The Upstate is home to dozens of waterfalls. And I’ve made it my goal to try to see them all – especially those that aren’t as popular. Station Cove Falls in Sumter National Forest near Walhalla was a waterfall that was on my list for awhile. As a fairly easy, level, and short hike to this tiered 60 foot waterfall, it’s quickly become one of my favorites in the area.
Another bonus of this hike is that about 60% of the trail is along the Oconee Passage of the Palmetto Trail. This passage starts in Oconee State Park and ends at Oconee Station State Historical Site (though you can hike it either way).
So if it’s a goal of yours to hike passages of this trail, be sure you take the spur trail to Station Cove Falls.
Watch the video below for some footage I took from this hike!
Station Cove Falls Trail
The trailhead parking area located just past the Oconee Station State Historic Site entrance is very small. Think like 5ish cars (and that’s if they parked close). While I was able to find a spot on an early spring morning, I’ve heard it can fill up fast.
An alternative would be to park by the picnic area in the Oconee Station State Historic Site and take the nature trail to the trailhead (it’ll pop you out across the road from it). See the map at the bottom of this article.
The trail itself is very easy and flat. There are no significant climbs or descents. You’ll cross over a few small foot bridges. When the trail splits after a little over a half mile, you can’t miss it. The Palmetto Trail continues to the right, while the Station Cove Falls Trail continues to the left.
Want a harder hike? Consider starting your hike in Oconee State Park and hiking down the Palmetto Trail to the waterfall. This will involve a lot more hiking and elevation. Check out the Oconee Passage for more information.
Along the way you’ll cross by a beaver enhanced wetland and, in the spring & summer, pass by countless wildflowers (trillium, mayapple, pink lady’s slipper orchids, bloodroot, and redbud).
But please support conservation efforts and don’t pick the wildflowers!
After the intersection with the Palmetto Trail, you’ll hike another quarter mile or so before you arrive at Station Cove Falls.
Be sure to stop and stay awhile. Maybe even dip your toes into the pool at the base of this tiered 60 foot waterfall is breathtaking. (Always be careful if it’s rained recently and the water is up.)
60 foot or 80 foot? I’m not sure of the actual height of this waterfall as I see both 60ft & 80ft mentioned by official sources (like the Forest Service & SC department of parks).
And keep your eyes peeled. The steep sided ravine around the falls is teeming with biodiversity. More than 250 species of plants can be found here (including 14 rare ones). The spray from the waterfall also creates a habitat for amphibians, insects, and more.
After relaxing and taking it all in, head back the way you came!