There are a number of places to be found within the expanse of the American South that are a mixture of quiet charm and keen beauty. Tucked into the midst of the Blue Ridge mountain range in Oconee County, South Carolina is the town of Walhalla. Walhalla has been in existence since immigrants from the German province of Bavaria along with some Irish and Dutch first arrived here to create a settlement in 1850 after not being too enamored of life in Charleston. Since then the town has become a welcome spot for travelers and also students from nearby Clemson University due to the bevy of natural wonders in and around it.
Read on to find out about the best things to do in Walhalla, SC.
1. Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel
This attraction was once conceptualized and created to be part of a proposed route for the Blue Ridge Railroad between the city of Charleston and the Ohio Valley in 1856. The project proved to be too expensive for the state and as a result, construction was halted. The tunnel stands in at 1,617 feet long and was once used to grow blue cheese by Clemson University until 1970. The Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel was added to the National Registry of Historic Places the following year. Visitors can walk the entirety of the tunnel, which is now part of a greater park complex.
Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel
Address: Stumphouse Tunnel Rd
Website: Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel
2. Oconee Station State Historic Site
The Oconee Station State Historic Site is a premier historic site within the larger Oconee State Park. The grounds give guests a look into how the area once was when it was first a military outpost for the state militia thanks to two remaining structures – Oconee Station, built in 1789 and the William Richards House. The vast park also boasts a couple of great natural points to explore, such as a trail that connects to the Sumter National Forest and a pond where many come to enjoy some fishing or just a bit of quiet time boatingOne other standout feature lies in the volume of wildflower patches that bloom brilliantly throughout the area.
Oconee Station State Historic Site
Address: 500 Oconee Station RD
Website: Oconee Station State Historic Site
3. Issaquena Mountain Falls
The Issaquena Falls are a majestic natural wonder that’s located in the Oconee district of the Sumter National Forest. Visitors take a short hike along the trail leading to the falls themselves, which is no more than 10 minutes in duration. The falls stand at about 100 feet, and have an interesting backstory with regards to the name. Pronounced as “izzaqueena”, Issaquena Falls reportedly got its name from a local legend involving a local girl from the Choctaw tribe who used the falls as an escape from settlers that were after her. The falls are also not too far from the Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel.
Issaquena Mountain Falls
Website: Issaquena Mountain Falls
4. Walhalla Civic Auditorium
The Walhalla Civic Auditorium is the mainstay performance center in this section of South Carolina. It was built in 1903 primarily as a grade school but had been empty due to it not meeting the needs of the local school board. That changed in 1993 as a committee formed to restore the building to become an entertainment venue. Since then its been the spot for a variety of plays and other concerts and has even gained national heritage status.
Walhalla Civic Auditorium
Address: 101 E North Broad St
Website: Walhalla Civic Auditorium
5. The Foothills Trail
If you’re someone who thoroughly enjoys the outdoors as part of their vacation, then a trip to the Foothills Trail will certainly fill that requirement for you. The trail actually extends all the way up into North Carolina, and begins with a section stemming from the Sumter National Forest and is 76 miles long in total. Along the way, hikers will really be immersed in the splendors of the area, with several highlights like the Chatooga River Gorge and the Sassafrass Mountains. And don’t be surprised if you happen to find the perfect vista to capture the thrilling sight of other parts of the Blue Ridge mountain range as well.
The Foothills Trail
Website: The Foothills Trail
6. Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail in Walhalla is a local look at a unique tradition that first started in 2001 in Ohio, where a woman crafted a colorful quilt and hung it on wood panels affixed to her family’s barn. Since then there have been “trails” where people have made and hung special quilts on their homes for others to view. The Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail is the first such trail among the growing number across the country, with quilts on different homes and even on other buildings such as churches.
Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail
Website: Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail
7. Museum of The Cherokee
Located across from the Oconee County Courthouse, the Museum of The Cherokee is a repository of artifacts and information about the great Native American tribe’s presence in South Carolina. It was built in 2013, thanks to the efforts of various non-profit groups. It’s mainly open on Saturdays and does host local events from time to time.
Museum of The Cherokee
Address: 70 Short St
Website: Museum of The Cherokee
A final waltz through Walhalla
The town of Walhalla, South Carolina may be under the radar to those who have their eye on traveling in the Southern United States, but there’s a great deal of history and natural wonder to be found here as well as a perfectly tranquil time. Whether you happen to be an ardent lover of the outdoors or someone who can appreciate the rustic down-home appeal that exists as you explore the town and its surrounding areas, Walhalla has the ability to truly invigorate the senses at any time of the year.
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