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Hiking to the Waterfalls of the Carolinas

Program Number: 14025RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/9/2014 - 11/14/2014; 3/20/2016 - 3/25/2016; 4/24/2016 - 4/29/2016; 5/8/2016 - 5/13/2016; 9/4/2016 - 9/9/2016; 9/18/2016 - 9/23/2016; 10/2/2016 - 10/7/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Pickens, South Carolina
Price starting at: $585.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; None    

Lace up your hiking shoes and experience the scenic surprises of mountain streams and the cascading waterfalls of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Daily hikes of easy to moderate difficulty will lead you to more than 12 waterfalls. Besides enjoying the crisp air and grand scenery, learn about the ecology and culture of upstate South Carolina.


Hike to Upper Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Rockies.
At Caesars Head State Park, hike to a granite outcropping atop the dramatic Blue Ridge escarpment for breathtaking views.
Hear from a local miller and railroad historian, a representative from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and a very talented local musician.

Activity Particulars

Hiking 3-5 miles daily with an elevation gain of approximately 1,000 feet.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology listening devices on this date.

Coordinated by Clemson University.


Founded in 1868 by Scottish-Irish settlers and traders who lived among the native Cherokee, Pickens today is a friendly, small town at the foothills of the Appalachians where residents and visitors enjoy abundant hiking trails, gorgeous vistas and mountain lakes.

Beautiful learning institute overlooking Table Rock Mountain. Each room has two single beds and private bath. No television sets or phones in rooms; limited storage space.
Meals and Lodgings
   The Youth Learning Institute Education Center
  Pickens, SC 5 nights
 The Youth Learning Institute Education Center
Type: Conference Center
  Description: The facility overlooks Table Rock Mountain and the forest at Table Rock State Park.
  Contact info: 698 Concord Church Road
Pickens, SC 29671 USA
phone: 864-878-1041
  Room amenities: Towels, soap and shampoo. Phone, television, microwave and refrigerator are located in lounge. Snacks, soft drinks, water and coffee provided in common lounge area.
  Facility amenities: Lounge open 24 hours a day. There is access to a fitness center and technology lab.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Check in time: 3:30 PM
  Check out time: 8:30 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:30 You will be staying at The Youth Learning Institute Education Center that night.
  End of Program:
1:00 You will be staying at The Youth Learning Institute Education Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. None
  Parking availability:
No charge
To Start of Program
  Location:  Pickens, SC
  Nearest city or town:  Pickens, South Carolina
  Nearest highway: Highway 183
  Nearest airport:  Greenville
  From End of Program
  Location: Pickens, SC
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Greenville/Spartanburg airport


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Clemson University Youth Learning Institute
phone: 908-472-4740
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour 




50 miles


The Youth Learning Institute provides a shuttle. This service is ONLY available from 1:00 - 4:30 p.m. on Sunday and between 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Friday. If these hours do not meet your schedule, you will need to make other arrangements. We meet you in baggage claim bearing a Road Scholar sign. Contact the coordinator 2 weeks in advance of your arrival with your arrival time and airlines. Payment is made on Monday morning. Checks and credit cards accepted. NO Cash.

Driving Directions
  Greenville, SC Take Highway 124 towards Clemson University; take the 178 exit (Highway 178) and proceed until the Pickens County Courthouse; At the traffic light, turn left onto Highway 183. The road will reduce to 2 lanes at the Mobil Gas station. Turn right immediately after the Mobil Gas Station onto Shady Grove Road. Turn left onto Concord Church Road. The Youth Learning Institute will be on your left.
Elevation Note: Caesar's Head State Park is 3,300 feet

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome/Introductions
(Sunday, November 9)
 Arrive To: Registration will be conducted at the Youth Learning Institute Education Center beginning at 3:30 p.m and ending at 4:30 p.m. Orientation will be conducted at 5:00 p.m.
 Dinner: Dinner will be served at the Learning Center's dining facility at 6:30 p.m. A good old southern meal will provide an introduction to southern cuisine.
 Evening: This evening will provide participants an opportunity to become more familiar with each other.
Accommodations: The Youth Learning Institute Education Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Hike to Stump House Tunnel, Issaqueena Falls, Riley Moore Falls and Station Cove; Learn about apple production at Long Creek Apple Orchard Stand; optional evening program about the Jocassee Gorges.
(Monday, November 10)

