Standing 367 feet above sea level, this remote landmark in Westminster is known as Riley Moore Falls. Though you may expect waterfalls to be much taller, these rise only about twelve feet in height but span the entire width of the Chauga River – a full 100 feet! The falls empty into a large plunge pool complete with a sandy beach, a popular place to fish or spot otters at play.
The Chauga River is smaller and less traveled than the nearby Chatooga River, but it is no less magnificent. This site was once home to its namesake, Riley Moore, a local man who operated a grist mill along the top of the falls. The mill is long gone but visible remains – including spikes, bolts, and drilling locations – can still be seen in the rocks. However, we do not recommend taking a closer look as the rocks are slippery water is extremely powerful with the Class IV rapids. Many people have died exploring South Carolina’s waterfalls.
Visitors have remarked that you could spend the entire day here and likely never see another soul, which could be due to its isolated location. Si tuated off a forestry road in Oconee County, signs for the falls are small and hard to read. Once you reach the parking area, a moderate walk just over a mile will bring you through the Sumter National Forest to the location of the falls. Open year round, these trails offer excellent opportunities for birding and watching other native wildlife species. Primitive camping is allowed as well as leashed pets.
Reflections on Riley Moore Falls
Photographer C. Todd Hughey, who contributed the photos on this page, says, “Both my kids visited the falls while attending college in the Upstate and had informed me that I needed to make the trek. My daughter Marissa was kind enough to serve as my tour guide. The falls were flowing fast and very peacefully on this particular morning. I will certainly be back.
These images of Riley Moore Falls, located in Westminster, were captured at sunrise on November 4, 2017. I used a neutral density filter to allow for a longer shutter time to blur the water and a polarizer to reduce the reflections of the background leaves.“
More Pictures of Riley Moore Falls