Day Trippin': Issaqueena Falls and Stumphouse Tunnel
The town of Walhalla features a surprising number of waterfalls and attractions.
Issaqueena Falls is a well-known attraction in Walhalla. The walk to the overlook is short, not a strenuous hike – only.4 miles on a well-maintained trail. Be careful and stay to the path on the right to see the whole falls. Walking left takes you to a dangerous drop-off.
The falls come with a legend of a Native American princess. Versions of the story vary, but most center around Issaqueena running to warn her lover of a surprise attack from her village. She leapt over the falls to evade capture.
Down the road from the falls, you’ll arrive at the historic Stumphouse Tunnel. It is an incomplete railroad tunnel that dates back to the 1850s. Work on the tunnel stopped due to the start of the Civil War.
At the entrance to the tunnel, you can’t see the light at the end. I heard the voices of those ahead of me, but I couldn’t see where they went. Next time I’m bringing a flashlight! Some imaginative folks claim the tunnel is haunted. I don’t know about ghosts, but it sure is dark and spooky with eerie sounds of dripping water.
A less spooky and truer claim to fame is the fact that Clemson University used the tunnel to age blue cheese starting in 1951. Now these conditions are replicated at Clemson, and the tunnel no longer houses cheese.
Mountain bike aficionados may enjoy the new Stumphouse Mountain Bike Park. And if you’re looking for a more strenuous hike, Yellow Branch Falls is located across the street from Issaqueena and is a longer hike, 1.5 miles each way.
Back in the town of Walhalla, visitors can go thrifting, antiquing or grab an ice cream.
The Oconee History Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday. Tickets are free, yet a $3 donation is requested. The Museum of the Cherokee in South Carolina is another educational option.
Learn more about the City of Walhalla at http://www.cityofwalhalla.comand the Stumphouse Tunnel at https://discoversouthcarolina.com/products/7.