I was driving along scenic Highway 11, also known as the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway, when I passed a sign that read “Wildcat Wayside”. I took note of the sign and promised myself some day I would investigate and learn what was located in the middle of nowhere. Little did I know I passed an amazing waterfall viewable from the road that day, and missed a chance for a short hike to see even more.
Wildcat Wayside is located near Cleveland, South Carolina, in the Upcountry region. This region is known for the waterfalls, hiking trails, and outdoor recreation along a stretch of highway that contains five state parks. The wayside is managed by the state park service, but it only features the waterfall and a short trail.
The Lower Wildcat Falls can be viewed from Highway 11 or the small pull off area on the side of the road. A series of earthen steps on the left side leads above the lower falls to a place where visitors can see the Middle and Upper Wildcat Falls. There used to be a nice 1-mile loop trail to the upper falls but that was closed after several accidents from people wandering off the trail.
Wildcat Wayside is nothing more than a short stop, a place to stretch your legs, and snap a couple photos. Still, it’s a nice waterfall to view even with the near-constant rumble of cars on the highway directly behind you. I’m sorry I missed this place the first time, but at least I finally made a stop about a year later. Don’t pass this wayside stop on your next adventure through the South Carolina Upcountry.