The Jocassee Gorges surround Lake Jocassee to create a stunningly beautiful landscape. The gorges are filled with abundant biodiversity, crystal-clear rivers, and cascading waterfalls. The majority of the land is protected by South Carolina Department of Natural Rescources (SC DNR), South Carolina State Parks, and private organizations. Remington and I have spent plenty of time exploring the lake and the rivers, but until recently, we had never driven Horse Pasture Road.
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. I read some horror stories online about people ruining their cars on the road, so 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.
To access Horse Pasture Rd, we took US 178 through the town of Rocky Bottom and the road was on our left. This is also an access point for the Foothills Trail. It is roughly 10 miles from US 178 to Jumping Off Rock. Along the way you will see hiking trails, camp sites, and overlooks. We drove the road in early November, so the leaves were displaying vibrant colors. This was also the same time that a forest fire was burning on Pinnacle Mountain, causing smoky views. 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. The overlook is great place for a picnic or simply to relax.
After enjoying the vista, we decided to continue on Horse Pasture Rd. The road immediately starts to descend down to Lake Jocassee. The road ends at what appears to be an old boat ramp, although I have no idea how a boat could be towed down Horse Pasture Rd. We ended the trip by heading back up to Jumping Off Rock, and then taking Cane Creek Rd out of the forest. In total the drive took us a few hours and included driving under a fallen tree and through a small creek. We loved having a change from our typical adventures and I know we will be back again.