as that for Issaqueena Falls (we'll punt you to that page for exact directions). Except instead of driving north some 5.4 miles on SC28, you only have to go about 4.1 miles on it and look for the signposted "Yellow Branch Picnic Area" sign on your left.

For context, Walhalla was 26 miles (over 30-45 minutes drive) northeast of Toccoa, Georgia, 45 miles (an hour drive) west of Greenville, 93 miles (about 2 hours drive) south of Asheville, North Carolina, and 120 miles (about 2 hours drive) northeast of Atlanta, Georgia.

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For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.

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For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.

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