reedy river falls in greenville, sc

Are you looking to find the best waterfalls near Greenville, SC? Ones that you can reach in 2 hours or less? Then you’re in luck! I’ve put together this list of my favorite local waterfalls. And I’ve got all the details like location, if there’s hiking required (and how much), and, depending on the waterfall, a link to a full guide.

Now I am a bit of a waterfall hunter. I love waterfalls. If I’m on a trip somewhere and and there’s a waterfall nearby, you can bet I’m going to see it. But the truth is I don’t need to go far to get my waterfall fix. There are dozens of waterfalls near Greenville.

But why are there so many waterfalls? Well you can thank the Blue Ridge Escarpment (basically where the Blue Ridge Mountains stop and drop 2,000ft to the rolling foothills below – think like the landscape at Caesar’s Head State Park). And this escarpment has the highest concentration of waterfalls in the Eastern United States.

Chasing waterfalls is one of the best outdoor activities in the area. However outdoor activities (and Greenville in general) has grown significantly in popularity recently. More and more people are hitting the trails these days.

If you are headed to a popular waterfall, expect crowded trails and parking lots to fill up by 9am on weekends year round.

Due to the sheer number of waterfalls here, I’ve linked the waterfall’s name to a longer guide if I have one. Sometimes this will link to a trail guide for the hike to the waterfall or a guide for the park it’s located in. And as I visit more waterfalls near Greenville, I’ll be adding them to this list!

Also many waterfalls have the same name, so if you see “duplicated” waterfalls here just know they are actually different waterfalls. (Looking at you Rainbow Falls.)

Read Next: The Best Places to Go Hiking Near Greenville, SC

Less Than 30 Minutes From Greenville

Reedy River Falls

reedy river falls in greenville, sc

Hiking Required: None.

Height: 32ft

Description: Located in downtown, the Reedy River Falls is the heart of Greenville. Stroll the Liberty Bridge, sit beside the rocks at its base, or have a picnic in the park. There is no bad way to view Greenville’s waterfall.
Fee: There is no fee to enter Falls Park.


Rock Quarry Falls

(Picture Coming Soon!)

Hiking Required: None.

Height: 10ft

Description: This small waterfall is located in a small park next to the Swamp Rabbit Trail downtown. The garden is a gorgeous, quiet spot and is often used by photographers for portraits, weddings, etc.
Fee: There is no fee.


30 Minutes to 1 Hour From Greenville

Cedar Shoals

cedar falls park

Location: Cedar Falls Park

Hiking Required: Second lot = none. Main lot = 0.6 miles with less than 100ft of elevation gain.

Height: 12ft

Description: There used to be several dams in operation at what is now Cedar Falls Park. Now you can view the waterfalls left behind in their wake. Be sure to walk the path next to the water for a closer look. (Though be aware that wading is not recommended due to bacteria levels).
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: There are two lots at Cedar Falls Park. The first one near the playground, pavilion, and bathrooms is the main lot for the park. But if you continue south along the road, there is a small lot right near the Cedar Shoals.


Wildcat Wayside Waterfalls

lower branch falls wildcat wayside

Location: Along Highway 11

Hiking Required: 1 mile with 150ft of elevation gain

Height: 3 waterfalls ranging from 10-100ft

Description: This easy roadside pull-out along Highway 11 has 3 waterfalls along an easy 1 mile loop trail. The lower waterfall can be seen right from the road and is perfect for swimming on calm summer days. Continue up the trail to see the rest of the lower falls and the Wildcat Branch Upper Falls.
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: The parking here can get very crowded on the weekends in the summer.


Falls Creek Waterfall

falls creek waterfall

Hiking Required: 2.4 miles with 900ft of elevation gain

Height: 125ft

Description: This multiple tiered waterfall in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area is one of the prettiest waterfalls in the area. It’s about 1.2 miles down the Falls Creek Trail but with a fair amount of elevation gain. It’s definitely going to get your heart pumping!
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: The parking here is very limited (only a handful of cars can fit). Plan to hike this during the week or very early morning on the weekends.


Rainbow Falls

rainbow falls in jones gap state park

Hiking Required: 4.4 miles with 1,300ft of elevation gain

Height: 125ft

Description: Rainbow Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the region and is definitely a must-see if you’re up for the steep hike. Make sure you’re prepared for the serious climb to the waterfall.
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: Parking is very limited at Jones Gap State Park. An additional parking reservation may be required. See the park’s website for more details.


