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Let’s Hike: Twin Falls and Hagood Mill Historic Site in Pickens

There’s no need to drive all the way to North Carolina for a good waterfall hike.

Twin Falls in Sunset, South Carolina, is a short walk with a huge payoff. The Pickens County hike requires almost no effort. Estimated at .2 miles, the flat trail runs along a picturesque creek. An observation gazebo provides views of the falls without the danger of slick rocks. As the name suggests, two cascades flow side-by-side. As you face the falls, more waterflow comes down the far right, as if there are almost three cascades.

While the ride to the falls seems oddly residential, once visitors arrive at the dirt parking lot, worry dissipates. I have hiked this trail with children as young as ages 2 and 4. The only hazard is that the trail is narrow in some parts. Wise walkers will watch their step. Carefully allow hikers in the oncoming direction to pass.

Day-trippers who visit on a Saturday may want to venture to quaint downtown Pickens, where a stroll down Main Street is like a visit to a real-life Mayberry. See rustic rocking chairs and metal washtubs. On Sundays, however, the town shuts down.

Another reason to visit this area on Saturday is to catch Hagood Mill and Historic Life Folk Center in Pickens. The site is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays.

In addition to the 1845 gristmill, my kids find plenty to explore here. Read the plaque to learn how a young boy and his family saved a historic log cabin. My kids love using the water pump and exploring the hill to discover the moonshine still – a part of local history they hadn’t learned in any books.

Just watching the massive water wheel in action is entertainment. Although the water wheel was refurbished in 2016, a year of exposure to the elements gives the wheel a weathered appearance, so the wheel now harmonizes with the rest of the historic building.

Another log cabin, a blacksmith shop and cotton gin also provide vivid opportunities to bring history class to life. The Hagood Creek Petroglyph site, with ancient Native American carvings, takes visitors even farther back in time. There’s fun in addition to learning here with kid-friendly trails to wander.

Themed special events occur on the third Saturday of each month. The annual Old Time Fiddling Championship is held in September. A storytelling mini-festival occurs Oct. 21. The largest event of the year is the Native American Celebration, featuring customs like food, music and dance from the Cherokee and Catwaba tribes. The Christmas festival on Dec. 16 explores how Celtic traditions merged with African-American rhythm to create bluegrass and traditional mountain music.

Although there is no admission fee for events, a $5 parking fee applies. Find an updated events calendar at