Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area

Property Location

Sunset, SC 29685

Latitude: 35.035  Longitude:-82.819
Acreage: 374
County: Pickens
Game Zone: 1


Property Type: Heritage Preserve / WMA Other

Hours of Operation

The area is open during daylight hours year-round.

Limited Primitive Camping (No Groups) is now available at Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve


Activities / Facilities

Fishing Hiking Hunting Nature Viewing

Property Description

Photograph of Eastatoe Creek HP

Owned and managed by the SC Department of Natural Resources, Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve covers 374 acres in Pickens County. This steep mountain gorge features some old growth hemlock, a rainbow trout stream, dramatic rock cliffs and rare ferns that are maintained by the creek's moist spray. Surrounded by Jocassee Gorges, some management of the property is done in conjunction with the Jocassee Gorges Natural Area (formally called the Jim Timmerman Natural Resource Area at Jocassee Gorges.) The entire preserve falls within the Franklin Gravely Wildlife Management Area of Game Zone 1. Hunting is allowed in accordance with WMA regulations. Game species typically hunted on the preserve are black bear, deer, squirrel and turkey. Primitive camping and fires are currently prohibited due to the high volume of dead and dying hemlocks. The trail is included as a spur trail of the Foothills Trail. Fishing, with artificial lures only, is allowed with a valid SC Fishing License.

Within the preserve, three streams - Laurel Branch, Side of Mountain Creek and Rocky Bottom Creek - flow into Eastatoe Creek. The Eastatoe falls 600 feet in elevation to tumble across large rocks and boulders before roaring through a series of narrow channels aptly called "The Narrows." This turbulent water system generates a fine spray, which helps maintain high humidity along the Eastatoe. This high humidity enables three species of rare ferns to thrive. One of these, the Tunbridge Fern (Hymenophyllum tunbridgense) exists nowhere else in North America. Cove and upland hardwoods, including white, red and chestnut oaks, hickories, red maples and black locusts comprise the dominant forest type at the preserve. Spring wildflowers, such as bloodroot, attract visitors.