In my original article on Moonshine Falls, I left the directions to the trailhead and the waterfalls to a link to SC Trails; however, since that time, those details have been removed by SC Trails. So this article contains the details for accessing one of the most interesting waterfalls in the area.
From Marietta, SC, head up US 276 toward Casesar’s Head. You’ll pass by the Cleveland, SC post office then the F-Mart at the intersection of River Falls Road (be sure to stop on your return trip for some excellent hot dogs). You’ll continue up 276, passing Wildcat Wayside to where 276 bears hard to the right and starts the climb toward Caesar’s Head. In about 1.7 miles past the turn, you’ll see the sign for Asbury Hills Camp and Retreat Center.
Turn left then immediately right. Simply stay on this road past the camp office and camp gate down into the valley where you will see the recreation areas and the dining hall. To the left of the dining hall is a parking area and a basketball court. At the back of the basketball court is the trailhead for several camp trails, including the one you want – the red-blazed Asbury Trail.
A couple of caveats. In the summer, the camp can be very busy and possibly closed to outside visitors. And there is always the possibility of the gate being closed. The best plan is to call the camp to get permission to hike. They will advise if there are any restrictions and can give you the code to the gate should it happen to be closed.
From the trail head, hike straight ahead about 50 yards to the base of the lake dam. The road swings around to the right edge of the dam and the trail heads into the woods to the right where you will quickly pass the ropes course. For about the next mile, the trail is rutted and rooty and uphill. As you come down toward Matthews Creek, you will begin to hear the stream for the first time.
At about 1 ¼ mile, you’ll see a signpost for Cascade Falls, a very nice swimming hole with waterfall down on the creek. Just a bit further on, you’ll see a sign for a trail to the left for Asbury Falls, a low-flow cascade on the side of the ridge.
Your next signpost will be for the Boy Scout Camp, signaling you’re approaching the creek crossing. At the crossing, you’ll see the sign for the Girl Scout Camp. The cable bridge for crossing Matthews Creek will be right in front of you.
Once across, the trail makes a hard left then swing back away from the creek to intersect with the pink-blazed Naturaland Trail #14 at a wooden post. Continue on Naturaland for over a half mile. You’ll first dip down close to the creek then swing left and start uphill. You will encounter a large stone cairn marking where an old logging road leaves the Naturaland Trail as it continues to the left and on up to Caesar’s Head.
After turning on to the old logging road, you will quickly find a “Hot Spot” kiosk warning that a lot of people walking the Naturaland Trail have gotten lost by mistakenly making this turn, but for you, this indicates you’re headed the right way. About a half mile later, the trail will swing to the left and work its way around a small hollow. As you come around to the other side of this hollow, you’ll see another stone cairn marking a trail coming in from the right. The logging road continues to the left but is obviously less used.
You will be able to hear Moonshine Falls from this point. Turn right onto the new trail and continue for about 50 yards to the access trail coming in on your left and descend down to the waterfall.
Here is a link to a very good topo map showing the trail and these noted landmarks.