Hikers Peril is an unusual name for a waterfall, especially a small waterfall, but the Foothills Trail used to cross in the middle of the cascade making footing tricky and a tumble unpleasant. But the trail has been re-routed to the bottom of the falls where it can be viewed from a footbridge. The only peril now is not being able to get the entire height of the falls into your photo. Guides significantly underestimate the height of this cascade – it stands in excess of 50 feet.
Guides will also tell you this is not a destination waterfall, this is not true. It is well worth the 0.6 mile hike and you get the added treat of having 5 good waterfalls as you hike the Foothills Trail alongside the East Fork of the Chattooga River.
This waterfall is one of the “deepest” in South Carolina since you are just short of the NC state line. To get there, take SC 28 north from Walhalla to the intersection with SC 107 then follow 107 for 14.1 miles. You’ll pass SC 413, Wigington Road which will take you over to Lower Whitewater Falls, on your right and within 100 yards on your left, you’ll see the parking area.
The Foothills Trail departs the left side of the parking lot and quickly snuggles up alongside the river. Starting about 0.3 miles, you’ll begin to see significant cascades, both named and unnamed on the river. Some are viewable from the trail but the major falls on the route, Sloan Bridge Falls, requires a scramble down to water level.
After passing these 5 waterfalls, the trail ducks into a little cove where an unnamed stream is flowing. You’ll hear Hikers Peril very distinctly and you’ll realize this is not as small a waterfall and you may have been led to believe.
The trail drops down to a wooden footbridge that serves as your photo point. Given its height, you can’t get the entire waterfall in your shot and there are no other camera angles other than straight on. More than 50 feet above, the creek comes off a small plunge at the very top and begins a meandering route down multiple tiers until it takes another plunge (about 4 feet) almost at the bottom.
Hikers Peril is a little gem, well worth the short hike. Don’t miss it.