Jones Gap Falls

jones gap waterfall

Hiking Required: 3.5 miles with ~500ft of elevation gain

Height: 50ft

Description: This staircase waterfall is the smaller of the two waterfalls in Jones Gap State Park, but it’s also the one with the easier hike. The elevation gain is very gradual here, but it is very rocky so be sure to watch your footing.
Fee: There is a fee to enter Jones Gap State Park.
Parking: Parking is very limited at Jones Gap State Park. An additional parking reservation may be required. See the park’s website for more details.


Raven Cliff Falls

raven cliff falls

Hiking Required: 4 miles with ~700ft of elevation gain

Height: 420ft

Description: Raven Cliff Falls is the tallest waterfall in South Carolina. This moderately difficult hike will take you to a viewing platform where you can see the waterfall from a distance. If you want to get closer, consider the Dismal Trail. However this is a very strenuous trail and should only be attempted by experienced hikers.
Fee: There is a fee to enter Caesar’s Head State Park.
Parking: The Trailhead for the Raven Cliff Falls Trail is located about a 1.2 miles past the visitor center. The parking lot for the trail is on the small side so avoid peak times during the weekends.


1 Hour to 1.5 Hours From Greenville

Lake Jocassee Waterfalls

wright creek falls

Hiking Required: None.

Height: Various

Description: So you’ll need some kind of water vessel (boat, canoe, kayak, paddle board, etc.). But Lake Jocassee has numerous waterfalls that pour into its waters. Some are close-ish to the landing, but others are farther away (as in you’ll want a boat more than a kayak).
Fee: There is a fee to enter Devils Fork State Park (where you’ll launch your water vessel).
Parking: Devils Fork State Park is super popular in the summer. You’ll need to get there very early on the weekends.


Hooker Falls

Dupont State Forest: Hooker Falls

Hiking Required: 1 mile with 175ft of elevation gain.

Height: 11ft

Description: This easy gravel trail will lead you down to this beautiful waterfall. And if the weather’s warm, you may even be able to swim in the waters below the falls.
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: Hooker Falls is very popular during the summer. Be sure to get there early to snag a spot as parking along the road may not be allowed.


Triple Falls

Dupont State Forest: Triple Falls

Hiking Required: 1 mile with 250ft of elevation gain.

Height: 3 waterfalls dropping combined 120ft

Description: You can easily combine this waterfall with Hooker Falls above (and High Falls below). There is a steep climb up from the Hooker Falls parking lot, but it doesn’t last long. And you can take the stairs down to the waterfall after you pass the overlook.
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: The Hooker Falls Parking Lot is very popular during the summer. Be sure to get there early to snag a spot as parking along the road may not be allowed.


High Falls

Dupont State Forest: High Falls

Hiking Required: 1 mile roundtrip with ~250ft of elevation gain

Height: 150ft

Description: This is a short 1/2 mile hike down to the base of High Falls from the Visitor Center. Or if you’re coming from the other direction, it’s less than a mile past Triple Falls to the base of High Falls. The overlook is on the trail leading uphill to the Visitor Center.
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: You can park at the Hooker Falls Parking Lot (if combining this with Hooker and Triple Falls). Or you can park at the High Falls Access Parking Lot (at the main Visitor Center) which is a lot closer to this waterfall. Regardless, both lots are very popular during the summer. Be sure to get there early to snag a spot as parking along the road may not be allowed.


Grassy Creek Falls

(Picture Coming Soon!)

Hiking Required: 2.8 miles with 350ft of elevation gain

Height: unknown

Description: This less visited waterfall consists of a cascade tumbling down a shallow slab of rock. It would be easy to combine this with High Falls. Plus you’ll go over the covered bridge at the top of High Falls.
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: The High Falls Access Parking Lot is very popular during the summer. Be sure to get there early to snag a spot as parking along the road may not be allowed.


Bridal Veil Falls

upper portion of bridal veil falls

Location: Dupont State Forest (High Falls / Visitor Center Access OR Fawn Lake Access Area)

Hiking Required: ~4.75 miles with 375-600ft of elevation gain

Height: unknown

Description: This smaller waterfall was actually featured in the movie The Last of the Mohicans. The waterfall is broken into two sections with the upper featuring a 4ft tall overhanging ledge and the lower a long shallow incline.
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: The High Falls Access Parking Lot is very popular during the summer. Be sure to get there early to snag a spot as parking along the road may not be allowed. The Fawn Lake Access is smaller and may still be crowded during peak times as well.


