The trail within the Eva Russell Chandler Heritage Preserve is short and easy with a big payoff. Although considered a loop, it really has two separate trailheads on Persimmon Ridge Road. Hiking up the road from trailhead to trailhead closes the loop.
A previous article brought the hike in from the “lower” trailhead, alongside Slickum Creek and onto the rock face, deliverying a dramatic effect.
To get to the Preserve, there are 2 ways. First, from the lower end of Persimmon Ridge Road. From the Cleveland, SC post office, continue up Hwy 276 toward Caesar's Head for 3.2 miles. Turn right onto Persimmon Ridge Road (gravel after 0.3 miles) and go 3.2 miles. There you will find a parking area on the left with a sign identifying the area as the Eva Russell Chandler Heritage Preserve.
Second, from the upper end of Persimmon Ridge Road. Follow US 276 further toward Caesar’s head, past Bald Rock for about a half mile. Persimmon Ridge Road comes in on the right and can be easy to miss. Turn right and follow the road 0.7 miles to the parking area for the Preserve.
The Preserve is marked with a large information sign at a barricaded roadway. Hike around the barricade and follow the roadway for about 50 yards to a set of steps on the left. There is actually a small sign on a tree that says “Trail.” Follow the trail up to the remains of an old homestead. You’ll find a double-sided fireplace and chimney along with a set of steps. Given the construction methods seen in the chimney and the age of the trees close to the house, this is not a really old structure.
Passing on, the trail begins to descend out onto a rock face with two spectacular elements. You’re immediately hit with a magnificent view out toward Paris Mountain and downtown Greenville. Then you hear the water sounds and realize Slickum Creek creates a 100 foot waterslide (Slickum Falls) down this rock face. Technically, this water feature is a rare “cataract bog” ecosystem. Care should be taken on the rock face that even the dry areas are steep enough to slide down.
Back at the top of the rock face, the trail cuts over to the creek and turns left to follow the stream into the woods and along a very attractive forest floor out to the road. At the road, turn left and it’s just a short walk up the road to the parking area.
While the waterfall and the view can easily capture your attention, don’t forget to spend some time looking down. This preserve is home to a number of rare plants. Look carefully around the rock face and you may find some cactus enjoying the sunshine.