Chattooga River (to Opossum Creek Falls)

Location: Northwestern South Carolina
Trip Starts: FS 755
Trip Ends: FS 755
Total Distance: 5.1 miles
Hike Type: In & Out, Backtrack Hike
Hike Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trails Used: Fishtrap Branch Trail
Trail Traffic: Light
Trip Type: Overnight Hike
More Information:

Sumter National Forest
Andrew Pickens Ranger District
112 Andrew Pickens Circle
Mountain Rest, South Carolina 29664
(864) 638-9568


The Chattooga River begins in the mountains of North Carolina as small rivulets, nourished by springs and abundant rainfall, high on the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains. The water drops a half mile in elevation over fifty miles as it winds its way to Lake Tugaloo where the river ends between South Carolina and Georgia. The Chattooga is one of the few remaining free-flowing streams in the Southeast, and the setting is primitive with dense forests and undeveloped shorelines on most of its route.

The Chattooga River Trail is a forty mile route that borders the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia and follows the banks of the Chattooga National Wild And Scenic River from Burrell’s Ford to US 76. Congress designated the river on May 10, 1974 and it is often used by kayakers, hikers, backpackers, and fisherman as it winds from the North Carolina mountains to Lake Tugaloo. The Chattooga River Trail shares its pathway with both the Foothills and Bartram Trails in the Russell Bridge area, but it stays close to the river for its entire distance unlike the other major southeastern trails.

This hike to the Chattooga River starts at FS 755 and drops about two miles over 500 feet to an area around Five Falls – where multiple class five rapids roar through the gorge. Both kayakers and rafters will likely float by once you reach the river as this area has some of the best whitewater in the Southeast. No camping is allowed on the beach sites in this area, so you’ll have to head back in to the woods and find a flat area for overnight camping if you plan to spend the night.

GPS Coordinates:

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