Oconee Station and Station Cove Falls Trail: Best Place to Visit in Walhalla, South Carolina
Station Cove Falls. Photo by Dustin Hodges (Omigod, Dibs!™)
Back in late September 2018, my wife and I took a week long road trip vacation out of Texas, trekking on through 8 other states through the southeast United States, and looping our way back to Texas. You can watch our whole journey of this particular trip via our videos on our YouTube page on the Year 2018 In Review playlist (2018 Road Trips – 9 States, 7 days – Videos #1 - #11). We took along with us our old dog and 7 month old baby at that time as a test of our patience for each other. One state we’d stop at along our journey was South Carolina to visit relatives and to see some places of interest we’d had marked on our map as our makeshift itinerary. We always love to use a physical Road Atlas to map out our trips; marking it with highlighters, making notes in its margins, and placing ticket stubs and receipts of places we’ve visited in the pages. We love doing this so that we may keep it as a memento and to reflect on past road trips taken together.
Other than your typical South Carolina stops, like Myrtle Beach and Charleston, which we did visit, there was one place neither of us had heard of before called Oconee Station; particularly Station Cove Falls Trail.
Station Cove Falls Trail Sign. Photo by Dustin Hodges (Omigod, Dibs!™)
Oconee Station and Station Cove Falls Trail is a 1.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Walhalla, South Carolina that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail. We’ve always enjoyed finding places to hike, so this made a perfect place to get out of the car to enjoy a scenic walk outdoors. Since the trail is for all skill levels, it was easy enough to take our young baby along in a baby carrier comfortably; I wouldn’t recommend trying to push your baby along this trail in a stroller though. It was also a great place to take the dog out for a walk to stretch his legs too. There’s a creek called Station Creek that runs along and through the trail at some points, so it was perfect for the dog to take a break at times to get a drink and cool off.
Station Cove Falls Trail. Photo by Dustin Hodges (Omigod, Dibs!™)
They say the trail is best used from March until May, but we were there in late September. The weather was still nice and warm then, and the trail was good. We hiked the trail on a Tuesday I believe, and at that time we didn’t run into anyone else along the trail, so we had the whole trail and waterfall to ourselves that day! Although, I can’t say you’ll have the same luck on the day you choose to visit, since it’s such a popular trail. SouthCarolinaParks.com states: “Because countless wildflowers decorate the forest in spring, this easy 1.5-mile trail in Oconee Station State Historic Site has become a favorite of Upstate naturalists. The trail also features a fine view of Station Cove Falls, a stepped, 60-foot waterfall that’s among the prettiest in a county full of waterfalls.”
Palmetto Trail Sign. Photo by Dustin Hodges (Omigod, Dibs!™)
From what I hear, there are several areas and sections of the entire Palmetto Trail you can hike, or bike ride on. SCTrails.net says “The Palmetto Trail is 500 miles of cross-state hiking and bicycling paths beside lakes, across mountain ridges, through forests, into towns big and small, and across swamps. The Palmetto Trail showcases conservation and preservation from mountains to sea, all while providing free public access to active, healthy outdoor recreation." SCTrails.net also states that “The entire Palmetto Trail is open to hiking and backpacking. Designated passages and sites are available for mountain biking, horseback riding, and camping. The Trail cannot accommodate motorized vehicles."
The family and I came up through I-95 and found a park entrance near the William Richards House in Walhalla, where there were restrooms and a picnic area I believe, where we started our hike up hill from a pond that’s near the entrance of the trail. The entire trail was a little over a mile-and-a-half to Station Cove Falls through hilly terrain, so it was a good trek for a young family.
To Station Cove Falls Sign. Photo by Dustin Hodges (Omigod, Dibs!™)
If you’re not up to a 1.6 mile trek to go see the falls, you can start your hike at Station Cove Falls Trailhead off Oconee Station Road (Oconee County S-37-95), which is a ½-mile trail (part of the trail we took) that leads into Sumter National Forest and it ends at Station Cove Falls. SCTrails.net says the following about this trail: “An easy, 30-minute hike through a gorgeous Appalachian cove forest takes you to Station Cove Falls, a stepped 60-foot waterfall that forms from headwaters atop Station Mountain. In the spring and summer, countless wildflowers bloom along the trail. You may see trillium, mayapple, pink lady’s slipper orchids, bloodroot, and redbud. The Oconee Passage of the Palmetto Trail also intersects with the Station Coves Trail.”
Oconee Station Park Map via SouthCarolinaParks.com
1.) From the intersection of SC 28 and SC 11 at Walhalla, drive north on SC 11 for 6.3 miles and turn left (northwest) onto Oconee Station Road (Oconee County S-37-95).
2.) Drive 2.4 miles (approximately 0.3 mile past Oconee Station State Historic Site) to the trailhead on the left (parking is limited to four cars). Additional parking is available at Oconee Station State Historic Site picnic area.
3.) The 0.5-mile hike begins behind the bulletin board.
If you’d like to see what many others have said about the trail we took, you can view all the comments people have posted about Oconee Station and Station Cove Falls Trail at AllTrails.com at the link provided here >>
Omigod, Dibs! at Station Cove Falls. Photo by Jenny Hodges (Omigod, Dibs!™)
If you’re ever in the area of Walhalla, South Carolina, and are looking for a fantastic, easy outdoor hike adventure, we highly recommend visiting Oconee Station and Station Cove Falls Trail. Station Cove Falls is the highlight of the entire hike at the end of the trail and you definitely don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to see an amazingly beautiful waterfall for an incredible view and perfect pictures.