Hike To Opossum Creek Falls
When you're headed somewhere and a sign just pulls you in.
Have you even been riding, see a sign, and you just couldn’t not stop? Happened to me on Sunday. I was up outside the community of Long Creek, South Carolina. I just finished a 2.9 mile hike to Sid’s Falls in the Sumter National Forest and decided I’d head over to Long Creek Falls to find another waterfall. I’m 2.5 miles down a gravel road on my way to the Long Creek trailhead, and there it is. A sign for Opossum Creek Falls. No way I could not stop.
Grabbed a spot in the parking area on the side of the road and pulled up the Alltrails app on my phone for a quick look. “4.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back.” A bit more than I had planned, but what the heck. It’s called Opossum Creek!
For starters the sign for Opossum Creek Falls Trail is placed directly across from the parking area. There are two trailheads by the sign. Neither are the trails you want. Walk down the road toward the left for about 50 yards. You’ll see two boulders on the side of the road and a trail. That’s the Opossum Creek trailhead.
The trail itself is easy to follow—well worn but narrow in many places. From the onset you will be walking downhill. The trail is mostly shaded by hardwoods, which was welcomed yesterday with temperatures near 80. Soon you’ll find the trail is running the edge of the hill. It’s still plenty wide, but there’s a significant drop off the left side as you head toward the bottom and the Chattooga River.
The last half mile headed to the river is more downhill than the beginning. This is where I started wondering what I had gotten myself into. I mean there is only one way out, and it’s going to be mostly uphill.
As I reached the bottom, I was surprised to find a sandy beach area along the Chattooga River. The river is fairly wide at this point. I decided that I would head onto the falls and enjoy the beach on my way out.
The trail for the falls is off to the left and easy to find. It is 0.3 miles from the beach to the falls. The trail is a bit more narrow in this area but nothing of concern. There are two creek crossings on this stretch—the first one wider and trickier than the second. Plenty of rocks help you navigate across without getting your feet wet, but I’d pack a second pair of socks just in case. You don’t want to hike out of here with wet feet.
Within minutes of the second crossing you will feel the temperature dropping and hear rushing water, letting you know you are close. Next thing you know you are at the base of Opossum Creek Falls. It’s beautiful. It is reported as a 50-foot waterfall. I’m not sure from which points those are measured, but it certainly seems higher. Just when you think you can see the top you move over a bit and see even farther up. I’m guessing the final drop is what they mean by 50 feet.
There are several massive boulders scattered about the base of the falls allowing closer access for the adventurous. While these seem easy to navigate, be mindful that they can be slick. It would be very easy to twist an ankle, break a leg or even worse. Remember, you are 2.5 miles away from a road. Besides, the view from the end of the trail is rewarding in itself. Take some time. Sit, relax and enjoy the sounds of rushing water.
Having soaked up some quiet time I headed back toward the beach. It was 1:00 in the afternoon. I knew I had the chore of walking out of this place ahead of me, so I took some time to relax. The shade tree was a welcome reprieve from the sun directly overhead, the ideal spot to power down a granola bar and hydrated a bit.
Having enjoyed the beach to myself I figured it was time to head back out. Fifteen minutes into the trip out I was huffing and puffing. Was it really this downhill coming in?
The first .75 to 1 mile headed out was a steady climb. I passed a few groups headed toward the falls. I’d step off the narrow path in an attempt to achieve 6 feet of distancing. Pretty difficult in many places. “Is it worth it?” they’d ask. My reply was simple. “It’s a wonderful payoff but quite the chore coming out.”
I wish y’all could have seen the smile on my face when I finally heard a vehicle driving the gravel road. I was home free at that point. I’m not sure if it was because I had done a 3-mile hike before hitting Opossum Creek Falls or if I am just that out of shape, but this one gave me all I wanted coming out. I had recorded my trip on my app at 4.9 miles round trip, with 1 hour and 48 minutes worth of moving time. (Guessing that doesn’t account for the times I was bent over sucking air on the way out)
After mostly restricting myself to Morgan County for the last five weeks, it was great to be on an adventure again. If you’re going to venture out, be mindful that many trails, trailhead access points and parks remain closed. Do your homework before you head out. Get there early. Find something off the beaten path. While I never saw another person while hiking Sid’s Falls, the parking area for Opossum Creek Falls was full, and several cars were parked along the road when I came out.
I encourage you to get outside whenever you can, especially during these times. Stress is all around us. Get away from the TV news. Walk amongst the trees. And when you see that sign that you just can’t not stop at. Stop. Enjoy an adventure.
For north Georgia areas you can find notices of closures on the USDA Forest Service website.
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