King Creek Falls

Sumter National Forest, South Carolina, USA

About King Creek Falls

Hiking Distance: 1.6 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2012-10-15
Date last visited: 2012-10-15

Waterfall Latitude: 34.96619
Waterfall Longitude: -83.11105

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

King Creek Falls is a nice 60-70ft waterfall (though I did see someone else say it was 75ft) with a satisfying flow and shape that made it seem like the healthiest waterfall we saw in Sumter National Forest.

That said, we really wished that we had brought a tripod because of the waterfall’s satisfying character, but we ended up having to hold our breaths when taking such long exposure photos.

King_Creek_Falls_023_20121015 - King Creek Falls
King Creek Falls

It turned out that we stumbled upon a couple of ways to reach this waterfall, but none of them were obvious from the trailhead as there was an absence of signs telling you where to go during our October 2012 visit.

We suspect that during our haphazard meander in search of King Creek Falls, we wound up starting off with a longer path and then came back to the trailhead (accidentally) via a shorter and more direct path.

So we’ll describe how we did this excursion, which describes both approaches in one shot as if it was a loop hike.

Hiking to King Creek Falls via the longer route

From the trailhead off the unpaved Burrells Ford Rd (see directions below), we went behind a gate and walked what looked like a former road (logging road?).

King_Creek_Falls_005_20121015 - Walking on the wide road past the gate in search of the King Creek Falls
Walking on the wide road past the gate in search of the King Creek Falls

It led towards a clearing area with a couple of trail junctions and an info board saying something about camping.

This was probably about a half-mile or so down from the trailhead parking area.

Continuing on towards the Chattooga River, we happened to see a signposted trail junction for King Creek Falls.

So we followed this trail alongside King Creek for a short distance before crossing over a bridge and keeping left at the fork to continue going upstream alongside King Creek.

Note that the right fork was for the Foothills Trail, which we didn’t do.

King_Creek_Falls_011_20121015 - Julie trying to figure out what the best viewing spot for King Creek Falls would be considering the obstacles before us
Julie trying to figure out what the best viewing spot for King Creek Falls would be considering the obstacles before us

After another 0.2 miles of walking along a ledge full of fallen leaves and some mild exposure to the creek below, we reached the cool and mostly shaded King Creek Falls.

Getting a good view of the falls without drenching our hiking boots involved precariously hopping slippery rocks and wet logs.

We didn’t keep going to the mini-beach on the opposite side of the stream as we were pretty happy with the frontal views from the middle of the stream.

As we said earlier, we did have to get onto some obstacles in the stream itself for better views.

Returning from King Creek Falls via the direct route

King_Creek_Falls_017_20121015 - Last look at King Creek Falls before heading back up to the trailhead
Last look at King Creek Falls before heading back up to the trailhead

Upon returning from the King Creek Falls, after crossing back over the footbridge over King Creek, we inadvertently went straight instead of going left.

Therefore, instead of following King Creek back to the trail connecting with the Chattooga River, we wound up on an uphill trail.

This trail ended up taking us back to the trailhead parking in about 0.5 miles.

Since it didn’t take us as long to return to the trailhead, I have to believe that this was a shorter and more direct path that we could have taken at the outset to save us some time and effort.

In any case, in the vicinity of King Creek Falls was also Spoonauger Falls, but given our error when we started the hike, we weren’t about to go back down the gated road to find this 40ft falls and then backtrack up to the trailhead again.


King Creek Falls resides in the Sumter National Forest near Walhalla, South Carolina. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

King_Creek_Falls_006_20121015 - After hiking on the wide unpaved road beyond the gate, we eventually found the signposted spur leaving the trail that led to the Chattooga River
King_Creek_Falls_007_20121015 - Julie approaching a bridge over King Creek
King_Creek_Falls_009_20121015 - The King Creek Falls Trail narrowered between the footbridge and the falls itself
King_Creek_Falls_010_20121015 - Last little hump that we had to traverse before the final descent to the plunge pool and cove in front of King Creek Falls
King_Creek_Falls_018_20121015 - Direct look at the impressive King Creek Falls

To get to King Creek Falls from Walhalla, take the SC28 for over 8 miles before bearing right onto SC107.

From there, take this highway for another 10 miles or so looking out for Burrells Ford Rd on the left.

Turn left onto Burrells Ford Rd, which is unpaved, and follow it for another 2.3 miles to short turnoff for a fairly large trailhead parking area.

King_Creek_Falls_002_20121015 - The trailhead parking for King Creek Falls right at a gate that prevented any further vehicular progress on the wide unpaved road
The trailhead parking for King Creek Falls right at a gate that prevented any further vehicular progress on the wide unpaved road

We happened to come here from Yellow Branch Falls, and it took us roughly 25 minutes to make this drive.

I’d imagine it’s roughly 30 minutes or so to get from Walhalla to the trailhead.

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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Bottom up sweep of the falls

Bottom up sweep of the falls, but this one also shows some of the downstream scene

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Tagged with: sumter, national forest, long creek, walhalla, salem, tamasse, south carolina, greenville, waterfall, upcountry, chattooga river, spoonauger falls

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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