Note: Hiking

 Depart From: Youth Learning Institute Education Center
 Breakfast: A delicious hot breakfast will be served in the Education Center's dining facility.
 Morning: We will board provided vans for Stumphouse Tunnel and Issaquenna Falls. The history of Stumphouse Tunnel is as rich as the surrounding land and carries with it stories of dreams, failure, hardship and opportunities. The dream was to develop a railroad line from Charleston, SC to Cincinnati, Ohio. The Blue Ridge Rail Line was completed from Charleston to Pendleton by 1850's but the granite Stumphouse Mountain presented a major challenge. Work continued in spite of numerous problems including an unscrupulous construction company, high operating costs and the inability to secure funding. Workers were able to cut 1,600 feet from the western opening before state funds ran out in 1859. Before more money could be acquired, the War Between the States began. The town of Tunnel Hill faded into history. After the war, SC was in no position to continue construction of the rail line, thus the tunnel remains unfinished. The tunnel temperature is a consistent 56 degrees with 85% humidity year round. In the 1940's Dr. Paul G. Miller of Clemson College realized that these conditions were ideal for curing blue cheese. After the process was perfected, the conditions of the tunnel were duplicated at the Clemson University & the cheese making was moved there. With more than 60,000 visitors a year, the tunnel is one of the most visited historical sites in SC. Issaqueena Falls is a beautiful waterfall named for a Creek maiden. There are many legends. The most popular tells about a girl named Issaqueena who was captured by the Cherokee. As a young woman she met and fell in love with a white trader. She overheard a Cherokee plan to attack the settlements on the frontier. To warn her lover, she rode a pony 96 miles to his trading fort. Over time, they had a baby & moved back to Stumphouse Mountain. One day, the Cherokee Chief sent warriors to capture her. Knowing that the Cherokee believed evil spirits lived in waterfalls, she pretended to leap to her death. She safely hid on the ledge.
 Lunch: An energizing bag lunch will be served while viewing the falls.
 Afternoon: We'll travel to Station Cove Falls. Station Cove is part of Station Creek. It is an easy 30 minute hike and will take you to the base of the 60 foot Station Cove Falls.
 Dinner: A fantastic meal awaits you at the Youth Learning Institute Education Center's dining facility.
 Evening: A representative from the SC Department of Natural Resources will provide information on the local area. He is a conservation educator, recreation specialist and field editor for SC Wildlife magazine. He is also editor of the Jocassee Journal - Information and News about the Jocassee Gorges.
Accommodations: The Youth Learning Institute Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Hike to Upper Whitewater Falls and Lower Whitewater Falls; Optional evening program on the Waterfalls of the upstate of South Carolina
(Tuesday, November 11)

Note: Hiking

 Depart From: Youth Learning Institute Education Center
 Breakfast: A hot southern breakfast will be served at the Education Center's dining facility.
 Morning: We'll travel by vans to Upper Whitewater Falls on the North Carolina/South Carolina Border. These falls are the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. The falls plunge an amazing 411 feet! South Carolina's Lower Whitewater Falls drops another 400 feet. Because of the excarpment's difficult access and rugged terrain, much of the area receives few visitors and has remained wild and undeveloped over years. In the cool, moist shade of steep slopes and rock cliffs, wildflowers and salamanders abound. This wild land is a perfect haven for a rich array of ferns, mosses and fungi. Enjoy the beauty of berries and blooms throughout the seasons.
 Lunch: A scrumptious bag lunch will be provided while viewing the falls.
 Afternoon: A short van ride will take us to Lower Whitewater Falls. This is a moderate half day hike to an observation deck overlooking the beautiful Lower Whitewater Falls. The total distance for the hike is 3.4 miles with moderate hills. On the west side of the Whitewater River is a 1.8 mile trail that leads north to a 20 acre grove of Virgin Timber. This area is designated Coon Branch Natural Area and is home to the larger Fraser Magnolia in SC. It measures 6 feet round and 86 feet tall.
 Dinner: A fulfilling dinner will be provided at the Education Center's dining facility.
 Evening: Waterfalll presentation by a Master Naturalist
Accommodations: The Youth Learning Institute Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Boat Trip to Lake Jocassee Falls and rest and relax in the afternoon or explore the area on your own; Evening cookout at a Historic Grist Mill
(Wednesday, November 12)

