Jones Gap State Park: Unwind in the Mountains with Your Dog

Jones Gap State Park offers visitors a pristine and peaceful mountain retreat with dense forests and scenic waterfalls.

Jones Gap State Park is located in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area and spans 13,000 acres of pristine mountain woodlands. Visitors can explore the trails that connect to Caesars Head and the Palmetto Trail, fish in the Middle Saluda River, and learn about the area's ecology at the park's ecology learning center.

Location: 303 Jones Gap Rd, Marietta, SC 29661

Park Hours: 9am - 9pm During Daylight Savings, 9am - 6pm Reminder of the Year

Admission: $6 adults; $3.75 SC seniors (age 65 & older); $3.50 children ages 6-15; ages 5 and under, free.

Dog on tree stump at Jones Gape State Park in South Carolina

If you're looking for a place to take your furry friend on an adventure, Jones Gap State Park is a great choice. With over 60 miles of hiking trails of varying difficulty levels, you and your dog are sure to find a trail that suits your fitness level.

By the Numbers

  • 2 scenic waterfalls
  • 18 wilderness/backcountry campsites
  • 60+ miles of hiking trails of all difficulty levels
  • 1 fish hatchery exhibit and trout pond that once was part of SC's first state-owned fish hatchery
  • 1 designated scenic river, the Middle Saluda River, runs through the park and is available for fishing
  • 13,000 acres of wilderness when combined with Caesars Head to form the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area
Waterfall at Jones Gap State Park in South Carolina
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German Shepherd Puppy at Jones Gap State Park in South Carolina
Dog Sitting on the Trail at Jones Gap State Park in South Carolina

Unique Features

  • The Middle Saluda River, South Carolina's first state-designated scenic river, runs through the park.
  • A portion of the park also contains the Eastern Continental Divide. Rain falling on one side of this divide runs into streams that ultimately end in the Atlantic Ocean. Rain falling on the other side runs into streams that ultimately end and run into the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The Cleveland Fish Hatchery, South Carolina's first state-owned and operated fish hatchery, is located at Jones Gap State Park. The hatchery only serves an exhibit role today but is home to brook trout, rainbow and brown trout. The trout pond holds 60-80 fish, and displays around the pond give information on each type of fish.
  • Waterfalls that can be viewed from Jones Gap include Jones Gap Falls, Rainbow Falls, Dargans Cascades, and Silver Steps Falls.
  • Wildcat Wayside, located on Hwy. 11 between Caesars Head and Jones Gap, includes the Lower Wildcat Falls and Upper Wildcat Falls.
Girl and dog in the fall leaves at Jones Gap State Park

Top 5 Things to Do

  1. Hike the Raven Cliff Falls Trail: This trail takes you through dense forest, over footbridges, and across streams before reaching the spectacular 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls.
  2. Swim in the Middle Saluda River: In the summer months, the crystal-clear waters of the Middle Saluda River offer a refreshing spot to take a dip and cool off.
  3. Take in the views from the Caesars Head Overlook: The overlook provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, making it a must-see destination for photographers and nature lovers alike.
  4. Attend the Hawk Watch: From September to November, visitors can witness raptors such as hawks and eagles migrating south to their winter feeding grounds.
  5. Hike the Rainbow Falls Trail: This moderate hike leads to the beautiful 100-foot Rainbow Falls, which cascades down a sheer rock face and into a pool below. Be prepared to get wet from the mist!

Hiking Trails

Hiking with your dog can be a wonderful and rewarding experience for both you and your furry friend. For starters, it's a great way to bond with your pet and spend quality time together in nature. It also provides an opportunity for your dog to exercise, explore new sights and smells, and socialize with other dogs and people on the trail.

A network of easy to strenuous hiking trails in the Mountain Bridge Recreation Area links Caesars Head and Jones Gap State Parks. Registering with the park before using these trails is mandatory. 

Hiker registration forms are located at the kiosk at each trailhead.

Here are some of the trails you and your dog can explore:

Jones Gap & Palmetto Trail

This is a challenging 12.5-mile trail that is best suited for experienced hikers and their dogs. It features several waterfalls and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Jone Gap Falls

This is a moderate 5.3-mile trail that leads to a beautiful waterfall. It's a great option for those looking for a shorter hike that still offers a rewarding experience.

Rainbow Falls

This is a strenuous 4.2-mile trail that leads to the tallest waterfall in South Carolina. The trail can be rocky and steep at times, but the views are worth the effort.

Hospital Rock

This is an easy 0.7-mile trail that is perfect for those looking for a leisurely walk with their dog. The trail leads to Hospital Rock, a large boulder that has a fascinating history.

Camping With Your Dog

Camping at Jones Gap State Park can be a great experience for you and your furry friend.

With 18 backcountry trailside campsites available in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and explore the park's numerous hiking trails.

When camping with your dog, it's important to keep them under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. This is to ensure the safety of both your pet and the park's wildlife. 

Please note that no drive-up campsites are available at the park, and there is no water or electricity provided at the campsites. Additionally, campers are asked to follow internationally recognized "leave no trace" camping practices to preserve the park's natural beauty.

Child and two golden retrievers camping at Jones Gap State Park

Dog-Friendly Guidelines

When hiking with your dog at Jones Gap State Park, it's important to follow a few guidelines:

  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks for both you and your dog.
  • Clean up after your dog and properly dispose of waste.
  • Respect other hikers and their dogs by keeping your dog under control and away from others who may be uncomfortable around dogs.
Dog at Jones Gap State Park in South Carolina

So why wait? Grab your leash, put on your favorite Good Dogs of Greenville shirt, and head to Jones Gap State Park!  And while you're there, don't forget to share your experience with us by tagging us on social media using the hashtag #gooddogsofgreenville. We can't wait to see you and your furry friend adventuring!

Good Dogs of Greenville

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