From the Moonshine Falls in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area to the intriguing Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel designed in the early 1830s, South Carolina’s caves and caverns promise equal parts of fascinating history and nature retreats.
Well-preserved insights, historic trails, and beautiful hikes are a few features you should expect at every caving site in South Carolina. The state’s most well-known cave is the 40-Acre Rock Heritage Preserve. Here you can hike to the amply-sized aboveground cave or stick to the dry land and explore the beautiful colors on top of rock pools.
Either way, there’s no other better place than visiting South Carolina’s caving systems. Suppose you are ready to walk in the footsteps of Union soldiers, Confederates, Patriots, and Loyalists and take a glimpse into the early days of the United States’ independence. In that case, you should at least check the following 5 caves to visit in South Carolina.
Rocky’s Man Cave
Are you looking for a perfect place just to hang out and think about the next destination? Rocky’s Man Cave is gorgeous and ideal for exploring a cool environment. It’s also known as the place “Where Adventure Begins.”
However, it’s not a real cave but a woodshop. There is nothing much to see here apart from relaxing in a serene environment.
- Address: 112 Ledford Rd, Townville, SC 29689, United States
- Website: Rocky’s Man Cave
- Phone number: +1 800-236-2447
- Google Maps link: Rocky’s Man Cave
Stumphouse Tunnel is an incomplete railroad tunnel found in Oconee County, South Carolina. The tunnel and the nearby Issaquena Falls are now part of Walhalla City Park.
The tunnel was dug using hand tools before the Civil War but was never completed. About ¼ mile of the tunnel is open to the public. It’s just a big, dark tunnel with a few water drops running down the sides.
- Address: Stumphouse Tunnel Rd, Walhalla, SC 29691, United States
- Website: Stumphouse Tunnel
- Phone number: +1 864-638-4343
- Entrance fee: $25 annual pass for Oconee county residents and $35 annual pass for non-Oconee county residents.
- Google Maps link: Stumphouse Tunnel
40 Acre Rock Heritage Preserve
40 Acre Rock Heritage Preserve is a historical landmark in South Carolina. The rock appears bigger than its actual 14-acre size. It encompasses 2,965 acres most diverse natural habitats in the Piedmont region, including waterfalls, waterslides, flat granite rocks, pine forests, caves, and a beaver pond.
Stand atop the gigantic granite rock and get a clear picture of an otherworldly ecosystem. Expect to see a dozen rare, threatened, or endangered plant and animal species protected within the area. Explore some caves and discover a mysterious underground landscape with awe-inspiring geological features.
- Address: 2207 Conservancy Rd, Kershaw, SC 29067, United States
- Website: Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve
- Phone number: +1 803-734-3893
- Entrance fee: Free
- Google Maps link: 40 Acre Rock Heritage Preserve
Moonshine Falls is a must-see for every waterfall lover. It’s a 40 feet waterfall that is divided into two sections. The upper section is a cave where the water flows through the rocks and falls to the lower section, forming a shallow crystal pool.
The waterfall got its name from the spectacular cave. It’s believed that the cave was used in the early days to make moonshine. Some of the barrels and other unique equipment still remain to this day.
- Address: 150 Asbury Dr, Cleveland, SC 29635, United States
- Website: Asbury Hills Camp and Retreat Center
- Phone number: +1 864-836-3711
- Entrance fee: Free
- Google Maps link: Moonshine Falls
Jones Gap State Park
Jones Gap State Park is a 3,964-acre park in northern Greenville County near Marietta. It is a forested wilderness home to different species of animals, scenic rivers, waterfalls, and caves.
Jones Gap is a popular destination for photography, geocaching, bird watching, trout fishing, and hiking, with options for beginner to advanced backpackers. Spelunkers can explore Misty Cavern Falls, a shallow cave within the park.
- Address: 303 Jones Gap Rd, Marietta, SC 29661, United States
- Website: Jones Gap | South Carolina Parks Official Site
- Phone number: +1 864-836-3647
- Entrance fee: $6 for adults, $3.50 for children between ages 6-15, and free for children under 5.
- Google Maps link: Jones Gap State Park
Visiting caves and caverns are always a good bet, especially if you are looking for a real adventure that the entire family can enjoy. South Carolina’s caves have lots in common, including plenty of geological formations, room to roam, learning opportunities, and multiple outdoor attractions. Inspire your next trip and inner spelunker by visiting any of the caves mentioned above in the Palmetto State.
Top image: Cody Ryan Reigle via Flickr / Creative Commons.