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Because countless wildflowers decorate the forest in spring, this easy 1.5 mile trail in Oconee Station State Historic Site has become a favorite of Upstate naturalists. The trail also features a fine view of Station Cove Falls, a stepped, 60-foot waterfall that's among the prettiest in a county full of waterfalls. In 1792, Oconee County's first European settlers built Oconee Station, a small wood and stone "blockhouse" about a mile from the falls. The military fort and accompanying 1805 residence were intended to protect settlers from Cherokee and vice-versa. Today, they are on the National Register of Historic Places and tours are available from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, or by appointment. From the trailhead in the main parking area, you will start downhill and come to a fork. Both legs come together after circling a pond, so you might elect to go out on one and return on the other. Upon passing the pond, you will cross Oconee Station Road and enter the Sumter National Forest. As you walk, look for beaver ponds, an alder swamp (the result of past beaver ponds), and in springtime, an amazing array of wildflowers, particularly pink lady's slipper orchids. The trail ends at the falls, where the waterfall's spray area is home to rare and endangered plant life, so step carefully. A shorter version of this trail begins from a trailhead just north of Oconee Station Historic Site on Oconee Station Road. It is a .5 mile hike to Station Cove Falls from this trailhead. Restrooms and drinking water are available at Oconee Station Historical Site.

Directions: From Walhalla, Drive north on SC 183 for three miles and turn left (north) onto SC 11. Drive 1.5 miles north on SC 11 and turn left (northwest) onto Oconee Station (Oconee County S-95). Oconee Station Historic Site is approximately 2.1 miles ahead on the right. Enter the site and park in the parking area. The trailhead is 200 feet back up the entrance driveway. Whenever the site is closed, you can use an optional trailhead, which is a parking area on the left side of Oconee Station Road, approximately 0.2 mile from the site entrance.

Distance: 1.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

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Oconee Station State Historic Site, North Carolina

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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