Why Jones Gap State Park is a Must-Visit this Fall

Matthew Blouir
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Jones Gap is one of South Carolina’s most celebrated state parks. The park is situated near the North Carolina- South Carolina border and the Middle Saluda River and attracts thousands of visitors every year. Jones Gap is the perfect place for a long weekend trip, as it offers plenty of trails, streams, and rocks to conquer. If it’s been a while since you’ve escaped the city, this is your chance to get out and enjoy some of the best of the Appalachian foothills.

Gorgeous Waterfalls 

Scott Oves

Jones Gap is home to Falls Creek Falls, Rainbow Falls, Jones Gap Falls, and Silver Steps Falls. Needless to say if you enjoy waterfalls, this is the place to come. Rainbow Falls in particular is an amazing sight to see. At 100 feet tall, you can hear the water rushing off of the cliff on Cox Camp Creek almost a mile away. If you plan your weekend right, you can easily visit all four and get to spend your day swimming in creeks and laying in the sun. The Middle section of the Saluda River also runs through the state park, and contains some of the state's best trout fishing. This is a big destination for fishermen in the surrounding area, yet the river remains uncrowded and easily accessible.

Solid Bouldering 

Brenda Wiley

Although Jones Gap isn’t necessarily considered a climbing destination, there are some problems to be found within the park, the most notable routes can be found a little ways down the Standington Mountain trail. The park’s limited amount of climbing routes is both a blessing and a curse. There may not be a multitude of problems, but you can almost count on having the established routes all to yourself. This will make for a great day hike during your trip, and who knows, you may discover the best bouldering problem in the park, so don’t forget your climbing shoes.

Great Hiking & Camping 

Brenda Wiley

Jones Gap is full of awesome day hikes. There are a total of 8 different trails within the park, ranging from the 0.9 mile John Sloan trail to the 5.4-mile Jones Gap Falls trail. Each trail has its unique characteristics, whether it be a waterfall, vista, or shade-covered creek. It doesn’t get much better than cooling off in a freezing cold creek, and then 'lizard-ing' on a rock in the sun. Camping is also available within the park provided you get a permit from the ranger’s station. Information regarding reservations, permits, maps, and fishing licenses can be found at the Jones Gap webpage of the South Carolina State Parks site. Pack up your swimming, hiking, fishing, and climbing gear, and hit this outstanding destination as soon as possible.

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