Pelham Falls is one of those features that is right under everyone’s nose yet no one sees it. And it would probably be shocking to know how few people even know this waterfall exists. Yet thousands of cars pass by every day.
Coming from Woodruff Road, SC 14 swoops down through a curve over a concrete bridge about a block before its intersection with Pelham Road. From your car, you cannot see the stream, much less the large waterslide type waterfall. The stream underneath is Rocky Creek with the bridge sitting at the very top of the 350 feet by 150 feet section of exposed granite that makes up Pelham Falls. While Rocky Creek only drops about 20 feet through a series of cascades, this is a significant water feature.
Many years ago, there was a mill on the site that used the water for power. In the 1960’s, part of the old mill building was converted to a “fish camp,” a seafood restaurant appropriately called The Old Mill Stream. Over the years, the restaurant went through several iterations and name changes before ending up as a Fatz Café. A fire destroyed Fatz a number of years ago and nothing has been rebuilt on the site.
You can walk out on the bridge to look down the complete run of the falls, but any good waterfall enthusiast is going to want to get out on that rock. To do that, turn onto Ebenezer Road (to the left facing downstream) and park alongside the road. You’ll be next to the weedy parking lot of the old café.
Walk to the right side of the parking lot and you’ll come around to an old gazebo that used to provide a good view of the water and was where you waited for a table when the restaurant was full. But now, everything is grown up so you really can’t get much a view of the falls from the structure.
If you go around the right side of the gazebo, you’ll find a path that will take you to about midway down the falls. Since this is a really big rock face, there is plenty of dry rock around to provide for rock hopping both up and down the falls. As with any big rock face like this, it is difficult to get a good photo that shows its true size. There are several good drops and pools to catch your attention.
To find Pelham Falls from Greenville, take I-85 north to Exit 54, Pelham Road. Right on Pelham for just under 2 miles to SC 14. Right on 14 for about a block then left onto Ebenezer Road. Immediately park on your right.
Note: There are numerous “Posted” signs about but these have been generally ignored for years.