Scenic USA - South Carolina

Middle Saluda River

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Middle Saluda River - Jones Gap State Park, South Carolina

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   The Middle Saluda River, earning a special place in Visitor Center - Jones Gap State Park, South Carolina South Carolina history, was the state's first Wild and Scenic River. Strewn with car-size boulders, the stream originates in the state's northwest mountain region where it borders with North Carolina. Here at the southern end of the Appalachians, the mountains taper off dramatically, dropping 2000 feet in just a half mile. The beautiful valley, created by the Saluda, bears the name of area pioneer Solomon Jones. Jones had constructed a trace from River Falls across the border to Cedar Mountain, eventually becoming Jones Gap Road in the 1840s.
   Today, Jones Gap State Park takes in five miles of the fast flowing Middle Saluda River. The state park is just a small section of the recently formed Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. Jones Gap Falls - Marietta, South Carolina Two state parks, Jones Gap and Caesars Head, were joined in 1997 with a unique addition of a mountain bridge. Nearly 11,000 acres of wilderness land offers 50 miles of the best hiking trails in the state.
   At Jones Gap, tributaries to the Middle Saluda create two of the park-goers' favorite hikes. Jones Gap Falls and Rainbow Falls entice day hikers to follow upriver through a thick forest canopy over a pathway lined with rhododendron. Footbridges aid waterfall fans to cross the stream which leads up through the cove's cliff sides to the waterfalls. Family style hikes, Rainbow Falls is listed as a 2.2 mile hike (4.4 out and back), while a shorter route leads to Jones Gap Falls. It's pleasant hike along the Middle Saluda, passing moss-covered rocks, small cascades, clear pools and riffles, the perfect stream for anglers.

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