The South Carolina Hike That Leads To The Most Unforgettable Destination
Let’s face it: there are certain times of the year when we’re all craving an awesome outdoor adventure. For hiking enthusiasts, there are few places that inspire the kind of awe found at the foot of 100-foot, free-falling, rainbow-infused waterfall. As far as family outings go, this one is sure to foster memories to last a lifetime.
The waterfall, appropriately named, "Rainbow Falls," is found at the end of an out-and-back trail beginning in Jones Gap State Park in Marietta, SC. And while that view from the base of this colossal waterfall is definitely gorgeous...
... it's certainly not the only pretty thing you'll gawk at on this hiking excursion. The trail, among other things, is spiked with high adventure, including fairy tale foot bridges surrounded by moss-covered boulders and trees. (You may seriously think you know how it would feel to be walking through Tolkien's Middle Earth.)
The trail is 2.2 miles each way and is rated hard, mostly due to the strenuous elevation gains (and drops).
However, you'll find stairs or steps where needed, and ample bridges where crossing a creek wouldn't be possible without one.
Speaking of water crossings, one of the most striking rivers in the state runs through Jones Gap State Park. Once you cross over the Middle Saluda River a few times, you'll see why this boulder-laden, babbling brook is so often photographed by professionals.
The trail is well-traveled but not overcrowded. The rangers at this state park see to it that once the parking area is filled, anyone wishing to enter the small parking lot has to wait until someone else leaves. It's a good system that keeps the numbers of people on the trail to a minimum, in the long run. Just be sure to arrive very early to get a parking spot, or you could find yourself waiting a while for your adventure to begin.
But oh, what an adventure it is! Arrive at just the right time and you'll witness the sun illuminating the waterfall in the colors of the rainbow. In short, the minerals found in the rocks here are responsible for the multi-color effect at certain times of the day.
We suggest giving yourself at least 3-5 hours to enjoy the spoils of this forest paradise. There are plenty of places to sit and relax for a bit before heading back; maybe even bring a picnic lunch (just be sure to take everything with you when you leave).
Most of the strenuous nature of this hike is due to the 1,200-foot elevation gain. Are you up for the challenge? It's totally worth it. For a link to the map found below,
refer to alltrails.com.
This trailhead to Rainbow Falls is located inside Jones Gap State Park. The park is open year-round, although some trails close for weather-related safety in the winter. Learn more, including park hours and admission fees, on
this link of the official website for South Carolina Parks!
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Jones Gap State Park, 303 Jones Gap Rd, Marietta, SC 29661, USA