Friday, November 15, 2013

Solitary Hike - Jones Gap State Park


On a recent trip to Greenville, I headed off north toward Caesars Head State Park to hike but decided to stop along the way to check out the trails at Jones Gap State Park. This was to be a solitary hike. By this I mean all by myself; something I had never done before. Why now? Over the past year we have explored many of our state parks and I have featured quite a few here on the blog. Every park we've visited has left me feeling very impressed by the level of care and attention the park rangers give to all the guests and I wanted to see how it would feel to leave my information with a ranger and bravely go where I have never gone before. Besides, it was a gorgeous day and I really wanted to experience the peace and quiet only nature can offer.


This park is over 3,000 acres and is part of the Palmetto Trail which is an extensive network of hiking and biking paths that weave a path across our state ( now comprises 315 miles and targeted to reach 425 at completion). I checked in with the ranger at the welcome station and we chose Jones Gap Falls as my destination with a total of around 3 miles from my starting point ( I chose this as I plan to return with my boys and wanted to find a trail that was reasonably challenging with a great surprise at the turn-around point. Nothing like a waterfall to entice a kid on a hike!). We estimated my round trip finish time and he assured me he had my back and would come looking for me if I didn't return in the target time range. When I showed him what I had in my day pack he tried not to laugh too hard - let's just say I was prepared for anything including bears, snakes, weirdos, searing heat, and a blizzard. If you've read this blog for any length of time, it's safe to say you have already realized I'm a planner and never leave home with two boys unprepared for mishaps and calamities. The trail choices are extensive and geared for all trekking abilities...


This particular trail is arduous in that it is the rockiest "flat" trail I've hiked. Allow a bit more time for your youngsters to scramble their way along...


The trail is beautiful as it winds along the river bank. Watch out for posted markings - I almost missed this one and would have ended up much higher up at Rainbow Falls...


You can hike in to a spot at the base of the Falls to camp, though you are encouraged to leave all your food, toothpaste, etc in the car as bears are prevalent here. Keep pressing on and you will arrive at the Falls...


This is a protected refuge for birds and other wildlife and I didn't see another soul the entire afternoon. This is such a tranquil space in the world...



 We are absolutely spoiled in this state with so many excellent hiking trails. This was a perfect way to take a break from the conference I was attending and the city...


Go and hike it and enjoy the Falls!

Jones Gap State Park
303 Jones Gap Rd, Marietta, SC 29661
(240 miles north of Charleston, SC)
For all information on hours, admissions, and up to date trail advisories, click here
A membership to the SC State Parks is a seriously good value. To buy one click here. It would make a great family Christmas gift.

1 comment:

  1. I am an amateur painter. May I use the photo of the boys fishing off the dock in a painting?

    ReplyDelete