Upper Whitewater Falls

Upper whitewater falls

Hiking Required: 0.6 miles with ~128ft of elevation gain

Height: 411ft

Description: Whitewater Falls is the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies. The observation deck for the upper half of the waterfall is easily accessible via a short walk on a paved walkway and wooden staircase.
Fee: There is $3 fee. You’ll need exact change.


Lower Whitewater Falls

lower whitewater falls

Hiking Required: 4.6 miles with ~900ft of elevation gain

Height: 400ft

Description: Whitewater Falls is the tallest waterfall east of the Rockies. To see the lower half of the waterfall, you’ll need to do a bit of a hike to an observation deck. (You will not be close to the waterfall.)
Fee: There is no fee.


Hickory Nut Falls

hickory nut falls in chimney rock state park

Hiking Required: 1.5miles with ~300ft of elevation gain

Height: 404ft

Description: This waterfall doesn’t get as much love as the rest of the park, but it’s a nice addition to your day at Chimney Rock. The hike is fairly level and a beautiful waterfall awaits you at the end. (It was also featured in the movie the Last of the Mohicans!)
Fee: There is a fee to enter Chimney State Park.
Parking: You’ll want to park at the top of the park (near Chimney Rock) and just walk down the road a little to the Hickory Nut Falls Trailhead.


Looking Glass Falls

looking glass falls in pisgah national forest

Hiking Required: None.

Height: 60ft

Description: This popular waterfall located right along US 276 is easily accessible from the road and doesn’t require any hiking. Though there are stairs that will take you down closer to the waterfall.
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: Leading up to the waterfall there is a long stretch of parking alongside the road. However there isn’t much parking after the waterfall. On weekends if you see a spot as you get close, be sure to grab it. There is not a great place to turn around once you drive past the waterfall.


Moore Cove Falls

moore cove falls in pisgah national forest

Hiking Required: 1.2 miles with 150ft of elevation gain.

Height: 50ft

Description: The hike to this waterfall is very easy and many wear their swimming suits so they can stand near the waterfall. But the best part of the waterfall is the ability to walk behind it and go under the overhang. If there hasn’t been much rain though, this waterfall may be very small.
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: There is limited parking alongside the road near the trailhead so it can fill up fast on the weekends.


Sliding Rock

(Picture Coming Soon!)

Hiking Required: None.

Height: 60ft

Description: This popular waterfall’s main attraction is that you can slide down it! Yep that’s right. This natural incline allows you to slide down the waterfall’s face ending in an 8ft deep pool. Though that water is very cold!
Fee: There is a $4 fee per person (in 2021).
Parking: This is a very popular attraction in the summer and the small parking lot fills up very fast. Avoid the weekends if you can in the summer.


Rainbow Falls & Turtleback Falls

rainbow falls in gorges state park

Location: Gorges State Park

Hiking Required: 4 miles with ~800ft of elevation gain

Height: 150ft & 25ft

Description: The hike to these two waterfalls may seem easy at first, as its mostly downhill. And you do have a great reward of an incredibly impressive Rainbow Falls. Once you’ve gotten your fill, continue down the trail to Turtleback Falls. When the weather’s warm, people often swim at Turtleback.
Fee: There is no fee.


1.5 to 2 Hours From Greenville

Bridal Veil Falls

bridal veil falls near highlands nc

Hiking Required: None.

Height: 120ft

Description: This small waterfall is super accessible as it’s right off the road. In the past you were able to actually drive behind the waterfall, but you can still walk around it. Plus the path behind it is completely paved.
Fee: There is no fee.


Dry Falls

Dry Falls, Highlands NC

Hiking Required: None. Just a short walk down some stairs

Height: 75ft

Description: This massive waterfall is not just easily accessible, but you can walk behind the waterfall. It is very popular, so avoid the weekends if you want to have it more to yourself.
Fee: There is no fee.
Parking: There is a parking lot, but it is quite small. On a Monday morning I expected it to be empty. But the lot was easily over half full. Plan accordingly.


Glenn Falls

Glenn Falls Trail, Highlands NC
First Cascade at Glenn Falls

Hiking Required: 2 miles with 500ft of elevation gain

Height: 3 cascades ranging from 15-70ft

Description: You’ll need to hike about a mile downhill, but you’ll have 4 viewpoints along the way to see the various cascades of Glenn Falls. Though you’ll need to be prepared to hike back uphill. And it is quite steep.
Fee: There is no fee.

What are your favorite waterfalls near Greenville?

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