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The two RV Gypsies at Jones Gap State Park
303 Jones Gap Road
Marietta, SC 29661
phone '864.836.3647

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

To visit Jones Gap before 2 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays, on the day before your visit, you need to pay $5 and reserve one of the 30 parking spots available. This parking fee is in addition to the visiting fee. Since it was a Wednesday, the Two RV Gypsies did not call ahead and almost didn't get into the park.

USA map showing location of SCSC map showing location of Mariette

Jones Gap State park is in northern Greenville County, near Marietta. The 3,964-acre park includes the headwaters of the Middle Saluda River, and along with nearby Caesars Head State Park, it is administered by the State Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism as part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness. Jones Gap State Park ranges in elevation from 1,000 to 3,000 feet.

Jones Gap Mountain Bridge Wilderness area sign Jones Gap Mountain Bridge Wilderness area sign

Just before entering the admission gate, Lee Duquette (while driving) noticed a waterfall way up on the mountain top. He stopped the car and Karen Duquette took a quick photo. (It is the black spot centered at the top with white streaks flowing down it).

waterfall up on the mountain top Jones Gap Admission prices and hours

The Two RV Gypsies almost did not get admitted into the park because it was at capacity by noon on this Wednesday. But they were thankful that they did get in. When they parked their car in the last available parking site, Karen Duquette took a picture from each side of a small bridge.

stream stream

Below: The Middle Saluda River, South Carolina's first state-designated scenic river, runs through the park as does The Eastern Continental Divide.

The Eastern Continental Divide sign The Eastern Continental Divide

Below: Often, Lee Duquette sees unusual shapes, designs, or faces in various object. On this giant bolder, he saw two eyes and a smiling mouth.

a smiling boulder a smiling boulder

Below: From a different point of view, the side of the big rock looked like a sharks head to Lee.

a smiling boulder a smiling boulder
divider rocks
Environmental Innovation sign

Jones Gap is also the site of the partially restored Cleveland Fish Hatchery, South Carolina's first fish hatchery which operated between 1931 and 1962. On this date, the two RV Gypsies did not see any fish here, but they enjoyed the signs.

Cleveland Fish Hatchery
Trout of Southern Appalachia sign

Then the two RV Gypsies found a nice picnic table by the water and they enjoyed a light lunch with a nice view before starting their hike.

picnic view picnic view
informative sign informative sign
picnic view picnic view

While eating lunch, the two RV Gypsies noticed a walk bridge a short distance away, and Karen Duquette wanted to investigate the area.

walk-over bridge

Below: Two panorama photos showing the bridge from each side, plus the picnic table where the Two RV Gypsies enjoyed their lunch.


Karen Duquette wanted a view from the bridge, while Lee enjoyed the view from the side of the bridge.

Karen Duquette on the walk-over bridge Karen Duquette on the walk-over bridge
walk-over bridge walk-over bridge

The two RV Gypsies watched this young person contemplating jumping across the river. He was very hesitant, but his two friends who where standing on the bridge just kept encouraging him. He finally made the jump.

dude afraid to cross the river dude jumped across the river

Below: View by the bridge

A nice, clean restroom was open.

View by the bridge restrooms


While near the beginning of the trail, the two RV Gypsies noticed that backcountry trail side camping is allowed at designated sites.

The Palmetto Trail map
sign: The Road that Solomon Built

Below: This is a 5.3 mile trail, round trip, with an estimated time of 1 hour 44 minutes each way. It is rated "Moderate" but Lee Duquette called it "Strenuous" because each step must be taken with caution. Karen Duquette noted that extreme caution is needed when walking over the big rocks. And even the little rocks could cause a sprained ankle.

As the two RV Gypsies began the hike, it was a nice enough trail, but soon became rocky.

Note: Rainbow Falls is nearby, but even more strenuous. The two RV Gypsies met younger people who did not like that trail and turned around.

the beginning trail to Jones Gap waterfall Lee Duquette on the hiking trail

Below: Views of the flowing water alongside the trail.

flowing water alongside the trail flowing water alongside the trail

Then it was back to the trail and time to step over some big rocks. The hiking sticks helped a lot.

