Waterfall Wandering and Camping Weekend
Day 1 - Friday, May 17th, 2013
Silver Run Falls, Crane Creek Falls, Miuka Falls
For this weekend, we planned one of our Mancation Camping weekends with some of my buddies from work. In the past we have had pretty good turnouts for these events. However, this time most of the gang had to back out and only Jeff, Eric, and I would be participating.
On the way to the campground, I decided to make a stop at Silver Run Falls. It has been several years since my last visit and at that time I was not aware that there was also an Upper Silver Run Falls which I wanted to check out.
A short and easy trail leads you to the impressive pool at the base of Silver Run Falls
Silver Run Falls
Me at Silver Run Falls
Next up was Upper Silver Run Falls. The trail does not continue on, but the easiest way was to follow a basic switchback up the left side of the waterfall, heading away from the creek and then making my way back towards the creek above the top of Silver Run Falls.
The Upper Falls is not much further upstream and while not as nice as the main attraction it is still definitely worthwhile!
Upper Silver Run Falls
Me at Upper Silver Run Falls
With the first of four pairs of hiking boots totally saturated, I made my way back the way I came, changed into fresh footwear, and drove on down the road to the Cherry Hill Campground in Oconee County, SC.
I was the first to arrive, so I grabbed the smallest of the three sites we reserved and set up my tent.
I didn't feel like waiting around for the others since I had no idea what time they would be arriving, so I decided to go on a hike/bushwhack to visit Crane Creek Falls. This is probably not one I should have done solo, but I did chat with the campground host and told him where I would be heading and when I expected to be back.
The Winding Stairs Trail starts right from the campground and is basically a long series of switchbacks down the mountain side. The trail is covered with Mountain Laurel which was just starting to bloom.
After about a mile, the trail passed by Miuka Falls, which I decided to save for the way back. About another mile further, you can hear Crane Creek to the West. At the end of the next switchback, an obvious side trail takes you to Secret Falls.
Secret Falls was covered with deadfall and the bright sun made for horrible photo conditions that I didn't even bother pulling out my camera. From here it is a total bushwhack upstream to get to the main attraction!
Not the most difficult bushwhack, but definitely not an easy walk in the woods! I would guess it is probably less than a quarter mile upstream from Secret Falls, and it took me about a half hour. There are several other nice looking cascades between Secret Falls and Crane Creek Falls, but I didn't bother with any of them on this trip.
Crane Creek Falls is definitely one of my favorites! Water Levels were nice and high and a few clouds rolled in giving me some pretty good photo conditions! My only regret was that I left my wide angle lens back in the truck. That just gives me an excuse to come back again sometime in the future!
Crane Creek Falls
Me at Crane Creek Falls
After a nice visit to Crane Creek Falls, I made my way back to the Winding Stairs Trail via a route slightly higher up away from the creek. The forest was a little thinner away from the creek making the bushwhack a little easier.
After a good bushwhack, it always feels good to get back onto a real trail! Even though it would be all uphill back to the campground and my second of four pairs of hiking boots were now totally saturated!
I made a quick stop at Miuka Falls, but the water levels were too high to safely make it across the creek to the best photo angle. And I really could have used the wide angle lens for this one!
Jeff and Eric were in the process of setting up there campsites when I returned back to the campground.
The rest of the evening was spent drinking, eating, and enjoying each others company around the campfire.
Starting the Campfire
Steak and Potato
Eric, Jeff, Jack (me)
The complete set of photos from Day 1 is posted here: