Andrew Ramey Falls is an impressive cascade in Oconee County, South Carolina. The pool at the base of the falls is only about 18 inches deep, but it’s sandy and would make for a great lounging area on a hot summer day. Bring shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. Do not try to make this hike in sandals.
There is no marker or sign of any kind to let you know that you have arrived at the trail. There is only enough room for one car to park right at the trailhead, but there are other pull-offs down the road. There are bundles of sticks that someone cleared from the road flanking the trailhead, but I can’t guarantee they will be there in the future. The map point below will take you to the exact spot where you need to park. Cell reception is spotty in this area, so get your navigation app up and running while you’re still in civilization.
It’s maybe 50 yards from the gravel road to the swimming hole, but most of that is downhill on slick, wet ground. Trekking poles are valuable here. You’ll pass by the upper falls that add 20 feet to the already impressive 30-foot cascade at the bottom.
If you continue hiking down the trail past Andrew Ramey Falls, you’ll encounter Pristine Falls. It’s .6 miles to a fork in the trail. If you turn left, you will soon hear Pristine Falls. There’s a steep scramble to the base of the falls. I had only been walking unassisted for 3 weeks when I made this hike and thought the descent to Pristine Falls was a little more than I could safely handle. You can read all about my leg break if you’re curious. It’s quite the tale.
If you continue driving on this forestry road a mile or two until it ends in a cul de sac, you’ll encounter a trail that descends steeply to the Chattooga River. There’s a small campsite next to the water that would make for a very secluded day or night. Then again, this is where Deliverance was filmed. If you hear banjo music, you may want to run back to your car.