Explore the most popular birding trails in Ellicott Rock Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great trail with some good fishing at the end.

We parked a car at the Iron Bridge on Bull Pen Road. We drove further on Bull Pen Road which was asphalt then gravel, past Ammons Campground to the intersection of Horse Cove Road (left/west to Highlands) and Whiteside Cove Road (right/east to Cashiers). Turned right on to Whiteside Cove Road. We drove past Granite City and Summer Chapel. We parked at the 5 car parking area for Chattooga River Trail in the Nantahala Ranger District. The trail started on the right/west side of the parking lot. There is a brown karsanite sign here. The trail was up, level, up, etc to the top of the hill. Initially there were several large trees that were chain sawed. A few years ago there was a large tree over the trail that we walked up and around. This was no longer there. There were many other trees over the trail before and after the large waterfall at the bridge over Norton Mill Creek. Good place for the Forest Service to give a class on proper use of a chain saw. From the north end of this bridge, walk down the rocks, toward Chattooga River. Peer around the corner to see the Narrows. We had lunch and soaked our feet here.
A nicer hike to the Narrows is drive 6.8 miles, from Hwy 107, down Whiteside Cove Road, at Macon/Jackson county line.. Park on left. Walk in one mile. Turn left at Chattooga River Trail. Cross bridge at Norton Mill Creek.
We continued on. We saw Lobelia, Indian Cucumber, Jewel Weed and other flowers. There were also more trees across the trail, including a reroute at a ravine switchback.
Before the sign for the Loop, there was a wet rock climb to a wet rock ledge. The hand line is no longer here. We walked along the wet ledge 10’ or so. Then climbed up the wet rock to the dirt trail. Many people who start from the Iron Bridge stop here and turn around and return to their car.
I do not recommend the Loop Trail. It goes uphill, away from the river and ends at a free no amenities campsite. To return to your car, turn left at road. From here it is a road walk to your car.
I always enjoy the rock shelf overhang. We watched our footing on the wet rock stairs.
We saw no one on the trail. It was the Thursday Hurricane Florence was predicted to make landfall on the Carolina coast. Beautiful day here.

Very overgrown. Lots of Faken trees and muddy. Good fun but takes much longer to navigate than you might expect.

The part along the river is nice, but the poor signage in places and the abundance of downed trees along the trail make it hard to enjoy.

Nice hike! With the recent storms, there are a lot of trees down across the trail. The stretch with Blue Trail markers is not marked very often, and some of it is overgrown so it can be easy to lose the trail. The majority of it is well marked and well-defined. There are some challenging sections. Can be done as a day hike or broken up into 2 days. There are really nice camping sites along the Chatooga River Trail.

5 months ago

Trail is overgrown and not well maintained. Loop trail is hard to identify.

This was my first ever hike. It was beautiful, but not a great hike for a first hike. I recommend for someone who's used to hiking and does it often. It's mostly up hill. Had a great time, but won't try anymore hikes over 4 miles anytime soon.

Definitely worth it and so beautiful.

We hiked this on January 10, 2018 and saw no other hikers. The sign for Bullpen road is missing at 107, look for a road marked 1100. The forest itself is the real payoff on this trail. We had a nice picnic by the river. I couldn’t find Ellicott’s rock. There are a lot of trees down, many from recent storms. The trail is passable but there are a lot of obstacles. It was rainy and cloudy so views were limited.

Did the trail on 12-19-17. I agree with some of the other reviews of the trail that I don't believe it is a "loop" but I could be wrong as we did not go all the way to the bottom. My girlfriend and I were able to get phone coverage and the GPS placed us on the trail up to the last switchback and then the real trail took us away from the trail seen on the alltrails map which led us to turn around and go back as it was getting late in the afternoon. Overall it was a good trail for all experience types, the waterfall a little off the path but accessible enough to get right to it. May do it again to see if the trail actually loops or empties at another point.

Beautiful waterfall at the end. The trail was not long. It is NOT kid friendly!! Just took two 7year olds and a 4 year old and it was too dangerous for them at the end. But if hiking alone this is a really cool hike.

Monday, August 21, 2017

This trail is not in the Ellicott Wilderness. It's about 5 miles or so away from this trail. This is in Sumpter National Forrest.

trail running
Saturday, August 19, 2017


Falls are off a side trail about half away down the switchbacks. Could not find the loop back trail. After going past it at least .25 mile, we turned around and went back the way we came. Nice trail but easy to go too far.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Very good trail. Hiked it the last week of September with very nice weather. The trail had just been maintained so there were very few obstacles to navigate. The trail follows an old road bed, so the grade of the trail is a nice constant up of you start at the bottom.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

The Winding Stairs Trail is a pleasant, mile and a half or two mile trail located in Sumter National Forest culminating with the Miuka Falls waterfall.

Elevation here is not daunting, and the trail is well maintained and clean. My daughter and I made it to the falls without any real issues, though the last bit of downhill to the river itself was actually pretty strenuous and slippery.

The waterfall was gorgeous, but we went over Labor Day weekend and the summer foliage still covered much of the river and the views. Still, standing beside the river itself, we were able to glance up and see a good portion of the falls without any obstruction. No one else was on the trail that morning, but as we drove by later in the day, there were a couple of cars pulled alongside the road at the trailhead. Still, there might have been five or six people in total on the trail the entire day on one of the busiest outdoor weekends of the year.

The hike out was relatively easy thanks to a couple of switchbacks. All-in-all, this trail is a nice addition to a larger day's activities. The waterfall is gorgeous and definitely worth experiencing.

This is NOT a loop. It was a good point to point trail. We did it in the evening starting at the top and going down.

Saturday, April 02, 2016


We hiked this with our 3 year old and 9 month old (carried him on my back). We only made it 2.5 miles and turned around because the sun was going down and it was getting cold quick! But all in all it was a great trail! My kids loved it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A good hike overall. Very easy to follow the trail - some spots break away from the main trail and our group explored them. Came across a pretty cool cliff face that we might not have had we stuck to the main path. Miuka Falls were awesome and our group hung around on the rocks near the falls for a good 20 minutes (very few had been to the region before).

We started at the north entrance of the trail near Cherry Hill Campground and it was easy going on the way out. The way back was a little strenuous on some of our group due to the back and forth uphill nature of the trail, but definitely not too strenuous for beginners. We didn't come across Secret Falls, however, which was a bummer, but still had a great hike overall.

Pretty hike, easy to navigate the trails. Enjoyed by whole family, will do again

Monday, January 30, 2012

A nicely graded trail leading to 2 pretty cool waterfalls. This is a great hike if you're in the foothills and live in the Upstate. Not to far from Clemson or Greenville. The trail is pretty short though, so it's not an all day hike by any means

1 month ago

1 month ago

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Monday, December 26, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Saturday, December 03, 2016

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