Falls Park is covered quite extensively by other local bloggers, as well as the local press (all of whom provide far better images than my point and shoot digital has provided), but I thought I’d post some things that don’t get mentioned very often.
Falls Park was non-existent until just a few years ago. The largest waterfall was covered by a bridge, so many people didn’t know it existed. The area around the falls was a home to vagrants and other assorted characters and was covered with trash. Fortunately though, with the help of the Carolina Foothills Garden club and commitment from local business and government leaders (who sometimes abused eminent domain law), it’s now a fantastic location, surrounded by several good restaurants.
The river itself, the Reedy, begins in Northern Greenville county, is fed by small streams flowing through local pastures and storm water run off from the city, eventually dumping into the Saluda. In other words, you really shouldn’t swim or wade in it unless you’re looking for a bad case of Giardia.
The bank of the falls was originally home to Richard Pearis who married a Cherokee woman and was given several acres by her family. At the time of the Revolutionary War, he sided with the Tories so afterward the state of South Carolina confiscated his land. Paris Mountain was named after him, although they obviously got the spelling wrong.
Despite the crowds, there is a fair amount of wildlife located in the park, including ducks, chipmunks, and snakes. In fact, there are a lot of snakes. Once my sons and I spotted four within a half hour. We’ve seen garter snakes, banded water snakes and copperheads on many occasions. During the warmer months it’s rare not to spot one. On one occasion we spotted a crawfish (a.k.a. crawdad, crayfish) about four inches in length. When I picked it up we noticed that dozens of crawfish offspring were attached to her underside. So we put her down and she hightailed it back to the water. There are also a fair number of fish in the river, all of which appear to be blue gill. Above is a Great Blue Heron I photographed near the small footbridge that leads to Cleveland Park.
Across the river is a small cave that can be reached by hopping across the large boulders in the middle of the river. It’s a little tough getting back across though.
Distance from downtown Greenville: 0 miles.
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