Explore Highlands Hikes - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Highlands Hikes Map

Had a fantastic time here. We hiked all the way to the end of the trail seeing all 3 waterfalls. It was Thursday so very few people were on the trail. Had lunch at the top if rainbow falls. It was an amazing view.

Nice trail. Not too strenuous. Tracked it at 6 miles total. There were plenty of children doing this trail with no problem. There are places where I would not have a dog with no leash. The views at the end are well worth the trip.

Our first hike on this trail. The waterfall is beautiful and worth the hike.

Wonderful hike with an incredible reward at the end. Highly recommended!

Ended up doing this trail by accident... but so happy we did! We went around to Little Green summit first and then down to the falls. The trail was definitely easy going for the first 3+ miles. A nice/steep climb to the top and then some AMAZING views. Got a little turned around on the summit thanks to some careless wandering but never got too far off path. The entire 4 hours we were in the area we only saw 4 other groups of people which made the experience even more perfect. Can't wait to come back for a weekend of camping/hiking.

The trail length is around 5 miles total. Pretty hike.

First time hiking out here and enjoyed it a lot. It may have been raining, not too hard but enough to keep us wet but well worth it.

My daughter and I hiked this tail yesterday, beautiful sunny day, 55 degrees! We started at the Bad Creek parking lot and hike to the top of Whitewater Falls and back. It was a nice hike we enjoyed it.
Beautiful falls, well worth the hike!!

Definitely a tough challenge! Worth the experience especially at the top!

It was awesome!! When hiking you will come to a path to your left... I saved that for last. It was Stairway Falls... Beautiful. So I kept going to right ... First Fall was Rainbow... keep going you will come to Turtleback... keep going you will come to Drift Falls!! All worth the hike!!

1 month ago

This place is great with multiple campsites along the way. Take every side route because that’s where most of the waterfalls and balds are. The place is beautiful. There is a bald on salt rock that isn’t labeled on any maps I say and it’s a beautiful view must go to that.

A great hike, especially in the morning! There were a few people on the trail but not many until I was heading back. Right now there is a lot of mud around the falls so wear the right shoes or you may get stuck or slide. There were a few areas that looked like other trail paths but I didn’t explore them. If you use the map from this app it’ll take you in the right direction.

2 months ago

The falls are beautiful and powerful. A nice overlook!

3 months ago

Nice trail with a beautful view. This trail is most definitely NOT a loop, and is longer than the distance given. Just follow the blue blazes (which are spread out) and you'll be fine.

Awesome hike but not 10.6 miles nor a loop. Got lost and ended up doing 14.2 miles.

Moderate to strenuous trail. The Falls made it well worth the trip!! We relaxed on the rocks for well over an hour before heading back out. Crossing the two small streams was fun as well.

Gorgeous trail and stunning falls. I definitely wouldn’t rate this as an easy trail but well worth the effort. I refer to this as a Walmart trail because there were more people on it than in Walmart on Christmas Eve. Disappointed with an abundance of trash and toilet paper along the trail. We visited the two falls above rainbow and they we beautiful as well. I would definitely do this trail again. It’s a great place to bring a picnic and sit on a big ole rock and watch the river go by.

I visited on probably the busiest day ever at Gorges State Park (solar eclipse day...8/21/17). Ironically, with a dawn start and most everyone camped out near the visitor center or picnic area, I only encountered a few people on this popular trail. Because of the festivities, I actually had to extend my hike on the main road to get to and from the trailhead. Rainbow Falls was roaring with recent rain. It was a beautiful sight as the early morning light was just starting to illuminate the area around the large waterfall. Be sure to continue on a short distance further to see Turtleback Falls as well.

The little green Mt. part of this hike is the best

Beautiful falls and a great hike with the dogs!! Great little pool for them to get in and cool down!!

5 months ago

Hiked this from the north side of the mountain and much shorter than the buck Creek entrance. The view and tower were great. Will definitely do again!

The parking lot for this hike is fairly large and I had no trouble finding a spot. Everything is paved including the road to the parking lot and the lot itself. The actual trailhead for this hike is the Grassy Ridge Trailhead that leads to the Rainbow Falls Trail (you'll make a right to follow this trail) about .5-.75 miles in. Soon after you veer right onto Rainbow Falls Trail you will see a sign that says you're leaving Gorges State Park. Up until this sign, the hike (to me) seemed almost like a multi-use, everyday person kind of trail as opposed to a more rugged/deep in the woods feel. Not sure I really cared for that. But after leaving the State Park that changed and eventually the trail became moderately challenging upon approaching the Falls and I actually felt I was in the forest. The trail can be muddy and slick in some areas and someone did get seriously injured this day.

The first Falls is Rainbow Falls. Beautiful!! you can feel the mist from the raging waters.There are a few areas you can closer to the Falls but these "spurs" are slick.

Just up from the Rainbow Falls overlook is a fork in trail. Taking the higher trail will take you another half mile or so to Turtleback Falls (the lower trail takes you closer to Rainbow). While Turtleback is smaller, it's a really neat waterfall. So I def recommend seeing both. Again there are areas to boulder hop towards the Falls a bit but slick spots are still around. I turned back after this point back to the Grassy Ridge Trail, though looks like you could go a little farther.

Only 15 min away is the Sapphire Mountain Brewing Company located within a local golf course. GO! Great wood-fired pizza and local craft beer on tap.

Moderate hike- seemed on short side but I forgot to time. Maybe 3 hours including stopping for lunch? Falls very pretty , but Rainbow Falls most impressive. Lots of folks out on a pretty October Saturday. Didn't know to look for Stairstep Falls. About a mile hike from visitor center is another one, Bearwallow Falls, pretty but partly obscured by brush. You also walk by a nice overlook to see Lakes Keeowee and Jocassee.

has everything: falls, steep hike, cliff walking, wet swampy areas, and lots of leaves. got lost a couple times. this app really helped.

trail running
5 months ago

An awesome spot for a trail run. I did it in the rain yesterday, Some technical parts and some climbing, but a really fun trail!

My gps said it was 6.08 miles to the fire tower, then I came back the same way. I didn't see a loop.
So 12.1 miles round trip.

Have done this trail in the past. Amazing view at the top, but the trail signage is definitely deceptive on the distance now that the trails have been redone.

Looking to hike this again, but one of the shorter options due to a limited schedule. Does anyone have specifics to get to some of the starts on the shorter options? Can't seem to find a trail map for those options

A nice little trail that runs along the Horsepasture River. Mostly a gradual descent on the way to the waterfall, until you are within a quarter mile or so. Have some energy on the way back, since you will be hiking uphill.

Great hike with multiple waterfall views.

Incredible view of the falls without too much work to get there. I highly suggest going to Turtleback falls a little further past the falls.

Pretty hike!

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