From Walhalla, take SC 11 north for 13.5 miles to Jocassee Lake Road. Look for the brown signs for the park. It is then about 5 miles to the park.
Once you reach the park, you’ll be at a fork. Left will be camping and picnic areas. Right will be the boat launch and Visitors Center. Turn right and go just past the Visitors Center to the large parking lot on the right. You’ll see a kiosk at the back of the parking lot. This is the trail head.
The trail is a loop of a mile although it seems longer. About 50 feet after the trail head, you’ll see the back side of the loop coming in on your right. This article is written from the standpoint of staying to the left.
There are a number of footbridges on the trail so you don’t have to worry about rock hopping or getting your feet wet. However, there is a good bit of up and down on the trail making it more strenuous than the normal “nature trail” that you encounter. The trail is well-maintained and even has white blazes to keep you from the several side trails you’ll see along the way.
Your first real landmark will be a kiosk with information on the oak and elm canopy in the area. The trail will continue to wander around until it drops down to the swampy backwaters of a small pond. From the pond, the trail follows the stream until the trail makes a hard right at a bench. Just prior to the bench, you’ll find one of the 3 small waterfalls along the trail, a tiered cascade of about 5 feet.
Once you make the turn, you will start uphill and find yourself more winded than you expect. Just after starting the climb, you’ll hear water on your right. This is the 2nd small waterfall, a 3 foot waterslide. It is off the trail and not worth the scramble to get a good photo.
The trail continues to climb until it crosses another footbridge and you are presented with the most picturesque of the 3 waterfalls. Some guides even refer to this as Oconee Bell Falls. It is about 5 or 6 feet in total height. The stream makes a small turn at the top of the rock then fans the water out over the rock face and drops into a nice base pool. It is a pretty little waterslide.
Before you finish the loop, you’ll see a 2nd information kiosk, this one about the Oconee Bells that are growing in profusion along the small stream just behind the kiosk and a split rail fence. The trail is home to the largest accessible population of Oconee Bells in the world. Please be aware how rare this plant is and what a privilege is it to have access to such a treasure in one of our state parks. The Bells usually bloom during the last 2 weeks of March. The park even hosts a BellFest at about this time.