Whitewater - Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee

Whitewater, South Carolina, US


Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee

Usual Difficulty II-V+ (for normal flows)
Length 2.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 440 fpm
Max Gradient 850 fpm

Whitewater Falls

Whitewater Falls
Photo by Mark Hammock taken 05/23/03 @ medium

River Description

Half of this run is unrunnable and half is flatwater. There are two very short stretches of interest. The general progression of the run is as follows:

400 foot waterfall

Quarter mile of steep huge boulder gardens that make the Upper West Prong look small

Mile and a half of flatwater

100 yards of fun low water hike and huck right up to the lip of...

Lower Whitewater Falls - 200 feet

One long toxawayesque slide that MIGHT be runnable, a few jumbles, then...

Moondance Falls, unrunnable series of cascades totalling over 100 feet.

One class 5 boulder jumble right into Lake Jocassee.

I will note that the lower gorge from below Lower Whitewater Falls to the lake is incredibly walled in and should be scouted thoroughly before committing. There is not an absolute way in yet and portaging Moondance Falls may or may NOT be possible. Go in real low to scope it, reallizing you will likely be doing it all for one narrow slide and a boof or two. 90% of this gorge is likely to be portaged.

The hike and huck stretch immediately above the gorge is fun and not super difficult, but going in there with any water or recent rains is a BAD idea. The last drop ends in a 10 foot long pool immediately above Lower Whitewater Falls, which is a 60 foot entrance slide off 100 feet of vertical reconnecting on a shelf with several more bone crushing claps over 80 more vertical feet, before landing on a big pile of rocks. Instadeath!
Use your brain and don't get too greedy for a view of the falls, the rocks are slick and this is a true no mistake environment if there is one in the SE. That said, if you are tired of Triple Falls and there aint no water, this can be a rewarding afternoon well spent.

The drops progress as follows:

Teacups: A sliding little teacup into a nice little 3 foot boof teacup, right above the big one. No brainers.

Hot and ready: A nice off vertical 28 foot falls with piton potential for the off-line boater. Head center right off the middle of the kicker and keep your weight forward, as you are likely to reconnect right when hitting the bottom. Fast and fun. Spots to avoid are far right and far left.

Curtain Call: A fun slide above the lip of Lower Whitewater Falls. Two lines, one is far right, the fastest, but center there is a tech line to try for the pothole boof of about 8 feet. Either way, don't miss the eddy for god sakes.

The other whitewater stretch is the breakdown of Upper Whitewater Falls. This quarter mile stretch drops around 600 feet/mile and is super sick. Maybe a slightly cleaner Garden of the Gods if you will. The boofs are 12 footers, with class 5 approaches and washouts. Not many eddies. Big hike in for little return. Why weren't you on Thompson or the normal Whitewater Run might be a good question at the takeout at Bad Creek. But to each his own.

Logistics: To run the gnar-gnar to flatwater upper part, hike down the foothills trail from 281 on river right through the falls overlook area down to the base, then bushwack up to the top of the rapids, take out at the musterground bridge or foothills trail bridge, hike 1/2 mile back to Bad Creek parking area.

Logistics: To do the dry days hike and huck, park at Bad Creek access, hike 1/2 mile down musterground road, put on at the bridge, careful to dial the level as bone dry before blinding the goods around the corner. Below here who knows. Do your homework!

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2007-07-04 05:55:32


Whitewater Falls

Detail Trip Report  Whitewater Falls  Whitewater Creek, NC(26.37KB .jpeg)

sitting below the second teacup

Detail Trip Report  sitting below the second teacup  @Whitewater Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee, (1.54MB .jpeg)

tony on the bigger one

Detail Trip Report  tony on the bigger one  @Whitewater Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee, (1.74MB .jpeg)

Kirk on the bigger one

Detail Trip Report  Kirk on the bigger one  @Whitewater Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee, (1.83MB .jpeg)

lower slide

Detail Trip Report  lower slide  @Whitewater Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee, (1.92MB .jpeg)

blasting the bottom of the lower slide

Detail Trip Report  blasting the bottom of the lower slide  @Whitewater Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee, (1.96MB .jpeg)


Detail Trip Report    @Whitewater Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee, (1.27MB .jpeg)

entering the top teacups

Detail Trip Report  entering the top teacups  @Whitewater Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee, (1.97MB .jpeg)

don't miss the eddy

Detail Trip Report  don't miss the eddy  @Whitewater Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee, (1.88MB .jpeg)

Gauge Information

Gauge Description:

This stretch is fragmented in gradient and application, so different levels are required for different parts of the run. For the hike and huck above Lower Whitewater Falls, there should be no rain and semi-drought conditions. For the quarter mile of hair at the breakdown from the Upper Falls, you would want solid levels on the normal Whitewater run.

Report - Reports of Whitewater Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.


When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
WhitewaterBase of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee [ ] don't miss the eddy n/a Kirk Eddlemon
> 10 years Whitewater Creek [NC] Whitewater Falls medium Mark Hammock



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Rapid Descriptions

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 Base of Upper Falls to Lake Jocassee, Whitewater South Carolina, US (mobile)