Note: Hiking

 Depart From: Youth Learning Institute Education Center
 Breakfast: The day will start with a hot breakfast served at the Education Center's dining facility.
 Morning: Travel by vans to Lake Jocassee for a boat trip to see Jocasse Falls. Lake Jocasse is tucked into the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is one of the most scenic lakes in the country with a back drop of mountains & several waterfalls that pour into the lake. The valley where the lake is located was once home to 4 mighty rivers. It is surrounded by over 50,000 of protected state land. The lake has 7,500 acres of water & 75 miles of shoreline. The recorded history of the Jocassee Gorges area dates back to 1539 when Hernando deSoto explored the area. South of what is now the dam was once Keowee Village, the capital town of the Lower Cherokee Indians. In 1690 James Moore led a British expedition through the area in search of gold. The Vale of Jocassee was home to the Cherokee Indian Nation. It now lies 300 feet beneath the surface of the lake. By the late 1700's trade routes between Cherokee and Europeans were will established. In 1785 a treaty was signed that gave all of the Jocassee Gorges land area, with the exception of northern Oconee County, to the US. It would not be until 1835 that the Oconee mountains of Jocassee Gorges were ceded to the US. This controversial treaty signed by a very small representation of Indians, granted the US all the Indian territory east of the Mississippi. In 1916, the Toxaway Dam in NC failed. The flood removed much of the fertile topsoil and deposited rocks and boulders on the family farms. After this, it was difficult for homesteaders to make a living off the land. In the 1920's, livestock was transported from the east by rail. Cattle were free ranged. The advent of the textile industry made mountain inhabitants migrate to local mill towns to work. Their land was generally sold or abandoned and auctioned for back taxes. The timber industry emerged. In 1965, Duke Power Company announced the construction of the Keowee Toxaway Project and began construction in 1967. It resulted in the formation of Lake Keowee and Lake Jocassee
 Lunch: Participants will enjoy bag lunches during their boat trip
 Afternoon: Rest and Relaxation - Free time - Take a nap, enjoy each others company, explore the area, read a book, hit the exercise room - do whatever you enjoy!
 Dinner: Dinner will be a cookout at Hagood Mill
 Evening: Before dinner explore one of the "gems" of SC upstate - Hagood Mill. This is a 1845 gristmill that served many generations of rural farm families until its closing in the mid 1960's. Hagood Mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1973 the mills and surrounding property were donated to the Pickens County Museum Commission. The mill went back in business on a monthly basis in 1997. Since that time, the mill has operated the third Saturday of the month. These Saturdays become mini-festivals of traditional arts, folklife and music. Since the first re-opening, the barn was remodeled into a family farm exhibit, a visitor building with gift shop was constructed, a three quarter mile nature trail was developed, two historic Pickens log cabins were relocated to the site, blacksmith shop was built, a moonshine display was added as well as a large outdoor stage. Recently, a cotton ginning operation was donated and the county's last steel bridge was relocated to the property for restoration and eventual placement over the creek to allow for expansion and development of several acres on the side currently inaccessible. In 2003, perhaps the most exciting development occurred when Native American petroglyphs (rock cravings) were discovered on a large, thirty foot long rock near the mill. "It is the only petroglyph site recorded in SC that is located on publicly owned property and accessible to all citizens. By virtue of its ownership and location on a National Register property, it is at present SC's only petroglyph site that meets criteria for long term preservation and that might simultaneously serve the public as an educational center for Native American rock art" - Mr. Tommy Charles, archaeologist and Team member conducting a ten year "SC Rock Art Survey" for the SC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology
Accommodations: The Youth Learning Institute Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Caesars Head State Park and Hiking in DuPont State Park (North Carolina); then on to Twin Falls; Optional evening program - local bluegrass music and tales
(Thursday, November 13)

Note: Hiking

 Breakfast: A "Rise and Shine" Breakfast awaits you at the Education Center's dining facility.
 Morning: We'll travel by van to Caesars Head State Park and DuPont State Park. Caesars Head State Park is a must see in the South Carolina Upstate. A granite outcropping atop the dramatic Blue Ridge escarpment, it offers breathtaking views year-round, especially when fall sets the hardwoods ablaze. Another annual highlight is the Hawk Watch program each fall, timed to allow visitors to marvel at the unforgettable sight of hundreds of soaring, swirling migrating raptors- hawks, kites, falcons, eagles and more - from the park visitors own perch at nearly 3,300 feet above sea level. DuPont State Forest is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains between Hedersonville and Brevard, NC. Its 10,400 acres of forest, 4 major waterfalls on Little River and several on Grassy Creek. The original 7600 acre forest was established in 1996 through a generous sale from the DuPont Corporation. In 2000 the Forest was expanded by 2 property additions, including the spectacular 2200 acre tract in the center of the Forest containing High Falls, Triple Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. This Forest probably has as much falling water per square mile as any public land in the Southeast. Hooker Falls is an easy 5-10 minute walk downstream from the access area. It drops off a 12 foot ledge directly into Cascade Lake. The waterfall features and observation deck. It is a 10-15 minute hike to Triple Falls. This is a 150 foot waterfall featuring 3 cascades. There is a short uphill to the viewing area. Enjoy the side trail to the river between the second and third cascades. Continue up the hill from the Triple Falls viewing area and turn left where you will find High Falls. There is a side trail to the base of the waterfall. The fall is 120 feet high.
 Lunch: A delectable bag lunch will be enjoyed while hiking and viewing the falls.
 Afternoon: We'll travel to Twin Falls.
 Dinner: A southern dinner will be served at the Education Center's dining facility.
 Evening: A local blue grass musician will share his music and tales.
Accommodations: The Youth Learning Institute Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Tour Pinnacle Falls - a privately owned waterfall at Camp Hannon.
(Friday, November 14)

Note: Hiking

 Breakfast: An outstanding breakfast will be served at the Education Center's dining facility.
 Morning: Come hike to a private waterfall. Camp Hannon at Pinnacle Falls offers a scenic with a 65 foot waterfall.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served at the Education Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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