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Upper Saluda River: Holliday Dam (Unofficial) to Erwin Mill Road (Unofficial)

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Upper Saluda River: Holliday Dam (Unofficial) to Erwin Mill Road (Unofficial)

Skill Level: Moderate
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Rapids: Class I , II
Length: 7.9 miles
Duration: 4 - 4.5 hours
Portaging: No
What to Expect

This exciting trip features Class I-II rapids, many shoals, and wide river channels. While rapids are not Class III, they can become more technical in very high and very low waters.

Access
Put in:
Holliday Dam River Access and Parking Area (Unofficial)
 910 Holliday Dam Road, Honea Path, SC 29654
Access Details

This access is downstream of the Holliday Dam and the road. It is located southwest of the hydroelectric facility, which should be avoided. A 250-foot long trail leads from the parking area to a beach and river access on the left side of the island separating the hydroelectric station from the Saluda River. This access is unofficial but widely used. Use at your own risk. 

Take out:
Erwin Mill Road River Access and Roadside Parking (Unofficial)
 Erwin Mill Road, Honea Path, SC 29654
Access Details

River access is limited to the road right-of-way beside the bridge only. Do not use the path through the woods, it is private property. Limited roadside parking is available along the side of Erwin Mill Road, south/downstream of the bridge on river-left.  Paddlers using this as a take-out should stay to the left of the island when approaching Erwin Mll Road. This access is unofficial. Use at your own risk. 

Trip Details

Erwin Mill Road is a 10-15 minute drive from Holliday Dam Road; shuttling cars could take half an hour. The Holliday Dam River Access is downstream of the Holliday Dam (no portage is available). It is located southwest of the Hydroelectric facility, which should be avoided.  A 250-foot long trail leads from the road to a beach on the left side of the island separating the hydroelectric station fromthe Saluda River. Once on the river, paddlers will immediately encounter some exciting Class II rapids and shoals. There are exciting Class I-II rapids and shoals throughout this trip.

Erwin Mill Road is the second road crossing. Paddlers should stay to the left of the island when approaching Erwin Mill Road and take out downstream of the bridge, river-left. Limited roadside parking is available along Erwin Mill Road, south/downstream of the bridge river left. River access is limited to the road right-of-way beside the bridge only. Do not use the path through the woods, it is private property. The path to the river is brushy and has some riprap. For more information see The Upper Saluda River Blueway map.

Waterway: 

Comments (1)

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Krzysztof Zaryczny
Aug 10, 2020 11:08 am EDT
We paddled this on 8/8/20 @ 920CFS. The first thing I noticed was how warm the river was. I would have preferred it to be cooler. The flow was too low for the first rapids by Holiday Dam, so we had to get out of the kayak and pull it over the shoals. Besides that the flow was alright outside of a few boney places where we bottomed out, however we didnt have to get out of the kayaks. There were a few nice rapids with none being difficult. There were some long stretches of flat water which was boring for the kids, but outside of that it was a good day on the water.
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Saluda River near Erwin Mill Road (Credit: Upstate Forever)
put in below Holliday Dam (Credit: Upstate Forever)
just below Erwin Mill Road (Credit: Upstate Forever)
Saluda River below Holliday Dam (Credit: Upstate Forever)
(Credit: Brandon Burdette)
(Credit: Brandon Burdette)
A Lunch Time Visitor (Credit: Brandon Burdette)
(Credit: Brandon Burdette)
(Credit: Brandon Burdette)
Trip Resources
River Flow (CFS)
Discharge flow information
CURRENT CFS
Flows for safe padding (cfs)
MINIMUM
800
MAXIMUM
4000
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Flow Level
Runnable
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Skill & Flow Level
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Access Amenities
Parking - Dedicated Lot
Parking - Roadside
Restroom / Toilets
Fee Required
Handicap Accessible
Camping
Paddle SC is presented by
Upstate Forever
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
South Carolina National Heritage Corridor
Rainey Foundation