Upper Scotsman Creek Falls is so close to the road, it might even be considered “roadside;” however, easy access to the cascade should not be assumed. In fact, a proper trail description might include the instruction: “Jump off the side of the mountain.” The difficulty of the “trail” would indicate few folks gets to see this one.
From Oconee State Park, head north on Hwy 107 for about 13 miles to the SC/NC line. After crossing the state line, go 1.3 miles to Bull Pen Road on your left. It is directly across from a Food City truck facility. In 2.1 miles the pavement ends with a road turning right that goes to Pleasant Grove Baptist Church (interesting cemetery). In another 1.5 miles, you’ll see McCall Road on your right. In another half mile, you’ll make a hairpin turn to your left. There is a camp site on the right at the top of the hairpin. Past the hairpin, you’ll be faced with a 0.2 mile straight away with a gated Forest Service road on the right just before the road curves to the right. A little past the curve, there is a pull off on the left where you can park.
Once parked, walk back up the road to the curve. About 15 yards into the curve, look carefully and you should be able to see a “trail” leading away from the road. The falls are only about 250 horizontal feet away but they are 200 vertical feet below the road level. Doing the math, this makes for about a 45 degree slope. If wet, it will be extremely slippery. Close to the creek, there are wet rocks offering more danger. Suffice it to say, the short path to this “roadside” waterfall is rated strenuous.
Slip and slide down the path, sometimes going through Mountain Laurel “tunnels” just 3 feet tall. At the creek bank, the trail will bring you to a large tree with a nice side view of Upper Scotsman Falls from the left of that tree.
Off to your right, you’ll see a trail taking you away from the tree and circling down toward the creek. Do not take this. What you want to do is to move to the right, going around the base of this tree. While still slippery, this is a shorter and less strenuous route that will deposit you about half way up the falls. With care, you can work your way down the rocks to get in front of the falls for a good view.
Scotsman Creek comes over the rock face in a 50-foot segmented plunge/tier combination. The left plunge segment continues down the tiers and passes in from of you. The center and right plunge segments actually go out of sight behind an “island” to rejoin the rest of the flow past where you are standing.