Nestled within the valleys of upstate South Carolina is the hidden gem of Jones Gap State Park. The park is often overlooked by its popular neighbors, Table Rock State Park and Caesars Head State Park which feature mountains with impressive views. However, down in Jones Gap you get to focus on the details of nature and enjoy the smaller moments. The Middle Saluda River is the heart of the park; carving a tranquil escape into the valley of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. There are dramatic waterfalls, cold trout water, and scenic hiking trails that allow for hours, or even days, of adventure. We have many fond memories of hiking to Jones Gap Falls, flying fishing for rainbow trout, and star gazing from around our campfire. Located about a half hour from Greenville, Jones Gap is the perfect day trip from the city. The drive from Greenville includes charming farms in the valley and makes the adventure even more enjoyable.
Below is advice on how to make the most of your trip to Jones Gap State Park:
Early bird gets the parking spot: While this is a lesser known destination, the parking is limited so plan on arriving early.
Early bird gets the camping: We believe that Jones Gap has some of the best camp sites of all the state parks in South Carolina. There are multiple campsites within a short hike from the parking lot with great privacy and scenic views of the river. Similarly, there are a limited number of camping sites and during the peak season they tend to fill up quickly.
Enjoy the river: There aren’t very many cold, rocky bottom rivers in South Carolina. Take time to enjoy the uniqueness of the Middle Saluda River. It also a well known trout river in the upstate and is the home river of the Mountain Bridge Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Hike the Palmetto Trail: The Palmetto Trail, which runs from the mountains to the coast in South Carolina, runs through Jones Gap. It can be a fun goal to section hike the Palmetto Trail throughout the state.
Visit in the winter: The river rocks capped with snow make Jones Gap feel like a fairy tale, and the icicles along the river form intricate designs. Bonus: no one else will be there. Read our advice for winter camping.