Have you heard about the Beech Bottom Falls trail? KAG contributor Liene explores another one of the Upstate’s waterfalls, Beech Bottom Falls, also known as Pinnacle Falls! An adventurous trail will take your family across a footbridge straight out of a fairytale, to a viewing platform overlooking a beautiful waterfall. This is a perfect hike to combine with a day trip up to Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina!
Looking for more waterfall hikes? Check out this list: Waterfalls of the Southeast.
Parking and Locating the Trailhead for Beech Bottom Falls
Not only has the SC DNR rerouted the trail to Pinnacle Falls, but they’ve also renamed the waterfall Beech Bottom Falls! An improved parking lot awaits hikers on F Van Clayton Memorial Highway, located 1.5 miles north from the intersection of 178 (Moorefield Memorial Highway) and F Van Clayton in Rocky Bottom, SC. The Chimneytop Gap trailhead also offers access to the Foothills Trail; it is 2.1 miles east to Sassafras Mountain and 2.1 miles to Laurel Valley.
The Beech Bottom Falls Trail
The Beech Bottom Trail heads west on the old roadbed 400 ft north from the parking lot; if you miss the little shortcut trail, you just go north to the gravel road with the red gate and head west. The hike to the viewing platform on Beech Bottom Falls Trail 1.7 miles roundtrip, with about 300ft elevation gain.
After ½ mile, the old roadbed crosses Abner Creek. Hikers traverse a beautiful new footbridge, then immediately turn left onto another old roadbed – follow the signs to Beech Bottom Falls. You’ll recross Abner Creek on a second footbridge (a twin to the first), then start descending to the observation deck.
The view of the falls has been mostly cleared of trees, though in the winter you’ll have a slightly better view of the waterfall and creek. The view north across the mountains is also a testament to the destruction caused by the hemlock wooly adelgid; the tops of towering snags are eye level with the platform, with only a few hemlocks remaining to testify to their past dominance of the forest canopy.
From your perch on the southern cliffs of Abner Creek you can see a second observation deck, lower on the cliff; it is accessed from Pinnacle Falls Trail / Moorefield Memorial Highway; do not leave the trail or platform in this area, it is dangerous as well as damaging to sensitive plant communities. The trail can be slippery in wet weather, and a narrow trail with steep drop-offs could possibly be difficult to navigate for pets and young children.
A third route to Beech Bottom Falls (a.k.a. Pinnacle Falls) has been decommissioned by the SC DNR. This route is overgrown with brambles, blocked by downed trees, and features switchbacks dropping almost 300 feet in elevation to the base of the waterfall – it is not suggested for families with small children.
More Things to Do Near Beech Bottom Falls Trail
From the Chimneytop Gap area to the Sassafras Mountain parking lot it is 3.2 miles and definitely worth the drive. The visitor center/observation deck at the summit features 360˚ views from the highest point in South Carolina!
The Foothills Trail also utilizes Chimneytop Gap, and provides access to the Roundtop Mountain Passage of the Palmetto Trail and the Carolina Hemlock Loop Trail.
Horse Pasture Road is a nearby access point to the Jocassee Gorges and Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area, which feature attractions such as Jumping Off Rock overlook, and Eastatoe Creek and Laurel Fork Heritage Preserves.
Plan your trip to Beech Bottom Falls
Explore Beech Bottom Falls | AllTrails
F Van Clayton Memorial Highway
Sunset, SC 29685
This post originally appeared on the blog Femme au Foyer. Femme au foyer: Beech Bottom Falls (aka Pinnacle Falls)