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

Starts off easy, then a bit of a challenge and the closer you get to the falls the stairs seems to go straight up making it a strenuous hike. Lots of boulders and tree roots to maneuver over. Lots of smaller falls on your way to the big one.

hiking
6 days ago

If you want an easier hike with a few waterfalls along the way I would definitely suggest doing this trail. Also take a swim in the water if it’s not winter!

on High Shoals Falls

12 days ago

One of the best trails along a mountain stream that I have ever taken. Very scenic and many educational stops along the way. It’s worth the hike to see the waterfall at the top.

Good hike with kids. It was tiring on the way back.

I did this trail on Labor Day, which the Park itself was super busy. This particular trail wasn’t busy at all. The hike was challenging but enjoyable. The waterfall never disappoints. Some areas are more congested than others but the trail is wide enough to pass people. The roughest portions of the trail is at the beginning so keep pushing through and it’s all down hill after that.

There were some beautiful parts of the hike, such as the waterfall and the creek. However I was disappointed that there wasn’t as much of a scenic view. It was a strenuous hike and had some steep areas that made it nice and challenging. Overall, I don’t think I would do the hike again but if you’re looking for a strenuous hike filled with steep hills and a waterfall this would be your go to trail.

so pretty! quite a few stairs and a lot of rocks/boulders, but it was very pretty and worth it. I am a beginner and not in very good shape, and I was able to do it. Will be going back!

hiking
1 month ago

Very peaceful and I didn’t see anybody the entire time I was on the trail. It has a nice summit about half way through that gives you a nice bench with a view and a nice breeze to cool off.

The trail is narrow in most parts. Make sure to bring plenty of water.

Great trail, beautiful waterfall, stairs were a little tough, only downside really was the amount of people—a LOT

hiking
2 months ago

10/10 would hike again.

One of our favorite hikes. It starts out from the paved parking area and moves right before the main bridge over the river. The path begins super easy as a flat path with fine, loose aggregate along the river with tons of paths to the water as well as a few slightly hidden viewing decks over the water (we saw a beautiful doe and fawn in the river from one of these overlooks yesterday). At one point the trail forks - stay left to stick to the river. It starts getting a little more difficult as you progress with rocks, tree roots and stone steps. There’s an area where it might be difficult for some - a rock slide from Hurricane Hugo in the late 80’s brought down slabs of granite and you have to traverse it to continue. Don’t worry! It’s not terrible. Just keep it in mind as it could be slick with the wrong shoes. As you get to the areas where you are getting closer to the falls you’ll cross the river on wooden bridges and almost all steep wooden steps or box steps filled with soil, to the falls and upper falls. Take it slow if you have bad knees because the hike is so worth it at the top. At the top of the falls you can come back the way you came if you want to stick to the river or continue on the loop back to the fork in the trail. The loop portion is all forest and fairly smooth hiking but it is uphill a good bit. The downhill is much appreciated. At one point there’s a natural spring trickling down beside the path. The only water you’ll see along that part. You’ll end back at the fork where you originally stayed left. The treck back to the parking lot is back on the same flat, fine aggregate path along the river. Enjoy this hike and take tons of pictures. It’s beautiful!

beautiful trail would go again

Has a nice visitors center w/ a gift shop. Life size Lincoln logs area. Several picnic areas around the hike. Steep climb but has sturdy steps & structures to get you to the top of the waterfall

Fun hike. The waterfall portion gets a little crowded, but views are amazing. Did not run into anybody on the HQ portion.

Depending on the way you decide to go on the loop from the crossroads go left for a strenuous stair case going up right beside the whole water fall or go right to climb 3/4 foot high natural staircases. it's a good hike bring plenty of water and be prepared to get exhausted. when you reach the top of the falls you are met with a stunning view of the falls.

Very hard hike and the waterfall wasn’t amazing to me. But it was probably just because the time I went.

hiking
3 months ago

My wife and I hiked up Shinny Trail with our 4 month Aussie dog. We started on HQ Trail and looped around to Upper Falls Trail back to HQ. It was about 5 miles and only passed 1 couple. Keep in mind that it’s a mile walk to Shinny trail head from the parking lot. We hung out at the waterfalls and enjoyed the sun. Watch out at the top of Shinny Trail along the ridge. We ran across a timber rattle snake (black). No worries, there not aggressive. We simply just walked around it. That said, hiking up the ridge was tough but the rest of the hike was easy. I’ll be going back to take the longer loop via Horse Ridge to Possum Trail back to Shinny to train for a 10 day hike on the John Muir Trail.

Great trail with difficulty but worth every bit of it. Be prepared with proper shoes and water supply. Had a wonderful day!

Wonderful view and well kept trails

Beautiful waterfall and worth the hike up to see it! Gives your legs a hard workout.

Great hike. Waterfalls are beautiful.

Glorified Crowders Mountain.

Great hike with a few great mountain overlooks. Good elevation challenge in the first few miles and enjoyable length. The loop spans multiple trails in this order: Chesnut Knob, Sawtooth Trail, Upper CCC, Little River Trail, Raven Rock Trail, and River Trail. There were a lot of gnats though.

Park has this listed as strenuous, but found it to be a nice little loop. flat wide level trails, but yes there are 80-90 steps. Wooden steps with handrails and multiple platforms with benches to stop and enjoy the views. take the learning trail along the river for the views and wildlife instead of going straight out the road.

Went this morning a beautiful hike.

Great hike! Good mix of dirt trails, rocks and stairs with the most beautiful waterfalls!

Best trail in the park.

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