Explore Oconee Station and Hike to Station Cove Falls for a Splash

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Have you hiked to Station Cove Falls from the Oconee Station Falls Historic Site? Kidding Around Contributor, Liene enjoys this hike and historical spot with her family. She’s sharing everything you need to know about this great summertime hike and place to splash around in Oconee, SC.

We’re out every week enjoying the gorgeous blue skies of summer, and although I’m looking forward to the red and orange hillsides of autumn as much as the next person, we’re having plenty of fun exploring the waterfalls of the Upstate, despite the heat! A great hike for mid-to-late summer is the Oconee Station State Historic Site located on 210 acres just off Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway 11; splashing around at the base of Station Cove Falls is a great reward for the 2-mile roundtrip hike. The Park has the historical features covered as well, with the historic structures and interpretive signage of Oconee Station State Park.

Blockhouse and trading post at Oconee Station

History at Oconee Station State Historic Site

Up on a hill in a clearing are the blockhouse and the William Richards home. The blockhouse was built in 1792 as a military post to protect settlers against the Cherokee Indians, and later to protect Indians against settler encroachment; it was the last blockhouse to be decommissioned in the state. In 1805, William Richards built a brick home next door and established a trading post. Currently, tours are temporarily unavailable, but there is a self-interpretation station.

Hiking at Oconee Station State Park

In addition to these historic homes, Oconee Station features several miles of hiking trails. A small pond adds to the allure of Oconee Station, however, it is the hike to Station Cove Falls that often brings us to the historic site, as it’s an easy hike to a gorgeous waterfall. The waterfall is actually on Sumter National Forest, and nearby is another favorite State Park; Station Creek runs down from Oconee State Park, which although only 3 miles away on the Palmetto Trail, is 30 minutes by car as you circumnavigate Station and Oconee Mountains.

Child at Station Cove Falls

For those that would like a shorter hike, there is a small gravel parking lot on Oconee Station Rd about 0.3 miles past the entrance to Oconee Station State Historic Site that fits about 3 cars. This cuts the hike down to about 1.6 miles roundtrip, however, the additional section might be worth it just for the amenities at Oconee Station: restroom facilities, the Park Office, and the Ultimate Outsider official park stamp if you’re participating in the SC State Parks program.

Station Cove Falls

Station Cove Falls is a 60ft cascade, with plenty of room at the base to have a picnic, splash around, photograph the falls, and relax before hiking back to the trailhead. In the spring and early summer there is a good showing of wildflowers including trillium, may apple, pink lady’s slipper orchids, bloodroot, and Jack-in-the-pulpit. Fall brings the annual show of color to the cove hardwoods, while winter provides an unobstructed view of the falls.

Foothills Trail Connector

The trail to the waterfall is well marked. From the parking lot at Oconee Station, head back along the paved road for 100 feet or so and you’ll see the trail descending into the woods. There is a loop that circumnavigates the small pond, however, this option is not clearly marked. Once you make the climb up to Oconee Station Rd. and cross into the woods, you’ll pass by a swampy area before the trail splits; keep to the left for the waterfall, to the right for the hike to Oconee State Park and the Foothills Trail.

Looking for more waterfalls to explore? Don’t miss out guide to Waterfalls of the Southeast with hikes that are perfect for families.

This article originally appeared on Femme au foyer.

Oconee Station State Historic Site
500 Oconee Station Road
Walhalla, SC 29691

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About the Author
Mother of four young boys, Liene is constantly on the move since returning to Greenville in 2012. Whether she’s exploring the state parks and natural areas of the Carolinas or teaming up with other moms to organize activities for the kids, she’s always searching for the next adventure in the Upstate. For everything from hiking, travel, cooking and crafts to multicultural & global education posts, visit her blog, http://FemmeauFoyer2011.blogspot.com.

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