Jones Gap Day Hike
Trip Organizer: Tom Arrigo__ Activity Type: Day Hike___ Difficulty Rating: Strenuous
NOTE!!! New information. Tom Miller trail has been closed and rerouted to the Silver Steps Trail. This new trail segment adds two miles to the hike, so the total distance is 12 miles. Also, entry fees per person have been increased to $6.00 for adults and $3.75 for those 65 and older. Also, a parking reservation is required, and the fee is $5.00 per car. I have updated the information below. Since we need more daylight for this hike, it has been moved to March 18th.
This hike is rated as very strenuous due to distance, elevation gain and trail roughness. Our pace will average 2 miles per hour. There are rocks and roots on this trail, which adds to the level of endurance required. We will stop for lunch, but take short water breaks along the way.
Visitors can find the unforgettable peace and repose of a deep mountain cove at Jones Gap State Park. Trails and 11,000 acres of pristine mountain woodlands join the park with Caesars Head in what is known as the Mountain Bridge Wilderness area. The Middle Saluda River, South Carolina's first state-designated scenic river, runs through the park.
We'll do a loop hike that involves the Jones Gap Trail, Silver Steps Trail, new Tom Miller Trail, and Cold Springs Branch Trail. The hiking distance is 12.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 2011 feet. Running water is our companion through much of the hike, making the walk entertaining to both eye and ear. The unique landscape of the cove is best enjoyed in Winter and Spring when the leaves are down and the view unobstructed. At some points, water features can be seen in every direction.
Although there are no grand views on this hike, the beauty of cove makes it one of my favorite hikes. We'll get off to an early start so that we can leave the trail by late-afternoon. Please note that this park charges an entry fee of $5.00 per adult, $3.25 per senior 65 or older. Also, a parking reservation is required, and the fee is $5.00 per car. Please have exact change ready.
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