Horse Pasture Road and Jumping Off Rock

A meandering dirt road with stunning views over Lake Jocassee

Jumping Off Rock view of Lake Jocassee, South Carolina

The Jocassee Gorges surround Lake Jocassee to create a stunning landscape. The gorges are filled with abundant biodiversity, crystal-clear rivers, and cascading waterfalls. The majority of the land is protected by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC DNR), South Carolina State Parks, and private organizations. Horse Pasture Rd meanders through the forest with numerous vistas overlooking the lake and the mountains. The most popular of these vistas is Jumping Off Rock. 

In the last few years, SC DNR has improved the conditions of the road to make Jumping Off Rock more accessible to the public. Although the road conditions are significantly better, it is still a dirt road in the middle of the woods. Along the road, you will see hiking trails, campsites, and overlooks. The trail for Jumping Off Rock is on the right side of the road, shortly after passing Cane Creek Rd on the left. It is a short hike to overlook, maybe 0.10 miles, and the trail quickly opens up to a magnificent view of Lake Jocassee. 

After Jumping Off Rock, the road immediately starts to descend down to Lake Jocassee. The road ends at an old boat ramp that kayakers and canoers occasionally use for paddling trips. On the way out, you can either retrace your route on Horse Pasture Road or take Cane Creek Road out of the forest. In total, the drive normally takes a 2 or 3 hours including a couple of breaks along the way.

I’d read some horror stories online about people ruining their cars on Horse Pasture Road, so the first time Remington and I drove up Horse Pasture Road we convinced our friend, who owns a Jeep Wrangler, to give us a tour of the area. And let’s be honest, riding in a Jeep Wrangler makes every drive feel like an adventure.  He showed us the ropes and we realized the road isn’t nearly as intense as people make it out to be. We’ve been back to the road multiple times in our Tacoma and we’ve seen sedans drive up the road too.

Quick Facts

  • Cost: Free
  • Hours of Operation: 24 / 7
  • AddressHorse Pasture Rd, Sunset, SC 29685 
  • Road Distance: Roughly 10 miles one way
  • Food or Beer Nearby: Pickens has cool spots on Main St. Definitely check out Appalachian Ale House.
  • Camping: There are a limited number of free campsite along the road. Devil’s Fork State Park is also nearby and has an established campground.
  • Map: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/ml_images/docs/jocasseemap.pdf

How To Get There

To access Horse Pasture Rd, take US 178 through the town of Rocky Bottom and the road is on the left. This is also an access point for the Foothills Trail. It is roughly 10 miles from US 178 to Jumping Off Rock. The trail for Jumping Off Rock is on the right side of Horse Pasture Road, shortly after passing Cane Creek Rd on the left. It is a short hike to overlook, maybe 0.10 miles, and the trail quickly opens up to a magnificent view of Lake Jocassee. 

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