Not a big waterfall but Winnie Branch Falls is charming. The hike is relatively easy and not all that long, most along a wide service road.
The trailhead is hidden in plain sight. From Pickens, take US 178 to Holly Springs and the intersection of SC 11. Left on SC 11 for 7.5 miles. Look for a paved entrance on the left which will take you immediately to a small parking area behind a gated service road.
The trail follows the service road almost the whole way to the waterfall, a little less than a mile. The first 200 yards are uphill, parallel to the highway, then the road turns right and begins to swing wildly through the forest. There will be other service roads coming in, but stay on the main road. Your first landmark will be an open area on your left. The trail will skirt this then swing down and around behind it then make a hard right as it begins to follow along a low wetland. If you look carefully, you can see where beavers once were present here.
Leaving the wetland, the trail begins to climb. You’ll soon reach the top of the climb where the road goes through a wide section. Stop here and listen. You’ll hear Winnie Branch Falls down below you. Also, just off the trail, at trail level is a large boulder.
Bushwhack down the left side of this boulder for about 100 yards to the creek and the waterfall. This is an easy bushwhack as the woods are open except right around the creek where you’ll find mountain laurel. You’ll need to cross over the creek to get a good view of this 12 foot waterfall.
The creek comes in at the top where a horizontal sluice directs the water flow over to the left side of the rock face where the flow then makes a gentle slide down to the base pool. Heavier water flow would overflow the sluice and cover the entire rock face in water.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what the definition of a “waterslide” is, Winnie Branch Falls is a classic example.