Lee Duquette on the hiking trail Lee Duquette on the hiking trail

Below: The trail was often uphill of course, and a bit steep. The photo below on the left shows a narrow path with a big drop-off cliff on the right. Then, as the two RV Gypsies rounded the corner by the big rock, it became time to carefully maneuver around the rocks on the trail again.

uphill trail rocky trail

And then it was over down trees, and around the wet, rocky section. By this time, Lee Duquette thought about turning back, but they were too far into the trail, so Karen insisted they keep going.

Lee Duquette on the hiking trail Lee Duquette on the hiking trail

Below: The two RV Gypsies have seen a lot of burls as they hike, but this was definitely one of the biggest. And the burl could be seen through.

Lee Duquette and a big burl in a tree big burl

While walking the trail, Karen Duquette occasionally stopped to photograph a quick view of the fast flowing waters created by the waterfall. Jones Gap waterfall drops almost 1,000 feet in four miles and has many cascading falls along the way,

flowing waters flowing waters
cascades cascades
cascades cascades

Then it was back to the uneven trail and all the big rocks and even little rocks that could easily cause a sprained ankle if stepped on.

Lee Duquette on the hiking trail

The Two RV Gypsies made it to the bridge.

Lee Duquette on a bridge Lee Duquette on a bridge
Lee Duquette on a bridge Lee Duquette on a bridge

Below: Views from each side of the bridge. Lee Duquette wondered how workers got all this heavy material up so far into these woods to build the bridge.

flowing river flowing river

Below: A quick look back at the bridge that the Two RV Gypsies just crossed.


Below: Crossing a small stream

Crossing a small stream Karen Duquette crossing the stream
Lee Duquette crossing the stream Lee Duquette crossing the stream

Below: Side view of the stream and some big steps up to continue on the rocky trail.

stream getting up a big rock
Lee Duquette Lee Duquette

The trail changed often. Sometimes it was big rocks to maneuver around, sometimes it was small wobbly rocks, sometimes mud, water, or narrow trails with a drop-down cliff on the side. But mostly uphill and every moment, each step must be taken very carefully. The two RV Gypsies have been travelling and hiking for 12 years now, and this was definitely one of the roughest trails, because each step had to be precisely placed.

Jones Gap hiking trail Jones Gap hiking trail

The two RV Gypsies got through another muddy area..

Jones Gap hiking trail muddy trail

Finally, the two RV Gypsies reached the Jones Gap Waterfall.

reaching the waterfall

Jones Gap Waterfall Jones Gap Waterfall.

Jones Gap Falls has a 50-foot cascade over a staircase of stones. (A trail nearby leads to Rainbow Falls with a 100-foot spill over a beautiful granite wall.) But the two RV Gypsies were only able to get to Jones Gap Falls, shown here, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Jones Gap Waterfall. Karen Duquette at Jones Gap Waterfall.
Karen Duquette at Jones Gap Waterfall
Jones Gap Waterfall. Jones Gap Waterfall.
Jones Gap Waterfall. Jones Gap Waterfall.
Jones Gap Waterfall. Jones Gap Waterfall.
Jones Gap Waterfall. Jones Gap Waterfall.

Below: Lee Duquette threw in the towel - while Karen Duquette relaxed and enjoyed the view.

Lee Duquette throws in the towel Karen Duquette at Jones Gap Waterfall.

As Karen Duquette relaxed on a big rock by the waterfall, she took a few photos downstream.

Jones Gap Waterfall. Jones Gap Waterfall.
Jones Gap Waterfall.

Then it was time for the Two RV Gypsies to start the hike back

rocky path

Below: At this point, Lee decided to take a brief rest stop. Then as Karen looked just beyond Lee (to the spot marked 'big rocks' in the photo below) she saw a man in a KILT and BAREFOOT hopping over those big rocks as if he were playing hopscotch on a sidewalk,.

Lee Duquette on the path near big rocks Lee Duquete taking a break

At first The Two RV Gypsies were stunned, but as the barefoot dude quickly ran past them, Karen Duquette snapped a photo. He was really running fast.

a barefoot man in a kilt
stream by the side cascade
cascade off to the side
almost at the beginning again

look below

bullet Continue on to Big Rock Nature Preserve, The Big Rock, and the tiny island (2 pages).


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