South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Jones Gap State Park — Marietta, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Greenville County  |  Jones Gap State Park

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Jones Gap State Park

Jones Gap State Park is located about 30 miles north of Greenville – just a stone’s throw from Symmes Chapel (Pretty Place) and Caesar’s Head State Park. It is one of South Carolina’s finest spots to enjoy picnics, hiking, camping, and fishing. The park also features an environmental learning center with exhibits and a lab where students can study nature.

Jones Gap State Park Autumn

Reid Northup of Zirconia, NC, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Jones Gap State Park is part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, which consists of 11,000 acres of natural woodlands and mountains along the Blue Ridge Escarpment (PDF). The Jones Gap Trail is 5.3 miles long and follows the old Solomon Jones toll road, operated between 1840 and 1910. You will find campsites off this trail which are set along the water and have fire pits.

Middle Saluda River – Jones Gap State Park

Jones Gap State Park is home to the Middle Saluda River, which winds its way through the park. The Middle Saluda was the first river protected under the SC Scenic Rivers Program.

Middle Saluda at Jones Gap

Jeff Hammond of Greenville, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Dropping almost 1,000 feet in four miles, the river has many cascading falls and is especially popular with fishermen because its cold, clear water supports a large trout population.

Middle Saluda Falls

Eve Brewer of Easley, 2006 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

These photos show off the Middle Saluda’s exquisite shadows during various seasons. The one at the top of the page was taken by Deborah Davis of Oconee County, an avid hiker who describes the trail where she captured her shot as follows: “It follows the river almost the entire way and you take a short detour up to the falls. The hike is beautiful and rich in wildflowers and small streams joining the river. We took our dogs and a lunch which we ate on a boulder at the river’s edge. The area is clean and pristine and most enjoyable for adults and children alike.”

Middle Saluda River

Deborah Davis of Oconee County © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Photographer Jeff Hammond contributed the photo of the Middle Saluda shown above and describes his scene this way: “This picture was taken in May at Jones Gap State Park. It was around 7:15 on a Wednesday evening. We had received a lot of rain over the past few days and the creek was dumping out fresh mountain water for me to photograph. This is only about 100 yards from the trail head at Jones Gap.”

Jones Gap Falls – Jones Gap State Park

Jones Gap State Park features a variety of trails, and one of the best leads to Jones Gap Falls – a 50-foot cascade over a staircase of stones. The trail follows the Middle Saluda River, making for a beautiful hike along the way. Like most waterfalls in South Carolina, the falls are at their best right after a good rainstorm.

Jones Gap Falls

Shane Norris of Lexington, 2007 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The picture above was submitted by Shane Norris of Lexington, who writes, “I was backpacking along the Jones Gap Trail and decided to stop and see Jones Gap Falls. It had not rained much so it was not as powerful as usual but it was still a beautiful sight. Due to the late cold weather, the autumn leaves were all changing colors at once, and the sun was coming down through them in a beautiful manner. After climbing to the top of the falls I descended and snapped some quick shots before we moved on. It truly was a beautiful display of the natural beauty of South Carolina.”

Rainbow Falls – Jones Gap State Park

Another trail leads to Rainbow Falls, shown below. The waterfall is 100 feet high and spills over a beautiful granite wall.

Rainbow Falls South Carolina

Scott Beckwith of Greer, 2005 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Although Rainbow Falls lies within Jones Gap State Park, it is owned by Camp Greenville, and you need to ask permission to visit before you go if you enter the area through the camp access. However, access to the falls through the park is permitted and simply requires a park fee.

Rainbow Falls Jones Gap

Dyana Walters of Marietta, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Falls Creek Falls – Jones Gap State Park

The image below shows the beautiful Falls Creek Falls – not to be confused with Fall Creek Falls in Oconee County – a 100-foot waterfall which cascades over two major levels. Reaching the falls is a moderate, 1.9-mile hike up an old logging road. The majority of the hike is uphill mixed with a few flat stretches. A great picnic area exists above the falls which is accessible by trail beyond the waterfall basin. The trail is open year round.

Falls Creek Falls

Danny Ramey of Duncan, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Slide – Jones Gap State Park

UPDATE: An alert reader informed us that the water surrounding this slide has dried up, allowing grass to grow around the structure. But what fun it must have been in its day!

No guide to Jones Gap would be complete without a shot of this awesome sliding board, found on the right side of Jones Gap Road at the junction of Devils Fork Road about four miles before you hit the entrance to the park. The slide is owned by a local family and sure looks like fun to us! As photographer Jeff Hammond says, this slide is the “perfect way to ring in summertime!” (If you know anything about the slide, be sure to let us know so we can add it.)

Jones Gap Sliding Board

Jeff Hammond of Greenville, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

More Pictures of Jones Gap State Park

Foggy Jones Gap State Park

Mike S. Bowers of Awendaw, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Rainbow Falls Upstate SC

Richard Upchurch of Simpsonville, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Jones Gap State Park

Derek Thornton of Greer, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Jones Gap State Park

Camelia Marculescu of Charleston, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Middle Saluda River

Alan Taylor of Spartanburg, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Rainbow Falls

Alan Taylor of Spartanburg, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Jones Gap

Nancy Garvin of Goose Creek, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on Jones Gap State Park

Contributor Dyana Walters says of capturing the above photo of Rainbow Falls, “The trail to Rainbow Falls in Jones Gap State Park can be a challenge. But when you get up there and see that there really is a rainbow on the falls, it makes all the huffing and puffing worth it.”

Add your own reflections here.

Jones Gap State Park Info

Address: 303 Jones Gap Road, Marietta, SC 29661
GPS Coordinates: 35.125413,-82.565387

Jones Gap State Park Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

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6 Comments about Jones Gap State Park

SCIWAY says:
May 23rd, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Thanks so much for the update! We have it corrected. We bet that was extremely hot in the blazing sun.

D in Georgia says:
May 22nd, 2017 at 3:18 pm

That sliding board is in a lake that belongs to a relative of mine. It’s been there 60 years, at least. I slid down it many times, but the thing was made of steel and could leave a blister on you in the summertime. I remember taking a pail of water up there to cool it off if no one had gone down it in a while. It’s actually at the junction of Gap Creek and Devils Fork Roads, a little farther from the park than the caption states — about four miles.

Carol Davenport says:
January 19th, 2015 at 10:03 am

I live on Saluda River and have for 28 years. In the Honea Path area. Everytime I stand on its banks, I am blown away by God’s creation. A sense of calm. And peace.

SCIWAY says:
January 14th, 2015 at 9:08 am

Hi, Jaime! What a fun day you are planning! I recommend checking with the state park website above the map on this page; hopefully, more information can be found there from the state. Best of luck, and we hope you and your family have a wonderful reunion!

Jaime says:
January 14th, 2015 at 6:37 am

Hello, I am looking for a vacation spot for a large group for the day. An area to picnic, hike, and fish. This is going to be for a day. It is for our Family Reunion. Can you send information about your beautiful park. Thank you.

Becky Nichols says:
March 27th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I was with a group of students from Seneca Middle School on March 26, 2012. We were at Jones Gap State Park. We were hiking and we saw a plant called “bear-something”. Would love to find out what it is really called, I’d love a picture of this plant. I personally had a wonderful time with this group, and am planning to bring a small group of children from church to spend the day hiking and picnicking.


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