The deepest portions of Jocassee Gorges is littered with wonderful waterfalls, both named and unnamed, some even relatively unknown. Most are difficult to access requiring hikes of 5 or 6 miles. Once you arrive, you find they, for various reasons, are even more difficult to view. Windy Falls fits into this category.
Hike descriptions (the word “trail” is not used here since many times, there is no trail) frequently include “river crossing,” “steep descent,” “no visible trail,” and “dangerous.”
Lower Bearwallow Falls is one of these deep-gorge waterfalls. After visiting Gorges State Park’s nice viewing platform and short trail at Upper Bearwallow Falls, it is a shock to find out that Lower Bearwallow Falls is several miles down Bearwallow Creek and involves a long and difficult hike.
Occasionally, the park service or even the Foothills Trail Conference will lead hikes into this waterfall since it is quite beautiful. Such guided hikes serve several purposes. First, it makes sure folks find the waterfall since it can be a little elusive. Second, it provides a level of security and safety to the hikers. Remember, the word “gorge” is in the name of this area for a reason. Third, it protects several rare and endangered plants which grow along the stream and near the waterfall. Guides bring the groups in avoiding damage to the fragile environment.
Lower Bearwall Falls is a very nice 35-foot plunge over a rock ledge onto rocks and a large base pool. If you would like to visit, the recommended you contact Gorges State Park or the Foothills Trail Conference concerning one of their guided hikes to this waterfall.