First things first. DAR Shoals is named for the Tamassee DAR School just up the road from the shoals. The school and the shoals are within the confines of the Tamassee DAR School Historic District.
From the intersection of SC 11 and SC 183 just outside of Walhalla, take SC 11 north for 6.6 miles to Baumgardner Road on the right. You’ll immediately see a sign indicating entrance into the Historic District. In just under a mile, you’ll encounter a 1 lane bridge. Park on either side before you get to the bridge. This bridge was built in 1921 over Shaws Creek in Aiken, SC. In 1955, it was relocated to its current location. It is the oldest bridge of its type (on-system pony truss) in the state.
Looking down off the bridge, you’ll see the shoals run for a good 100 yards and drop 50 feet in that distance. Immediately at the bridge, you’ll see an obvious manmade structure that had been used to dam the river. Looking at the base of the shoals where the Flat Shoals River makes a hard right turn, you’ll see a 30 foot tall rock bluff. What you can’t see from the bridge is a concrete structure on the river bank at the bottom of the shoals. This may be the outlet for water that, at one time, was taken in at the bridge. The DAR School web site mentions this location was the location of a mill.
The best approach is on the left so cross the bridge and work your way down to the rocks. You can continue down the left side of the shoals but the fact of the matter is that the best photos are going to be from the top of the bluff seen from the bridge. Getting there is a completely different approach.
Back on the road continue on away from the bridge for about 100 yards. You will see a roadway blocked by a metal barricade. Go around the barricade and follow the road bed through an open area and back into some pine trees. You will hear the shoals on your right. You will then come to a fork in the road with the right fork starting downhill.
Take this fork and you will immediately encounter a cut ditch to the right that runs about 30 feet. Walk down to the end of this ditch. It is now a short but steep and difficult bushwhack to the top of the bluff, which is directly in front of you. Remember, the bluff is a rock face so be careful maneuvering on the top of the bluff to get your photo.
(NOTE: Continuing on down this road to the river will take you to DAR Falls.)