Day 37: Thanksgiving Day Our Way


time of year

I have been interested in the Yellow Branch Falls Trail, Walhalla, SC for a while now

($0) This seemed like the perfect opportunity to hike it. The trail crosses a little stream several times and then becomes a narrow trail along the side of a very pretty valley to end at a 50’ waterfall with many individual cascades. The vibrant fall colors made the beautiful walk even better. This trail is super popular so go early unless you love crowds.


difficulty: 5.5

We drove across the road to the Stumphouse Tunnel

parking area ($5/car) for a quiet picnic lunch for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was delicious. After lunch we went up to check out the Stumphouse Tunnel which was dug using hand tools prior to the Civil War, but never completed. Approximately 1/4 mile of the tunnel is open to the public. The tunnel maintains a constant temperature of 50 degrees year-round and used to be used by the Clemson University to cure bleu cheese. Bat’s do sleep in there. We walked all the way to gate at the end (a little spooky). The air inside was thick and moist almost like walking inside a cloud. Outside the tunnel we saw an armadillo searching through leaves for snacks.

Then we went to see Issaqueena Falls. The observation deck is an easy 1/4 mile walk from the parking lot to a rough, almost vertical trail from observation deck to the bottom of the falls. Visitors are not encouraged to take it but a lot of people do (we did). I had fun but it was a bit of a challenge getting back up.


difficulty: 3.5

We went back to the hotel to relax for a bit before heading back out.

We decided to do the White Side Mountain Trail

Nantahala’s National Forest, Highlands, NC ($3/car). (1.9 mile loop, 511’ elevation). This was one of our first hikes together and we haven’t done it in years. We chose to go counter clockwise because we were up against sunset and that way we would have the easier path to come home on. The views at the top are amazing and there are so many overlooks along the path, they just get better and better. There were big icicles on the side of the mountain which gave it a unique character. We got back to the car just as it got dark. The perfect end to a perfect Thanksgiving Day.


difficulty: 7

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