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Miuka Falls (Cheohee Falls) and Secret Falls via Winding Stairs Trail

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Sumter National Forest

Miuka Falls (Cheohee Falls) and Secret Falls via Winding Stairs Trail is a 4.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mountain Rest, South Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 4.5 mi Elevation gain 921 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Running Forest Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Blowdown
Description
Waypoints (1)
Contact
Getting There

PLEASE NOTE: off line map is recommended to get oriented as several users have reported that this trail is not well marked and/or that there may be poor cell reception in this area. A 75-foot waterfall tucked away along this moderate trail helps make the Winding Stairs Trail one of the finest beginner trails in northwest South Carolina. If you start at the northern trailhead at the Cherry Hill Recreation Area, this meandering, out and back path is an easy hike. Accessing Secret Falls (located on Crane Creek, however, is not as easy. The incline is difficult to transverse more so due to the mud and wet leaves. If you are prepared for a strenuous climb back to the trail, getting down and into the water is well worth the side trip. The waterfall is gorgeous. Standing beside the river itself, you are able to glance up and see a good portion of the falls without any obstruction, even when summer brings masses of foliage. The hike out is 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.

South Carolina Department of Parks and Tourism, 1205 Pendleton Street, suite 248 , Columbia, SC, 29201, Phone: 803-734-0122

Directions from Walhalla: To the northern trailhead: drive west on SC 28 for 7.5 miles and bear right onto SC 107. Drive 8.8 miles to Cherry Hill Recreation Area on the right. The trailhead is on the right (east) side of the highway, just south of the entrance to the recreation area.To the southern trailhead: drive west on SC 28 for 7.5 miles and bear right onto SC 107. Drive 5.8 miles and turn right onto Tamassee Road (FS 710). Drive 2.5 miles to a small parking area and trailhead on the left, just prior to a bridge crossing Townes Creek

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Reviews (44)
Photos (104)
Recordings (43)
Completed (133)
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Sammi Jo Franklin
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HikingBlowdownBugsOver grown

Not impressed, we were camping at Cherry Hill Campground (trail head inside campground) had kids ( 4, 9, 10) so we wanted a waterfall hike and since these 2, Cheohee and Secret, were within walking distance. We started what we thought was a couple mile hike to a waterfall and possibly another mile per pamphlet given ( no service for app :( ) we couldn’t actually get to the waterfall, either one of them.. we tried the first one but trail to steep for little ones and from what we were told you couldn’t get to fall. Second one you could barely see through foliage. Will say it was a very pretty hike. But trail needs some work and payout not there. Also needs some updated markers, felt like the trails weren’t clearly marked, took a few wrong turns. Will definitely not be hiking again.

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Joseph Johanesse
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Hiking

Nice hike, first falls - Muika Falls have to climb down to but fairly easy climb, 2nd falls - Secret Falls step climb down and can't see the falls very well. I tried to get closer and really not much better after climbed over slippery rocks and through heavy brush. I'd recommend doing the first falls and skipping the 2nd as not much reward for the extra couple of miles. I'd give 5 stars for 1st falls but because 2nd was iffy gets 4 stars

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Jasmine Chen
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HikingScramble

Combine big bend falls trail in this hike too

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James Catalfamo
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Hiking

i got some wonderful pic's but over the 8mb limit so u got to hike yourself well worth it

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Erin Distler
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There were two big down trees that you need to go straight down a little hill to avoid. The falls are both gorgeous and flowing strong after some heavy rains. Both falls would be hard to see in the summer or spring as the trees with full coverage would block the view. This was a perfect hike for the winter, done on Christmas Eve!

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Tina M
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HikingBlowdownBugsOver grown

Miuka Falls was spectacular!! Following the winding stairs trail a little over a mile further to Secret Falls was not worth the view or effort.

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Bill Petree
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HikingBlowdown

01/07/19. The trail itself was easy to walk on; however there were quite a few areas that trees had fallen over the trail. Most were small pines that were easy to walk over; however, there some big trees that we had to climb over or crawl under in order to proceed on the trail. One switchback was completely blocked but we were able to cut through the forest to avoid the blockage and resume the trail. Accessing the waterfall (located on Crane Creek) is not easy. Had it been a separate trail, I would rate it as HARD. The 50-60° incline was very difficult to transverse more so due to the mud and wet leaves. If you are prepared for a strenuous climb back to the trail, getting down and into the water is well worth the side trip. We walked trail as an in-and-out so total hike was 7.1 miles and took about 5 hours, including breaks. Signage at the trailheads clearly state the trail is 3.5 miles one way. Note: The campgrounds at the Cherry Hill Recreation Area are closed until 04/01/2019 and the gates closed/locked. Parking and the trailhead is accessible. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/scnfs/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=47163&actid=50

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Sean Hogan
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Hiking

This is actually a pretty under-rated trail. Its easy to get to, has a wide and gradual path, the Miuka Falls are very easy to access and admire, the switch backs are very forgiving offer great views and the Secret Falls are off the path if you want to explore. I hike this using the Secret Falls guide, but honestly whoever recorded that trail looks lost. The record line goes all over the place. These were some spectacular falls and I plan on returning in the spring! However, I believe this title is currently mislabeled and its an understandable mistake. The falls are "Miuka Falls" (but also called Cheohee Falls, not Cherry Falls) & Secret Falls. I believe that its a simple mispronunciation that has this titled as Cherry not Cheohee, because the falls feed Lake Cheohee. I put in for a edit request. Quick Video of the Falls: https://youtu.be/9xiyI2N1fcA

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Sebastian Veneziano
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Hiking

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.

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Mandy Kuntz
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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.

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John Gorman
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Hiking

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.

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Jimmy Bennett
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Running

Beautiful!!!

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Robert Stephens
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Hiking

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.

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Shane Gibbs
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Hiking

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.

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Ryan Watkins
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Hiking

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.

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Missy Cox
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Hiking

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.

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David Neale
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Hiking

Awesome

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Desiree Duncan
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Hiking

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!

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Jimmy Kelly
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Hiking

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.

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

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Brooks Dixon
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Hiking
First to Review

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

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Stephanie Pierce
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Hiking
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Darrin Jamerson
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Hiking
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Rondi Frisch
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Hiking
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Brian Matzen
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Hiking
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Jeff Richards
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Hiking
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