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Misty Falls

Misty Falls.  Taken from the ridge about 80% down the waterfall.
Misty Falls. Taken from the ridge about 80% down the waterfall.
Dan Goodwin

Along with its neighbor, Mashbox Falls, Misty Falls is seldom visited and is even more difficult to approach than Mashbox.

From the Cleveland, SC post office, follow US 276/SC11 until 276 turns right toward Caesar’s Head. After 5.0 miles, in a horseshoe curve, you will find a gravel road, with a stop sign, coming in from the right. Pull in and drive back about 100 yards to a barricade. Park here.

Go around the barricade and hike up the road about 500 feet to where it swings back right. At that point, you can hear the waterfall and, in the winter, you can actually see the top of the falls. Do not attempt any approach here. Rock cliffs make it extremely dangerous.

Looking at the topography, you can see the falls are very high up with a ridge to the right. The approach would be to bushwhack down the ridge to the bottom of the falls. A little further down the road is a large, pointed rock leaning on a tree (see the slideshow). This marks the middle of the ridge and the point you want to enter the woods.

You will be dropping down about 300 vertical feet in 1000 horizontal feet so this is quite steep. Stay in the middle of the ridge. Switchback down the ridge, moving from tree to tree until you’re even with the lower section of the falls. Do not bother going all the way to the bottom, you can’t get a good photo from down there. Also, the steep, wet, muddy terrain close to the stream makes a close approach almost impossible. The best bet is to find a spot about 80% the way down and get as close as you can on the ridge to get a good shot. Down that far, you will get the largest drop, about 15 feet and will be looking up at the multitude of tiers that make up Misty Falls. All a windy day, all these tiers break up the flow to give the falls its name.

Return the way you came and be prepared for a tough climb.

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