Monday, May 28, 2012

Swimming Holes and Waterfalls in South Carolina

When the weather gets hot in the South, it's time to explore out-of-the-way waterfalls, swimming holes, and streams.  A friend from South Carolina shared a few magical places to cool off with me.

Brasstown Falls in South Carolina was actually a series of falls.  The main dramatic falls was easily accessed via a short trail from the parking area.  Then, scrambles along side trails led to a series of upper and lower falls.  A large deep swimming pool provided the perfect place to swim in the swift current.  This area is know to be quite botanically rich, and mountain laurel and rhododendron were putting on a spectacular show.

Brasstown Falls.
Playing at Brasstown Falls.
Chau Ram County Park was another place we explored.  It was accessible and developed, but very peaceful.  Huge rocks for relaxing and picnicking bordered calm swimming holes above the falls.

Falls at Chau Ram County Park.
Along the banks of the Chauga River at Chau Ram Park, I was delighted to find leather flower (Clematis viorna).  In the buttercup family, this lovely climbing vine doesn't look much like the cultivated Clematis, even though it's a close relative.  Leather flower is native to our region and is really beautiful.  The curvy colorful part of the leather flower is actually the sepal.  The fruits (called achenes) have long whispy tails which help spread the seeds.

Leather flower
Achenes (seeds) of the leatherflower
Summer is also a good time to linger near small headwater streams, which are home to caddisfly larvae, salamanders and other enchanting creatures.  Caddisfly larve build protective homes out of tiny rocks (or sometimes twigs and leaves), and can be found on the undersides of rocks.

caddisfly larvae
tiny salamander are also found by turning over rocks in streams


  1. I am missing my little hikes---life is hectic right now and I haven't been out to explore. Must do so pronto!

    :) Always love your photos!

  2. Oh no, gotta take the time to explore, even if it's just for an afternoon. :)